It’s been cold. It’s winter in Northern Illinois, so that is probably no surprise. Four days of down time due to the horrendous temperatures and weather. Even going to the barn was cut short a day due to the extreme colds. Luckily, my trainer/barn manager made sure that my boy and all the other horses were tucked in cozy with hay to keep them happy.
It’s been challenging to say the least and I was so thankful to be back in the saddle yesterday afternoon when the temperatures cracked 10F.
I’m at the point of playing a bit of catch-up with Carter. Yep, at six (well, technically seven since he’s a registered Thoroughbred) he knows more than I do. I’m getting there, though, each ride I’m learning to put my “buttons” on him so he understands what I’m looking for with each aid.
Yesterday, was my first attempt at renvers/travers on the circle and in the canter. Thanks to Carter’s intelligence we succeeded, for the most part. We are working on true lengthening, too. That, if you’re not there yet, feels like you add go-go juice to an already amped ride and hang on! I asked my trainer how she thought I’d be able to sit that lengthening and her response made me chuckle “loop your pinky around the bucking strap and hope for the best!” In all seriousness, my little guy has a pretty animated lengthening. He harnesses some power that I’m just beginning to discover. That cute butt that everyone loves is the secret keeper of some BOOM!
It’s no secret, either, that I haven’t yet found my core strength I had in my earlier years. Although I’ve been told I do not look like a bouncing bundle of craziness sitting the trot, I feel like it’s less than apropos to deny that I must commit to a determined workout schedule. If I want to progress, I must. (I initially typed mush… Freudian slip? Ha!) I have the tools. I have the time. What I’m lacking is a kick in the pants. I almost think I need a drill sergeant to kick me out of bed in the morning, drag me downstairs and post videos of my sack of potatoes abs flopping up and down while attempting a controlled sitting trot. If this blog post doesn’t do it… I’m not sure what might. I’ve been looking at several workout programs that are popular now. I see the results of several “friends” who have made the transformation. What’s my problem? I’m getting older and things don’t move as easily, things hurt more quickly and longer, and it takes more time to see results of any sort. Boy, re-reading that last sentence and I think maybe I’ll just go watch Wall-E in my comfy chair and let my robot feed me until I can no longer move.
Ok. So. I am putting this out there to the powers that be in the interweb. You have my commitment that I will muster the courage and motivation to buckle down and establish a workout plan that will help me get fit. This post didn’t start out as a bare my soul and commit myself…but it’s what I need and I can do this!
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Yes it takes longer to get in shape when we are older (believe me, I know!), but your back and your horse will thank you. Being in shape means strong and flexible, so boring stretching has to be part of the routine, too. I’m learning that sitting the extended trot takes strong abs AND supple hips. Go figure. I think maybe dressage is all about suppleness with strength for both horse and rider….that seems to be my latest challenge, anyway.
Ugh! Right? Good thing I love my ballet barre, yoga, and dancing. Now, if I could only have the same love for crunches, planks, and my free weights!
I so understand the suppleness challenge. Nothing moves the way it used to and it takes longer to get it moving. Ha… as they say — dressage is the pursuit of perfection by the imperfect…or something like that. We keep going, though, don’t we Horse Sage?
I wish my 6 year old horse knew as much as yours!
I’m in a constant “it’s your turn to catch up with him” phase! Seriously. Last night my trainer was ironing out some bugs that I created and he was willing and ready for a little canter pirouette…yep. I am still on cloud nine! Especially, after I hopped back on and did one each way!!! We’re so lucky to have them in our lives… each time I ride still makes me smile. Enjoy your ride!