Our physical fitness is always a concern when we are dreaming of or embarking on a new Adventure. When dreaming of an Alaska Horseback Adventure, your physical fitness may very well be the only thing you are capable of thinking of, until you get the facts.
Your Physical Fitness and a Horseback Adventure
Pioneer Outfitters accommodates beginners as well as experienced riders. We will match your individual abilities to the horse that will be your companion on your Adventure.
The unique characteristic of our range horses that spend their lives in the wilderness of the Wrangell Mountains is their inherent knowledge of the trails and how to handle themselves safely in any terrain.
When you leave Pioneer Outfitters, you will have an incredible amount of respect and a soft spot in your heart for these amazing Alaska range horses.
Disclaimer and Reminder: Always, always, always! Check with your doctor before beginning any new fitness routine!
Please evaluate your physical condition prior to booking your trip.
As in most places within Alaska the terrain can be difficult to negotiate.
Using horses on our trips allows us to provide comfortable camps, plenty of good food and of course, saves us from packing entire camps on our backs.
However, some people do not have the experience with horses to know that horseback riding itself is very hard work.
There is nothing that is going to get you ready for hours in the saddle, except riding (sorry, it’s true). However, the stronger we are, the easier it will be.
To optimize your Adventure we strongly recommend some sort of daily exercise prior.
If horseback riding is available to you, this is also a good idea- to strengthen riding muscles and to toughin’ up your seat.
Please give us notice and let us know if you have a handicap so that we can formulate a plan to optimize your Adventure while lessening your physical output.
Horseback riding typically uses the following muscle groups:
- Triceps / Biceps
- Inner and Outer Thighs
- Back of the Calf
(yes, I noticed that as well! It pretty much takes your whole body!)
Horseback riding is an amazingly physical activity and sport. It is flexibility, stamina and strength.
Flexibility is important. (It’s best not to have to begin stiff!) Stretching, gently stretching consistently, also makes you stronger.
Now, think about the muscle groups I mentioned above. Here is another related list:
- Lower Back
These are the joints that take all the abuse while you are enjoying your ride. These are the aches and pains that come to everyone who isn’t constantly (and some who are) in the saddle!
Would you like to know why (it seems to others) that I DO NOT get stiff and sore from riding, each year, after 7 months of Alaska Winter separation from my saddle?
Once I saddle my horse in the Spring, I ride non-stop.
The only position I have ever found (when I hurt and ache from that first ride after months of Winter) that is completely comfortable when stiff and sore, is in the saddle.
Another tip I can share with you here is, yes, chaps do make a big difference. Short or long rides alike, they provide protection from brush, trees, rain and wind.
Chaps also seem to make sitting in the proper position easier for more inexperienced riders, instead of slipping around in the saddle.
If you do not ride horses a lot (or at all) you are going to be stiff and sore.
You should be feeling fairly good to go by the time you head for home.
** If it is possible for you to ride a horse before you get here, for a few weeks, it would have your body ready for hours in the saddle.
If not, no worries!
When you get sore, your knees start aching, have an old injury giving you trouble, or you get cold ~ give a haller, get off, stretch your legs and / or walk a bit.
You will be and do better for it. You will be tired, thinking you are too tired to get back on your horse.
Not so, and if you have troubles, remember that this is what we do and we are there to help.
Most of all, and most important is to remember to have fun.
Relax and allow yourself to simply take it all in. Your surroundings, the land you are crossing. The ground that may have never had another person on it, before you.
We are here to help you enjoy every minute of your Alaska Adventure.
We have you covered.