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Winded Ride

How to Avoid Getting Winded When You Ride

Written by Robin Martinez

A true horseman will only ask athletic feats of his horse if he has his own body under control.

– From The Principals of Riding/German National Equestrian Federation

Clients often come to me asking why they get winded when they ride. Even though they do “cardio” on a regular basis, and are in good shape, they still seem to lose their breath.

Being winded doesn’t necessarily have to do with your fitness level.

Finding a rhythm to your breathing is incredibly helpful when riding. Many people tend to hold their breath when they’re concentrating or are nervous.  The other thing that happens to people while exercising or riding is that they tend to breath quickly and in a shallow way, not allowing them to exhale completely.  This leaves you with the feeling that your lungs are full and that you can’t catch your breath.

If you think of your lungs as large mason jars that fill up with oxygen then push the byproduct, C02, back out, you’ll have a pretty accurate picture of what happens when you breath.  When your breathing is shallow and you don’t fully exhale the C02, which is heavier than oxygen, it falls to the bottom of your lungs.  This blocks your ability to take a deep, full breath.  The longer it continues the worse the feeling gets and the more “out of breath” you are.

Try focusing on exhaling to the rhythm of your own footsteps as you walk or run, and then try it in timing with your horse’s gait.  Something like exhaling every stride of the canter or every time you post up.  As you focus on exhaling you will get that “heavy” C02 out of your lungs and make room for a nice full breath in.  Along with keeping your wind, this will do wonders to help you stay relaxed and in sync with your horse, which I’m pretty sure is the goal for all of us who get in the saddle every day.

If you’d like more personalized help, I offer virtual training to riders everywhere so I’d love to hear from you!

Blackjack Fitness


For more information on virtual training, visit my website:


Happy riding!

Robin Martinez

Robin and her husband Dionicio Martinez own Blackjack Farms, a beautiful and secluded 5+ acre ranch in North San Diego, with a very unique indoor/outdoor fitness facility. They have a well-equipped indoor gym, multiple permanent outdoor workout stations and a groomed running track. The fact that it's also the home of their show horses makes it truly one of a kind. There is also a limited amount of room for people to board their horses, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a horse facility and fitness facility all in one. Robin has fitness clients that ride and riding clients who workout. Its a wonderful harmony, everybody is fit around there - horses and riders alike. Robin's focus is on establishing core strength and building a foundation of fitness for her clients. As a competing rider herself, she uses that experience to create fitness programs geared specifically for equestrians to help them gain the strength and mobility they need to be at the top of their game. Her style is positive, fun, encouraging and pleasantly tough. For more information on Blackjack Fitness please visit her website at

This Post Has One Comment
  1. As a fitness instructor, therapeutic riding instructor, and horse owner, excellent article for riders that find themselves out of breath (some due to above mentioned issues and breathing issues such as asthma, COPD, etc.).

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