As every equestrian knows, the horse does not do all the work. Horse riding burns 250 to 700 calories an hour, depending on the style and speed of your riding. But with such an extensive range, it is natural to want to track it on your Fitbit. But how?
Fitbit has a setting for horse riding. Manually logging in “horseback riding” will give a more accurate calorie burning read than using steps. You can even customize this feature by giving it the horse’s name, allowing you to track your workout on each horse you ride.
Horse riding is exercise, and your Fitbit can prove it. Using your Fitbit for horse riding will also keep you honest about how hard you are working. While online calorie counters claim you are burning more calories the faster your ride, this isn’t always true. Some horses require more from your body, even at slower speeds. Here is how to track it.
How to use your Fitbit for Horse Riding.
Horse riding Fitbit users can customize their Fitbit by logging into their account, going to the Workout options, and manually setting it for horse riding. Riders also find that using a Fitbit with heart rate monitoring capabilities instrumental in determining how hard they are working.
Horse riders who train on more than one horse will also enjoy customizing the horse riding setting for each horse they ride. Instead of using “horse riding,” they can use the horse’s name. Fitbit’s customization allows the rider to track the time and intensity of their training on each horse.
Confused? Check out Fitbit’s help page and select “How do I manually log exercises in the Fitbit app?”
How to Stop Counting the Horse’s Steps as Your Steps
Having Fitbit count your horse’s steps as yours can be incredibly frustrating. You could simply mentally subtract them from your daily count, but this isn’t an acceptable solution for many people. But you don’t have to take your Fitbit off while you ride, as some Reddit users suggested.
When you go to your customizable Workout settings for horse riding, you can enter the workout under the category of “Driving.” On some Fitbits, users enter two workouts at the same time, horse riding and driving. This double feature allows that Fitbit model to track the calorie expenditure of horse riding without adding the steps, thanks to the driving setting.
Recommended Fitbits for Horse Riding
Fitbits are offered in a variety of styles and price points. With horse riding, you want one with a heart rate tracker. Other valuable features are waterproofing, a built-in GPS, and a HITT timer for interval training.
The Fitbit Versa 3 ticks all the boxes, with the heart rate tracker, GPS, and the handy HITT timer, coming in at around $200 on Amazon.
Fitbit Inspire 2 is also waterproof and comes with a Health & Fitness tracker along with choices of colors for those wanting a slimmer and cheaper option. You will have to upgrade to a Fitbit Charge 4 to get the built-in GPS, however, rather than work with your phone. Click here for a full review between Fitbit Inspire 2 vs. Inspire HR vs. Charge 4.
If you want to use a completely different brand of fitness tracker, some horse riders enjoy the Polar Vantage series, such as the Polar Vantage M.
The Apple Watch can also be used to meet your fitness goals. You can take advantage of Apple’s Heart Rate and Health Apps. Many users also pair their Apple Watch with a horse riding app, such as Equilab.
Using Your Fitbit while Grooming Your Horse
Fitbit’s customizable options are not only useful when actually on your horse. Using the Workout feature, you can also create categories for grooming the horse and mucking out the stables. Having the heart rate tracker, along with tracking your steps while hauling tack and pushing wheelbarrows, can provide a more accurate calorie burn reading than online estimates.
Using Horse Riding Apps with Your Fitbit
Equilab is a horse riding app that comes with a wide range of features. It also links up with your Fitbit and other fitness trackers. With Equilab, you can enter multiple horses and include information on them, such as their gender, age, breed, and which discipline they specialize in.
The basic version of Equilab is free, both to download and use. Premium users wanting access to more features will want to subscribe. Google Play is currently offering an annual subscription for $79.99. Apple users can find a version for them, too.
Other Great Horse Riding Apps
There are more apps horse riders may enjoy:
EQUiTrail is a trail riding dream with its excellent maps, tracking your location as you ride. It can be used hands-free, allowing you to store your phone safely in a saddle bag or pocket.
NIGHTWATCH is a dream app for those that want to monitor their horse constantly. The tracking device is part of a unique halter and can track the horse’s location, heart rate, posture, location, and even the horse’s breathing. Alerts and tracking are all linked to your phone.
Ridely is an app that gives you access to filmed riding exercises. It comes with an equestrian-friendly calendar, allowing you to track everything from competition results to when your horse last saw the farrier. The app has you set goals and keeps you on track to meet them.
HorseGlobe is another great app for trail riders. Not only does it have access to a large number of trails, but you can also record your ride and share the results on social media.
Horse Side Vet Guide is the second-best thing to phoning your vet. Nothing can replace a veterinarian’s expertise. But sometimes, it is hard to know if your horse’s problem is an emergency or even a problem at all. This app helps you decide if you should call that vet and walk you through providing first-aid to your horse, along with other horse health care advice.
Horse riding is exercise for both the rider and the horse. Using a Fitbit to track your training will help you optimize your time in the saddle. Using a Fitbit and other apps requires some setup, but the information gained will be well worth it in meeting your equestrian and personal fitness goals.