“Ah, it’s alright, I’m going to the yard later,” you think, happily tucking into roast beef with all the trimmings, followed by apple crumble with (it would be rude not to) a generous dollop of custard on top.

“I’ll work it all off doing the stables,” you think, as one chocolate biscuit turns into two, three and — oh. Is the packet empty?

Mucking out, walking courses and heaving bales of hay about, not to mention riding itself, all counts as exercise, helps build fitness and muscle and burns off some calories, although maybe not as many as you’d hope.

Thanks to a fitness tracker and its workout setting, H&H has been able to calculate approximate values for the number of calories burned carrying out various horsey tasks.

Of course these will vary owing to factors such as your weight, age and level of fitness, not to mention the distances involved in different yards, whether your horse is forthcoming or not and just how energetic your muckheap-forking is. But added to your basal metabolic rate, the number of calories you would burn if you lay in bed all day, it all adds up to a respectable total. Another HobNob?

  • Mucking out two full straw beds, including sweeping, emptying wheelbarrows and one new bale of straw: 175 kcal
  • Mucking out two full shavings beds, including sweeping and emptying wheelbarrow: 168 kcal
  • Forking back/tidying the muckheap for 15 minutes: 99 kcal
  • Digging out the corners/sides of a sand and rubber 20x40m school before harrowing (16 minutes): 88kcal
  • Walking a showjumping course (single phase, 12 fences): 42 kcal

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  • Warming up and jumping a single-phase showjumping course, as above: 148kcal
  • Half an hour’s riding on the flat: 205 kcal
  • Walking a cross-country course (45 minutes): 195 kcal

Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out 12 July, for our rider fitness special, featuring what the top riders eat, fitness across the disciplines and much more.