What to do when your sore from riding and training.

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!


Hot/Cold Showers and Ice baths. I will leave that fun for you to try!

BCAA supplementation. Branched Chain Amino Acids taste amazing, you can drink them intra workout or just at some point during the day. The won’t help with DOMS per se but they may well help prevent or reduce pain onset. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential in muscle repair and growth, you will not naturally produce all amino acids required hence nutrition and supplementation! Three important amino acids needed for muscle tissue repair are leucine, isoleucine and valine, which can be found in BCAA supplements. They work by helping to repair the microscopic torn muscle fibres and prevent the muscles from breaking down.

Food and Hydration: Keep well hydrated. Drink plenty (of water!) prior, during and after training. Eat Carbohydrates pre and post training. Carbs produce insulin, which is a hormone that drives muscle growth in your body. It also helps replace muscle and liver glycogen which helps refuel your energy supplies and helps the body in the recovery process.Eat Protein! Protein is a nutrient that is essential for the growth, maintenance and repair of muscles and body tissue. After a workout, protein can help repair the muscle fibres that were broken down during the exercise, which helps reduce soreness and recovery time. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries and cherries, help reduce inflammation and therefore soreness, cherry juice is quite common to use post training.

Candlelight, relaxing music and epsom salts bath 😀 nice reward for being the badass that you are!

Have a great day, Jenni x