Workout Wednesday: Horseback Riding
My guide's horse enjoys the view
Searching for a way to get out of the city recently, I stumbled upon Baldwin Lake Stables in Big Bear Lake, a farm that offers horseback rides by the hour. Noting that the rides are for any level (I am pretty much a non-level, having only ridden a horse a few times when I was a kid), I decided to take my chances and head up there to see what they had to offer.
I pulled up the dusty road and parked next to the farm's petting zoo - a fenced off area with goats, chickens, and what appeared to be some sort of a ram. I watched a child chase a chicken for a few minutes (always amusing), then sauntered up to the ranch to meet my guide.
She first introduced me to my horse, then instructed me on how to mount him. Easy enough - I figured I was in for a smooth little ride, viewing the great outdoors and taking some nice pictures for my MySpace page to demonstrate how outdoorsy and adventurous I am.
But never doubt the power of a wild beast between your legs. The very first thing that my crotchety old horse did was freak the hell out and turn around to go back to the barn after I had been on him for a grand total of one minute.
We were off to a rocky start. I was a little nervous, but per my guide's advice, I checked my feelings at the door so as not to allow for my horse to pick up on them.
Another five minutes or so and I had calmed down, as had my four-legged friend.
For a while after, it was then smooth sailing. We walked up a beautiful trail, the horse doing it's following-the-leader thing so all I had to do was jerk it's head occasionally to get it to stop snacking on the grass.
About an hour in, my inner thighs were starting to chafe, so I hollered up to my guide to ask what I should do.
"It's probably because you're just sitting all your weight on the horse and not moving at all," she said.
Touché. I was definitely allowing the horse to do the walking, moving, adjusting, planning, and exercising.
"Try sitting straighter, and use your legs and your butt to keep yourself a little lifted off the seat," she called back to me.
Well, five minutes of using my legs and butt to keep myself lifted turned out to be all the workout I needed. From there on out, I lifted for about five minutes, then sat for two, then lifted for five, sat for two. It was essentially squatting intervals in motion.
I got back to the ranch exactly two hours after I had left, as promised, sore but happy and feeling as though I had made some real progress insofar as befriending my horse goes.
Definitely a fun, easy way to get out of the city for the day, get outdoors, and be active.
Photo by Jessica for LAist
Overall Workout: Moderate
Hobby-Developing Potential: Could be high if you have a lot of money and time, but generally pretty low
Next-Day Pain: Minimal
Cost: $40 per hour for one- or two-hour rides
Baldwin Lake Stables
46475 Pioneertown Road
Big Bear City, CA 92314