Equestrian LifestyleEquestrian Moms

How Soon You Can Horseback Ride After Having A Baby

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Struggling to get back on the saddle after childbirth? Discover the perfect timeline for mothers looking to resume horseback riding after having a baby. Learn how to listen to your body, and find out how long recovery might take based on unique childbirth experiences.

Horses are your life. You are eager to get back to horse riding. Your plan is to start riding after your baby is born as soon as possible. But you are not sure about when you will be able to do that or what it will be like.

In general, after having a baby, doctors say to give yourself 6 weeks of recovery time before doing regular exercise. But the real answer is… it is different for every mom when they can or want to go back to riding.

General Timeline When You Can Ride After Birth

Birth ExperienceWait Time Before Riding
Normal Vaginal Birth No Complications3 Weeks – 6 Weeks
Vaginal Birth With Episiotomy Or Tear6 Weeks – 12 Weeks
C-Section No Complications12 Weeks
C-Section ComplicationsOver 12 Weeks

My Experience Getting Back In The Saddle After Baby

Looking back I find it funny that I thought I would be riding a couple of weeks after my baby was born.

I looked at the sleeping baby in my arms. Half an hour of bouncing and rocking to get this little one to sleep. After many failed attempts to breastfeed and finally giving in to formula to satisfy my baby’s constant cries of hunger.

It made me feel like I was failing as a mother as I fed my baby formula with corn syrup as the first ingredient. #similac

My days consisted of every three hours, changing baby, feeding baby, pumping to try to get my breastmilk going and trying to get the baby to fall asleep for a nap. This was all day 24 hours a day. Over and over.

I got to look forward to long nights every night with my baby as my husband could not function to care for the baby at night and go to work at the same time. I systematically woke up to care for all his needs plugging away day in and day out, exhausted.

During my husband’s “paternity” leave he did watch Colton some nights. If he watched Colton at night he would stay up all night long and sleep during the day. Otherwise, he felt that if he slept at all he wouldn’t be able to wake up to take care of the baby during the night.

On top of the monotonous routine, my body ached, every inch of me felt so sore, let alone my lady parts, which had been torn and stitched. It was difficult to get up and down from the couch to the bassinet that was next to me or to the bathroom.

Tylenol, laxatives and numbing spray were my best friends. It’s scary trying to go to the bathroom when you feel like all your insides are going to fall out, especially when you were torn all the way to your bum. It hurt to pee and go number 2 even with numbing spray. It was tough.

I was not going to ride a horse like this… I just couldn’t. My body couldn’t handle it. I was exhausted. I was feeling intense mom guilt about my insufficient breasts and I had no time, between the pumping, and trying to breastfeed. Let alone the feelings of protectiveness I had over my baby that made me not want to leave him.

It was a good 6 months before I started to lease a horse and gradually start riding again.

But not everyone has the same experience. You may decide to start riding in a few weeks or months or a year. 

How Long To Wait To Ride If You Had A Vaginal Birth Without Complications?

If all went well with your pregnancy you will still want to give yourself some time to recuperate and heal. Your lady parts are going to be sore whether you tore or not.

In general, it will be 3-6 weeks before your body will be ready to get back on the saddle. But if your body is healing, doing well and you feel good to go get the green light from your doctor and go for it. I have read on many horse forums of the woman getting back in the saddle sooner than 3 weeks.

That being said you may not be ready to get back in the saddle yet and that’s okay. Horses will always be there when you’re ready to get back in the saddle.

Maybe you don’t want to leave your baby yet or maybe you are still sore after 6 weeks. Take your time before coming back into it. Having a newborn takes a lot out of you and you will be tired.

How Long To Wait To Ride If You Had A Vaginal Birth With An Episiotomy Or Tear?

With an episiotomy (a minor incision in the vagina to make a wider opening in childbirth) it takes roughly 3 weeks or more for it to heal.

I didn’t get an episiotomy but I sure did tear. It was a third-degree tear and not fun at all.

If you end up tearing recovery time will vary based on the degree of the tear.

  • A first-degree tear is minor and will heal in a few days.
  • A second-degree tear is a little deeper into the tissue and will take a couple of weeks to heal.
  • A third-degree tear goes all the way to your butthole and takes up to 6 weeks to heal.
  • A fourth-degree tear goes through your rectum and takes 6 plus weeks to heal.

How Long Should You Wait To Ride If You Had A C-Section?

If you had a c-section the good thing is your lady parts aren’t going to be as sore when you get back into the saddle.

If you are healthy and everything went well, it will take about the same amount of time as recovering from a bad perineal tear.

It takes only 5-10 days for your skin to heal around the stitches.

The underlying stitches in your muscle layer will take longer to heal. These won’t completely heal for 12 weeks.

Family Doctor -American Academy of Family Physicians : Recovering from Delivery

Deciding When You Should Go Back To Riding?

The decision is really up to you. There are a number of reasons why you may want to wait and that is okay. Just because you are not getting right back in the saddle doesn’t mean you will never do it again.

“Having a child is a huge thing so I think it’s important to enjoy that experience and come back to riding when you feel ready,” says Piggy. “Just because someone else was riding within a week doesn’t mean you have to be as well.”

Piggy- Horse And Hound How do riders return to the saddle after having a baby?

Some things you may want to consider about, how you will be feeling. Questions to ask yourself about the logistics of going back to riding. These lists are not exclusive and they are just to help prepare you for getting back in the saddle.

How You Will Be Feeling

  • You may not feel okay about leaving your baby or may feel guilty.
  • You may be sore down below longer than you think and when you ride you will be putting pressure right in that area.
  • You may be really tired from having to stay up throughout the night to care for your baby.
  • You may feel really out of shape, wobbly less secure in the saddle
  • You may not have control of your bladder.
  • You may feel disappointed comparing your riding abilities from now to before baby.
  • You may have lost your nerve and feel more nervous about getting hurt. This is a real thing. When you become a mum the amygdala gets stimulated and this causes a worry response.

(About Amydala) Unfortunately, these responses can also have some negative side effects, perhaps explaining why many new mothers feel overly emotional from time to time, especially when thinking about the well-being of their own children.

Psychology Today- The Science Of Mom Brain

Logistics of Riding With A Baby

  • Who is going to watch your baby when you are riding?
  • Do you have help with caring for your baby?
  • Are you planning to bring your baby to the barn?
  • If you are breastfeeding what is the plan?
  • Are you going to get off the horse immediately if the baby starts crying?
  • Where will you put your baby when you are riding? In a stroller, car seat, pack n play, outdoor screen tent?
  • How will the horses react to these baby things ? And is there a safe place to put your baby when riding.
  • Can your riding instructor push you, baby, around in the stroller while teaching you in your lesson?
  • Can you find a babysitter?
  • Can your husband watch the baby when he gets home from work?
  • How many times a week do you want to ride?

So When Should You Start Riding Again

  • When your doctor has given you the all-clear.
  • When you are feeling physically ready and well as mentally ready.
  • When you have a plan for the logistics of having a baby and horse riding.

Did you find this article helpful? Check out:

Poll: Did You Ride During Part Of Your Pregnancy?

Happy Horse Riding, Kacey

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Disclaimer Notice: Please be aware that horseback riding and related equestrian activities carry inherent risks. The advice and experiences shared on this blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional training or advice. Ensure your safety and that of your horse by wearing appropriate gear, practicing safe horse handling, and consulting with certified equestrian professionals. Remember, each horse is unique, and techniques may vary accordingly. Always prioritize safety, respect, and patience in your equestrian endeavors.

Kacey Cleary Administrator
Kacey has been an equestrian since 1998. She was a working student at several eventing and dressage barns. She has owned horses, leased horses, and trained horses. Kacey received an A.S. in Equine Industries from UMass Amherst, where she rode on the dressage team. She was certified with the ARIA and is licensed to teach riding in MA. She has been a barn manager and has run her own horse farm.
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