We love delving into the daily routines of the people who are building amazing brands in the equestrian community. Juggling horses, riding and running a business is no small achievement. But what about 4 horses AND staying in enviable shape whilst helping other riders improve their fitness?! Clare Gangadeen, founder of RiderCise, takes us through how she squeezes it all into a day and gives us some insight into her current rider fitness challenges. Let’s go behind the brand at RiderCise!
Waiting hand and foot on four Friesian mares
Like all horse owners, my life revolves around horses – oh, and 3.5 cats (we have a stray that comes and goes as he pleases) and my partner Adam! I am fortunate that I now have the horses at home, which saves me so much time previously spend travelling to and from the yard. However there is one tiny downstde – the girls have worked out exactly WHERE I LIVE! If you have seen my Facebook videos you would have seen naughty Imke escaping and coming to the house! The result is that they are now waited on hand and hoof – there are downfalls to everything! But I really do love having them at home. It means I get to see the babies growing up and spend time with them without always wanting something but I now visit them at least 5 times per day!
I have 4 beautiful Friesian girls:
Annick – a 2nd Premie Star Mare who is 12 years old and my Queen, my inspiration, the face of my Brand.
Rana – a 3rd Premie Mare who is also 12 years old and my first Friesian who started this addiction I now seem to have.
Zeva – a 2-year-old filly who is just massive but the gentlest girl. She loves attention, treats and galloping.
Imke – a 2nd Premie Filly, 2 years old who is probably the sweetest and cleverest horse I have met. She is an escape artist extraordinaire! Just head over to the RiderCise® Facebook page to see ALL her videos.
An early start to a busy day
I typically get up at about 6:30am, feed the cats and then go feed the girls, turn out, muck out and fix whatever Imke has destroyed. It takes me about 1.5hrs to do four boxes and prep them for the evening. I then head back in to do my cardio. I normally do between 30-60mins on the cross trainer whilst making calls, responding to emails and going through my diary.
At the moment I am busy recording for the new RiderCise® On Demand Platform. That means that after my cardio, I’ll have a shower and then record 1 or 2 routines before a late breakfast at about 11am. I then head out to ride the two older horses. I try to alternate between Annick and Rana but of course, they are horses so that doesn’t always go to plan and they sometimes get left longer between rides depending on how they felt when previously ridden.
Both Annick and Rana are slowly improving their fitness as I don’t typically ride much through the summer. They just don’t cope well with the heat and, as always, there are ongoing challenges with horses. They are individuals, nothing is plain sailing and there are often more downs than ups!
Behind the scenes of RiderCise®
At about 2pm I normally have some lunch and then sit down. I start looking through my client’s updates on the RiderCise® current platform, responding to questions and queries. I then typically start editing videos (which takes forever!) until about 5pm. Despite the girls having access to grass there isn’t anything in it at this time of year. That means they are often bored and want to come in, so off I trot to the yard to bring them in and feed.
After feeding I head back to my office and continue editing videos. Then I do the majority of my client calls who are on Custom Designed Programmes. I often finish at about 8:30pm, sometimes later if I have a webinar or am speaking to clients in another time zone. Then, I start making my dinner and usually have a glass of wine. I do love wine and it helps me shut my mind down, especially when working so late. Just before I eat, I go check the girls. I top up their hay and give them their sweets for the night.
Fitness to ride supporting her horses
Rana has slipping stifles, something she has always suffered from and she needs to work a lot more through her body. She has a tendency to drag herself rather than push herself and she doesn’t have much focus. She would much rather be watching what everyone else is doing instead of her feet, which doesn’t help her stifles. With her, I work on forwardness mainly, long and loose, she must find her balance and learn to use her body properly. We do lots of transitions, serpentines, zig-zags to keep her focused. I also pay particular attention to my body posture, balance and control so she doesn’t have to worry about dealing with me as well as herself.
Annick hasn’t been right for a while. She was caught on our CCTV playing in the field, bucking and landing upside down on the floor! She needs to lengthen and strengthen her muscles (as with most of us riders) so, whilst I need to work her, she often needs bigger recovery gaps. It will often feel like she is going 4 steps backwards and then has a really great session. Annick also has to work more proactively from her hind and find her own balance. She also needs more support from me, to help pace her (she will rush if allowed) through my tempo and encouragement to go forward with impulsion with my energy and seat.
A total body approach to fitness
I keep a total body approach with my own fitness, but at the moment I am personally focusing on the control of my body for both horses. It’s important that I’m in control of what my body is doing. It enables me to stay as light as possible in my seat, not leaning or collapsing through transitions whilst still having the strength to create impulsion to drive them forwards. For Annick, I need the strength in my legs to wrap around her and support her when needed and release when she has rebalanced. I also need the strength in my posterior chain to control the pace of her trot through the tempo of my posting.
I’m constantly looking at ways I can improve myself for the benefit of my girls. Small changes in the way I ride can have huge positive impacts on their ability to move beneath me. Focusing on rider fitness truly has changed my life!
Learn more about RiderCise®
Clare’s message that rider fitness is just as important as horse fitness has truly resonated with riders around the world. Rider fitness is not just for elites, it’s for anyone who cares about their horse! Riding is a partnership and we have to hold up to our side of the bargain.
Keep an eye out for the launch of the RiderCise® on Demand programme when it launches later this month and take a closer look at the other programmes here.