Way back when I was in 9th grade I had to make the decision between committing to riding or lacrosse. There was no middle ground. I was killing myself trying to do doubles for spring training and riding two horses every day. When I chose riding (surprise!) one of the things I was faced with when talking about my ‘sport’ to non-equestrians was the … “that’s not a sport!” or “the horse does all the work!” comments. Years later and I still get baffled, but not as offended, by them.
I never felt the need to explain the details, like how important it is to have a strong core, leg strength and above all great endurance – but would laugh it off and say something along the lines of how it’s like track & hurdles mixed with ballet, and oh, your partner being a thousand pound animal.
Since getting back into the swing of things I’ve come to appreciate the necessity (and benefits!) of being physically fit. I used to go to the occasional barre or spin class but was never a diehard gym junkie until about a year and a half ago when I started working with a personal trainer 3x a week. That routine has honestly changed not only my body but also my mindset. I could not imagine going back to my occasional workout class here or there routine. My 7am MWF hour sessions are my therapy. I deal with moderate anxiety and have struggled with depression in the past. Believe me when I say that exercise and endorphins are the best natural medicine.
I know time is everything, and for most of us that are already incorporating horses into our lives, trying to find time to break a sweat is tough. But I promise there are ways to get it in. I’ve slowly learned it’s the little choices that make the difference, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or choosing to walk to grab coffee instead of drive.
Try to find things to build your endurance that you actually enjoy. When you like what you’re doing, it doesn’t seem like torture. I HATE running and look extremely awkward doing it, so I don’t. Instead I spin or row. Spoiler: it’s even better with a friend. I’ve found that by pushing myself physically when not in the saddle has only helped me become a stronger rider, both physically AND mentally. Sure, riding works a completely different group of muscles, but why shouldn’t you strengthen your entire self vs just the ones you constantly use when you’re on your horse?Feeling motivated? Here are a few resources that don’t ask you to sign your life away like most gym memberships:
Fit Girls Guide is a great, fun source for meal prep recipes and at-home workouts. If you like glitter and unicorns, this is for you. Try their 28-day Jump Start. (There’s an app now, too!)
Fitness Beautified – this is my trainer, Pam! She just started doing video chat training sessions for out of town clients, so hit her up! (She’s also a certified nutritionist which is a HUGE bonus.) Follow her on IG @pcfit4
SkinnyTaste.com has awesome recipes for when you need healthy but tasty cooking inspo.
Drink your water, be happy & count your blessings people. Take care of yourself because it feels flippin’ fantastic. There’s so much good in the world & it needs to be celebrated.