You have a great training session, you feel like a badass. You ride your horse like an Olympic athlete and you have eaten well, rock on!
The next day after dreaming about being this badass fit equestrian you go to get out of bed:
Yup, DOMS, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Might even be worse the day following.
Do not panic, muscle soreness is a normal response to a new exercise programme, and increase in volume or intensity of your training. DOMS can start as quickly as 6-8 hours post exercise and usually peaks around 48 hours post training and can occur anywhere in your body that you have trained. Often you will get DOMS after a fall, not from the damage per se but the excessive muscle tension your body is not used to producing!
The exact mechanism underpinning muscle soreness is not well understood, it is related to micro-tears within the muscle ( which is necessary for adaptation and strength so not a bad thing!). Eccentric (lengthening of muscle tissue) muscle work tends to cause the most soreness, think stiff leg deadlifts etc.
So nothing to worry about and not a reason to rest to be honest unless the pain is really severe. If it is that bad e.g. legs are sore then train a different body part! Obviously if it is so bad you can barley move then yes perhaps rest a day but DOMS will be less severe the more your body is used to moving!
Now how to relieve DOMS – because riding a horse with DOMS is not all that fun really!
My personal preference is a good warm up/cool down and some mobility work with lacrosse ball and foam roller. Some steady state cardio the day following and an Epsom Salts bath. This approach is sensible and no fuss. I always get leg and chest DOMS more so than elsewhere.
Here are some other tips to try relieving soreness, some of these are tips rather than science based evidence.
The more your body is used to training, the less sore in general you will become. That said a new training block, exercise or increase in weight will likely see a bit of DOMS. So long term solution, don’t stop training, be consistent!
Foam rolling or mobility work with lacrosse ball. Hurts at the time, sometimes the net day but helps if you are consistent with it!