Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Skin in the Game

As I come into this season fresh from a broken foot, I know I have a lot of big changes to make in my life. Not exercising at all for four months left me more than just a little "fluffy". It had me thinking. 

When I bring Riesling back into work this spring I will start slow from the ground up to make sure he is at peak physical fitness before I can ask of him what we trained last year. Shouldn't the same go for riders? 

As I'm dipping my toes in the water of pursuing my equestrian dreams, I picked up Denny Emerson's book How Good Riders Get Good. This book has spoken volumes to me, and I will be writing a full review. But as I'm a few weeks into my gym membership and 5k fitness app, this paragraph really shared exactly what I was thinking. 

Aside from the fact that I'm a long, long, way away from even being considered somewhere ready to tackle professional riding, this really is about the amateurs as well. How can I put Ries in fitness boot camp on the lunge and under saddle, yet spend my time out of the saddle loafing around? In what universe does that equal a fair and committed partnership? 

Maybe if I was already at a fit state and I spent enough time in the saddle to maintain that. But I'm not. I might be the only equestrian who failed to neglect this important part of the equation, but I can't ignore my responsibility to be a better rider anymore. I'm expecting my horses to be athletes, but how can they excel if they are doing more than their fair share of the work? I need to help my horse, not hinder its ability to execute movements because of my lack of core strength and independent seat. 

I know this will take time. And a lot of hard work and dedication on my part. But I can't pretend to be ignorant anymore. Even if I never get past training level dressage or ground poles, I'll be the best damn rider I can be at that level. 


  1. I love this book too! And I completely agree! I have often thought about writing a post on what riders could learn from amateur athletes in all kinds of other sports (but fear other riders being like "wow you such a bitch"). When I swam consistently we had to cross train ("dryland": running and body weight exercises) 3x a week RIGHT before we then swam for 2 hours. And I wasn't even that serious of a competitor, just your average kid in the pool.

    So yes! Let's get serious about being fit riders!

  2. This is an excellent point. How can we expect them to do things that we would not do ourselves?

  3. I need to work on being more fit -- I know it's holding me back and I need to channel that into motivation to hit the gym!

  4. Good for you!!

    As a sidenote, I just wanted to let you know I have changed my blog name, so it may not show up in your reader list anymore. The new url is www dot twoandahalfhorses dot blogspot dot com. You may have to re-enter it into your reader list to follow again.

  5. Don't be too hard on yourself! A lot of equestrians neglect this part of their training, becoming cognizant and doing something about it is always the first step!