When, after three days of feasting, your breeches pinch and your belly hangs over your waistband, you know it's been Christmas. And although you've resolved not to eat so much this year, you won't say no when grandma's roast dinner is served and your mother-in-law's cake is on the coffee table in the afternoon. But even a short visit to the barn between turkey and cake can help you get rid of those nasty Christmas calories straight away.
Extensive grooming: the calories will just tumble
Does this sound familiar to you? You drive to the stable in the winter months, want to get your horse from the paddock and have to find out: It's gone! Instead, there is a dirty pig that greets you with a friendly grumble and slips straight into your halter. Days of rain have turned the pony into a wild boar.
But there is a trick to turn the wild boar back into the beloved pony: Extensive grooming! And cleaning has another positive effect. It makes your calories just tumble. That's a promise!
But before you reach for your brushes with fervour, we want to draw your attention to one more thing: A French Study has shown that many horses do not really like brushing. About half of the participating horses behaved aggressively or showed pain. The horses expressed this, for example, by jumping away, threatening, biting or even kicking. Only 5 percent of the horses showed positive behaviour during grooming. They also tried to groom the rider or sought closer contact with him. (To give a bit of an inside scoop: The pony of our Author Karolina Autorin Karolina from #teamsportsfreund belongs to this 5 percent. He especially likes being groomed at the chest. Every time it is brushed there, it tries to brush her too).
Therefore: When grooming, pay attention to your horse's gestures and facial expressions and adjust the grooming accordingly. Characteristics of discomfort can be, among others:
- Tail swinging
- Wrinkles around the eyes
- Wrinkeld nostrils
- Pulled back ears
So you should definitely keep that in mind when you get down to work.
Because you have just taken your horse out of the paddock, it is still a little stiff and tense. It can bequite unpleasant to brush the cold and firm muscles with the metal currycomb right away. You could go for a short walk around the yard before you start grooming.
Maybe you have someone from the family with you on Christmas Day who would like to see the horse. You can give them a little tour of the stable at the same time. This will warm up your horse's muscles a little and boost your calorie consumption at the same time.
When it comes to the actual brushing, start with a soft brush and gradually try out different brushes and different pressure levels.
It can take a while until the mud crust is gone. But every brush stroke demands your muscles: the arms, the torso and the legs. And here's an extra calorie tip: the further away the grooming box is from your grooming spot, the more you have to move.
Of course, cleaning horses does not consume many calories. We are aware of that too. But you keep yourself fit and mobile and strengthen your muscles at the same time. And if 30 minutes of washing a car burns about 150 calories (says bildderfrau.de), we are sure to burn similar amounts when we thoroughly clean our pony.
Riding: Sporty training sessions boost calorie consumption
Your horse is now Christmas clean and there is no sign of the wild boar. Great! Then you can saddle up and go for a quick ride.
In a study, American researchers investigated how much energy a rider consumes and when. They found that you burn fewer calories on a relaxed ride than on an athletic session. The faster you ride, the more you lose weight. This means that the Christmas roast will be off your hips faster if you ride at a canter or a fast trot than at a walk or a slow tölt. You can find the study here.
Of course, sporty sessions are shorter than a leisurely ride. Perfect for a visit to the stable between lunch at grandma's and coffee and cake at your mother-in-law's. And between you and me: If you're at the stables with a companion on Christmas Day, a brisk training session will make much impressing than a quiet unit with side paces.
But please remember: If your horse is wet and sweaty after the intensive training session, don't forget the cooler rug afterwards!
By the way, you can test how many calories you burn while riding here . The consumption depends on age, height and weight. In our case, 147 calories are burned in 30 minutes. For comparison: To burn the same amount of calories, you would have to
- 47 minutes of Walking or
- 15 minutes of jogging or
- 27 minutes of swimming or
- 26 minutes of cycling
Christmas walk with horse and the whole family
But of course it doesn't always have to be riding: For example, how about moving your Christmas walk with the family to the stable and letting your horse accompany you? This also burns calories - 47 minutes of walking just as much as 30 minutes of fast riding! If you manage 10,000 steps (the equivalent of about 7 kilometres), you will have burned 400 calories.
But unlike when you're riding, you can relax and chat with your grandma, uncle or sister-in-law about recipes, New Year's Eve plans or the latest gossip.
Sweep the grooming area: Burns calories and makes the stable owner happy
Did you have a big cleaning session before Christmas? I'm sure your stable owner felt the same way. That's why it's all the more important that you leave your grooming area very thoroughly on these days. Of course, this does not only apply to Christmas! But at Christmas you can work off all the goodies by sweeping extensively: 14 minutes of sweeping consumes about 100 calories (says fitforfun.de).
So while your horse wears it's cooler rug, after training and dries you can still do a little physical activity by swinging the broom.
Of course, you don't need 14 minutes to sweep your grooming area. But there's also the tack room, the stable alley and other areas you can sweep. And we're sure you'll feel your arm muscles, abs and back muscles!
If you're on the verge of a familiy-caused breakdown on Christmas Day and you're taking a short break to visit the pony, even with little time you can do something about all those nasty Christmas calories that, make your trousers suddenly feel too tight and your belt need to be buckled further.