Hitting the ‘Reset’ Button: Rider Fitness

Jane, after watching yesterday’s video:

Whoa. Horse people:

The dedication.

The successes.

The animal to animal communication.

The risks.

The lumps.

Look at all those athletes – wait – look at all the athletes I know.

I am struck with awe as I remember the horse events I’ve witnessed.  I feel so proud.

“She’s got THAT right. Horses are not sofas that move!”, I scoff.

“I am part of a nation…no a WORLD…of athletes…”, I think (smugly), wonderingly.

8 seconds later, the words “sofa” and “athlete” are still kinda ringing in my ear.

Um. About the athlete part…?

Jane’s video would include a lot of throw pillows.  Possibly a comforter.  For the last month, Hudson has been a moving sofa. I’ve alternately lounged on him and paid him for psychotherapy, resting my head on his butt.

(Granted, he’s a highly athletic sofa with dressage movement and a penchant for cows.)

Honestly? He’s been kindly packing my butt around during and after the whole dad dying in our house thing. (Minimizing is the first step to Denial, which is the fastest way out of Pain. Stay with me here.)

I have shown up at the barn, sporting my newly expanded waistline, throwing a lot of padding on his back, and hoisting myself up to “ride” bareback.

(I’m lying.  He’s 16 hh, and I’m old.  Hoisting is out of the picture. I lower myself on his back from a retaining wall, and reach a hand out to fluff up any smooshed flowers.)

Hudson sighs, rotates his ears back, and stands there with a big –  ? – over his head. I give him the cue to walk on. He sighs again, and downshifts into Amble. We’re off. Usually with Dinero on the end of a lead beside us.  (Being a sofa is much more fun if you can do it with a friend.)

I’ve thrown in a little trot, canter, and being on the bit here and there, to perpetuate the idea that I’m actually doing something. I’m riding in whatever clothes I threw on that morning. No stirrups = capris and athletic shoes? Tank top and sweats? What’s the problem?

Confession: I’m Jello.  Jell. O.

Athletic? Ha.  I’m proving all our tormentors (and doctors!) right: the horse does all the work. Riding isn’t an athletic sport.

I can’t let THAT stand.  I’d be letting down the entire Equestrian Nation.

I proclaim today to be “Jane Stops Procrastinating Day”.

Prepare for tales of Cake Deprivation, Gym Torture, and Righteous Riding Joy.

My goal is to become (and stay) an equestrian athlete. It’s one of those dang goals I have to set over and over again. I’m not a bit lazy.

I might be rather Gym Challenged.

I might also have a slight Pilates Deficiency.

But I’m on it!

(Just as soon as I sweep away all these empty candy wrappers….)

11 thoughts on “Hitting the ‘Reset’ Button: Rider Fitness

    1. Hi Matt, thanks for commenting. I went to your site, and was impressed with the sample videos of exercises that target a *rider’s* fitness needs. I’ll be testing your exercises, and if it works, you might have a new client!
      Okay gang, head over to Matt’s, and check out the rider-targeted fitness exercises. I liked ’em. They’re do-able, and don’t involve a lot of equipment.
      (For the record, I do not know Matt!)

  1. Don’t despair, we’ve all gone through the “hey, I’m sitting (bareback) on my horse so I’m riding, right?” phase. It’s nice to have a break once in a while. It’s also great to have a horse that will kindly pack you around, with only a few questions asked. At least you put a bridle on… lately I’ve been “riding” in a halter. With tennis shoes and yoga pants, which is not nearly as classy as a tank top and sweats. I expect that we’re just ahead of the fashion scene and these outfits will be showing up in the Dover catalog before long. 🙂

  2. Glad you are starting to feel a little better (recognizing jello is a sign of that) and I hope Shaun is too. I really should just copy your post and plunk it down in my blog. My lack of fitness is embarrassing Nina. And since it is snowing already here, more due on Saturday, and my response is to fire up the coffee pot and look for something to snack on…… it’s going to be a long, hungry winter.

  3. Best part of considering yourself an athlete rather than a passenger? You can EASILY justify regular athletic massages. They’re simply a necessary part of keeping your athlete’s body tuned, right?

    (Although, actually… mine kind of hurt as they work through issues with the new core muscles I’m developing…)

  4. Jane, you’re way too hard on yourself. I know you’re going to scream about how eating chocolate is incompatible with being hard on yourself – but you beat yourself up too much about your perceived failures! You should get in shape because it’ll make you a better rider and that’ll make you happy, not because you’re a bad jello monster or something. :-/ Lots of hugs!

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