How many calories are really burned?

MissMissle Posts: 293 Member
So I know I can't get an answer unless I buy a FitBit or something and actually figure it out on my own....but I always just do MFP generic input for horse back riding - and I round about how many minutes I rode for and it gives me a number... but obviously you burn more jumping, or posting no stirrups, then you do just walking around. PLUS, Im a huge believer that once you do something for a while - you can work a percentage as hard to get the same results... IE I let a friend of my mom's hop on a school horse a while back. Shes a body pump instructor from Russia - very fit, very active. Just trying to stear the horse to the track in the ring was a workout for her - she was completely flustered in a matter of seconds just trying to maintain balance, stear, and not fall off. She said that it was by far, way harder than body pump or any other aerobic class she ever taught. And i think she came to this conclusion in less than 5 minutes of strugling.

Now, if I jump rope 5 times I get winded, never mind doing an actual aerobics class - but I can do a ten mile hunter pace in my half seat noooo problem.

My point is...she burned more calories than me Im sure, because I find ways to make it easy.... well, as easy as I can. I compromise what i ask my horse do do without even realizing it.... plus, I have the muscle memory.

So what do I burn? I generally brush my horse for bout 15 minutes then do about a 60 minute ride - about ten or so minutes is walking, the rest is trotting and cantering, and I barely ever drop my stirrups. I jump only about once a week. Then when I'm done I'm brushing of bathing her for another 20 minutes, then cleaning my tack for about ten minutes or so...

I don't count the walking time so i usually say I ride for about 45 minutes and am generally given an estimate of about 218 calories - but what does that mean? Has anyone actually used a FitBit or something to see how many calories they are actually burning??


  • Guinness80
    Guinness80 Posts: 39 Member
    I really don't know, but even a fit bit won't help figure this out because it doesn't track heart rate, just steps and stairs.
  • xxghost
    xxghost Posts: 4,698 Member
    Unfortunately, a FitBit won't really help with the riding bit. It counts steps, but not calories burned, because it doesn't have an attached heart rate. So while it can count how many steps my Annie takes, it can't tell me how many calories I burned riding her.

    I'll wear my heart rate monitor next time I ride, but unfortunately, my number is going to vary dramatically from day to day! During trail rides, I'm pretty much just on for the ride. I don't work all that hard. When I'm really working my horse, I burn more. And when I'm playing polo, I lose loads! But its hard to say exactly unless I use my HRM every time.
  • MissMissle
    MissMissle Posts: 293 Member
    Well let me know - I mean, our bodies aren't the same so I can't use your numbers for myself - but Im just interested what the randon number on here is based off of!
  • Autumnfilly2005
    Autumnfilly2005 Posts: 232 Member
    While we're talking about calories burned, how many do you think are burned while doing ground work? I know I get hot and sweaty doing ground work, so there's definitely some effort being expended.
  • epiphany29
    epiphany29 Posts: 122 Member
    I just am grateful that time is taken up with an activity and not around food that I don't worry about calories burned. I sorta like the surprise when I find the scale moved. (which is hasn't been doing lately)

    I think in one of the other discussions in the group someone posted calorie burn for different chores so you might take a peek at those and see if it helps.

    I too think that as we become better riders we burn fewer calories because we are working smarter not harder.
  • micheledavison39
    micheledavison39 Posts: 821 Member
    I know this was first posted a couple of months ago, but has anyone else figured out how to get reliable calories burned while riding?

    I wore my HRM and fitbit at the same time riding last night and got waaayy different results between the 2. I started tracking from the time I went to get Silas from the paddock and stopped when I put him away, total of just under 2 hours. 1345 calories burned according to the HRM, 412 according to Fitbit. If you use the tool on MFP, it gives yet another number. I will probably try again and just track from when I get on til I get done and let Fitbit cover the rest as that is mostly walking around.
  • MissMissle
    MissMissle Posts: 293 Member
    I still have no idea - I've been using MFP generic number and just counting the time i ride - which is about an hour - not counting the other couple hours Im there grooming, cleaning tack, etc.

    Well - now I'm even more torn! i was going to get a HRM but now Im not so sure after your post about it saying you burned over 1000 calories.

    I know one thing for sure, my calorie burns vary, a lot, when I ride. Monday I did hill work with my mare and rode her in a large field - something we don't do too often. she was SO strong that it took alot more body control on my part to hold her together. i tried to really pay attention to what i was doing. i noticed my leg was on a lot harder - i was riding a bit more defensively, and I wonderied if the sheet fact that i was a little more "on my toes" about things was burning more calories, because I was getting tired - but I wasn't sure why. This day i only rode for about 20 minutes because I knor doing trot and canter sets up and down the large hills is way harder for her than riding around the ring, and I wanted to make sure i didn't push her. But was it harder for me too?? I think it actally was, i feel like i got a better workout than I generally do.

    The day before that I rode for a little over an hour doing ring work, but I wasn't nearly as tired. yesterday, I was pretty sick all day 9I think i had a stomach bug) and felt dehydrated even though I drank over a gallon of water, so I only rode for a half hour in the 90 degree weather as to not feel like passing out! I also went to bed at 8 last night... so I may have done too much. Anyway, point being, my 20 minutes monday burned more than my half hour yesterday, Im sure, but i just logged the same standard thing in MFP.

    its a mystery!

    Im also now realizing yesterdays ilness and dehydration is probbaly skewing this mornings weigh in...crap.... I will weigh in again tomorrow!
  • kimikko
    kimikko Posts: 5 Member
    There is a new fitbit that is coming out in 2015. (that reads your heart rate.) I'm hoping that will give an accurate reading as to how many calories I'm burning while riding.
  • MissMissle
    MissMissle Posts: 293 Member
    I bought the fitbit charge which has a heart rater monitor on it!

    It's... ineteresting.... I got to say it way overestimates calories burned. For one, it doesn't recognize recovery time - so - if i jump a course on my mare then walk for five minutes, it still records my heart rate as high, when Im cooling down, and sais I am burning calories which Im actually not (to put it really non scientifically).

    Anyway - Ive had it for over a month now but I "lost" this group when everything was re-vamped so I didnt post about it. The first couple times I rode with it I checked it alot. I cant remember exact numbers... but my heart rate maintained in the low 80s for trot and canter. When I jumped - it shot up to over 100 putting me in the "fat burn zone". When I walked after jumping, my heart rate was still high, but the charge kept me in the "fat brun zone" thus giving me an increased caloric burn.

    ** On the same note, on days it was 10-20 degrees farenheight at the barn, which was basically the entire month of February, my heart rate was recorded to be over 100 for the entire 4 hours i was at the barn - I wasn't riding during this time, just walking, brushing, hanging out. Not sure if it was so high from shivering, of from the 7 layers of under armor compressing it against my arm, but again it put me in the fat burn zone when really I was just freezing.

    Suprizingly, what my fit bit read as calories burned after about an hour of riding was pretty similar to MFP's generic number - it was about 416 calories after an hour of mainly trotting and cantering, with a little bit of jumping and walking. Because I believe MFP over estimates, and the Fit Bit Charge does not account for cool down periods, Ive been logging half of what it gives me as exersice calories (well, in reality I didnt ride all february because it never broke 20 degrees F so i actually didnt log anything ha). I also assume while the fitbit is judging caloried by my heart rate - its also accounting for steps, which are increased dramatically on the horse.... so Im not sure if thats why the caloric burn was higher than i thought it should be too....I really dont know.

    Im going to set the fit bit to track my calories burned again today and see what it reads - Ill just do a normal ride which is about 15 minutes walking, 10 minutes of stretching trot, 10 minutes of working trot, 20 minutes of canter, and 10 minutes (or less) of jumping.
  • arrrrjt
    arrrrjt Posts: 245 Member
    I can burn anywhere between 350 - 600 in a 45 min - 75 min lesson (using a Polar chest strap and Polar M400). I lose weight when I eat at a deficit so those numbers are working for me.