I am riding 2 hours a day frantically training to get back into rider fitness for my first competition coming up next week on the 1st and 2nd of February. The 2nd of February makes it 5 weeks since giving birth, and I will be returning to the competition arena!!!!!
I wanted to write this blog as many women have asked how getting back into riding is after having a baby. I know myself I didn’t know what to expect, and I would love to have known more about other women’s experiences.
So firstly. Pregnancy. I rode up to 36 weeks. By the end there was not much trot. But canter felt fine. You lose a bit of balance and definitely core strength, and my half halts were definitely not as strong as I wanted them to be by the end. But you can still train and I know I still enjoyed being out in the fresh air and riding was still a lot easier than walking by the end!!! 🙂
Birth. All I have to say on that is drugs are a wonderful 21st century invention. I didn’t want to use any drugs for some weird reason I made up in my head… But seriously for me that epidural was heaven and I told Dr. James my anaesthetist I loved him at least 3 times 🙂 with birth you never know what’s going to happen. For me the cord was too short and Danika’s heart rate was dropping too much between contractions. So my Ob said she needed it out now which meant being cut and forceps delivery. Being cut meant 8 stitches which was not good news to me for the riding…
After. Wow. Having a baby is crazy and I could never appreciate what other women meant when they said it. It is intense. You have sleep deprivation, hormones, tears and breast-feeding to contend with. The first two weeks were the most challenging of my life. I have had nothing to do with babies, so I have had to learn a whole new skill set in reading and interpreting my baby. I could read a horse… but my baby, not so much. After 3 weeks I finally feel a bit more centred, a bit more confident and a bit more relaxed about it all. Still sleep deprived but hey – she won’t be a baby forever, and you just do what you need to do. For me that was yesterday going to bed at 4.30pm and only waking for feeds which for example were 7.30pm, 9.30pm, 1am, 4.30am, 7.30am.
And the riding. Well my first ride was 10 days after giving birth and I was thrilled with one canter circle each way and two trot circles each way. From there I built on that. By 2.5 weeks I was doing everything as normal and even did a Grand Prix test practice run through. My abs are still not as strong as what they were and extended trot sitting is still a challenge. But each ride is stronger and stronger. It is frustrating to lose the strength you once had, but it will come back quickly and riding is the best exercise for it 🙂
Weight gain/loss. I put on 25kg in my pregnancy. Basically because I could!! and I ate chocolate and cake for 9 months. At 3 weeks I have lost 14kg so 11kg still to lose. This is also a challenge to deal with as I really struggle not being the weight I’m used to. Breastfeeding is helping with the weight-loss and I’m confident by 12 weeks post pregnancy I will be back to my normal weight.
I trust that helps. Please understand we are all different and I’m not saying this is how it should be done. I’m just sharing my experience in case it helps others 🙂
I wanted to get back into riding because that is my happy place. It’s what fulfils me and lights me up. It is important to me to be back doing it, which is why I made it a priority. Being a mum is also special, and I love this journey I am on. It will be fun mixing my ‘two’ jobs but I am looking forward to the challenge and the immense rewards that come with it.
Best of luck with all of your riding and trust you are enjoying it as much as me! 🙂
To Your Success,
P.S. Trust you are smiling!
P.P.S. Hope this has given you an insight into my current riding journey – if you have any questions, please feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org