I’ve been working out on a regular basis since October. I started with 20 minutes of cardio twice a week. Cardio is my least favorite work out but it always gives me the best results. I have a workout buddy at the office who keeps me accountable for our standing appointment Tuesday and Thursday at lunch. Over time we increased our cardio time to 30 minutes and have plans to push to 35 minutes next week. After the holidays I added 2 days of weight lifting, an exercise that I enjoy. I started working out again because I no longer have the metabolism that I did in my 20’s and after a few years of carrying extra body fat I am ready to dump Frump Girl and reclaim my Inner Goddess. One side effect that I noticed in the first week was how working out consistently improved my time in the saddle.
In October I noticed that on the afternoons I rode after working out at lunch I just sat better in the saddle. My body made sense to me; I didn’t have to spend the first 20 minutes of the ride finding my seat. The more consistent that I became with my workouts the more consistent I became in the saddle. Over the winter I have found myself understanding more of what Sarah says in my lessons. When she tells me to soften my back I know that I need to engage my core and I can actually do it. I have a “feel” that I don’t remember having in the past. During our lessons I have multiple ahh-haa moments and often stop to let Sarah in on them. 2 weeks ago I caught myself dropping the contact each time I asked for a lope transition. I’ve been doing this for years and for the first time I actually understood why it was happening and how to correct it. A week later I found that every time I wanted to slow my horse down I took my leg off her completely again dropping contact this time with my legs instead of the reins. My horse then dropped her back, lifted my head almost to say “Where did you go”. This has also been going on for years and I finally felt it. I’ve had some of the best rides on my mare in the last few months. I know when I am doing it right because it suddenly becomes easy, I can communicate with my entire body and not just my hands. Grace is moving better than ever and is becoming the horse that I look forward to sitting on in the show ring.
There are times in the gym when I get upset with myself for letting my body go for so long. I used to be stronger and was able to easily lift twice the weight that I struggle with now. I never had to think about the food I put in my body because I burned all the extra calories without having to work at it. Then I remember that the super fit body of my 20’s was also incredibly crooked in the saddle and I lamed up more than one horse with my imbalance. I am once again grateful for the little bay mare that is my teacher on this journey.