Saturday, May 31, 2008

Getting Back Into Shape

Wow! Just after a week, I can already say that my legs are a good 50% stronger than last week. I have ridden 4 times in the past 8 days. It’s amazing how quickly the human body develops. Then again, I come from sturdy stock. I’m the kind of girl that cannot lift weights because my biceps would erupt and split my shirt. Then I would look like Mr. Heat Stroke instead of Mrs. Heat Stroke. My husband thinks this is great (so long as I never, EVER, ever lift weights) because he envisions our future son. Said son is sure to have raging muscles, thanks to me. Boy, isn’t it great to be a woman? Sarcasm off now.

I do want to get back into shape. I am a yo-yo dieter. I can easily drop 30 pounds, but on the same token, I easily gain back those 30 pounds. Seeing as how I have gained again, it is time to lose it. This is yet another reason that I need to motivate myself to ride. It really helps my cardiovascular, which is sorely out of shape at the moment. My office recently relocated to the third floor and you can hear me coming a mile away. I start out trying to quick walk the steps and by the second floor, I get much slower. The third floor comes and I’m dragging myself up. At the top, I’m breathing so hard that I am convinced I resemble a beached whale screaming in his dying agony. Do whales even make a noise when they are beached? If so, that’s what I sound like.

My goal is to start doing crunches every other day. The trick is to start slowly. Never over tax your body. It can actually have the opposite effect if you over due your workouts. I usually start with 10-15 crunches and after my body starts thinking that’s easy, I increase by 10 crunches. If you can brave the pain, crunches really can help strengthen your core for when you’re in the saddle. Squats REALLY burn and I hate them beyond all measure of life, but they also truly help for getting those legs of steel that come in handy when your horse decides to spook at plastic bags.

See these girls? What a fine example. Don't we all want to look like one of them? Look at their balance. Amazing! Personally, I'd like to see them on a bucking bronc. *Evil laugh* Sorry, that just slipped out.

Back on topic, if you happen to come across this post, do yourself a favor and try adding in a few crunches and squats here and there. Even if you HATE working out, just add a few in a day (nothing too serious). Just doing 5 and 5 a day will make a difference. You might decide you like that difference and start adding more into your daily life. Here’s to HATING to workout!

Two Days In a Row - It's a Record!

This Blog REALLY Works

I am amazed to say that I have ridden 2 days in a row. WOW! This blog really does work and NO, I am not being sarcastic. I can honestly say that I have not ridden two days in a row since last year. I rode every day for a week trying to cram in a months worth of training for a show I wanted to attend. For any of you who, like me, are lacking in motivation, try writing a blog. It might surprise you! You might start getting motivated.

My rides were very good considering how green Hormonal Mare is. On Monday, we lunged first (maybe too much). By the time I got into the saddle, Hormonal Mare was LAZY. She tried to baulk when I asked for the canter. Her tail started swishing and she slammed on the breaks. I simply continued to ask until she got irritated enough with my persistence to go into the canter. After we finished, I noticed the saddle had left two HUGE dry spots on each side of her shoulders. Uh-oh.

On Tuesday, we rode again. This time, she started baulking as soon as I was in the saddle. She did not want to move. I threw her off balance a few times and then she politely started moving again. I didn’t lunge that day, so she was a bit spooky when we went around the right back corner. I’m very proud to say that she did not spook once! However, I did make sure to keep her attention focused on her headset. We also kept doing shoulder ins around that corner. Eventually, she lost interest in whatever was making her nervous.

The sad news is, I need a new saddle. I HATE this! I love my current saddle. It’s absolutely not fair that I have a horse I enjoy and a saddle I enjoy, but the two cannot go together. Does anyone else see the cruelty in this? If you have EVER been on the hunt for a properly fitting saddle, then I am sure you can feel my pain.

Hormonal Mare is also about to go onto Mare Magic. She is very calm by nature, I just thing the Mare Magic will help her transition into the life of a show horse. She is sure to be nervous the first few shows and I hope this herbal stuff will ease some of her tension. I will update on how well it works once I start using it. Feel free to leave a comment if you have ever tried the stuff.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Does anyone else pass out after a ride?

Mind you, I live in Florida with 100 degree heat waves, but is it normal to feel like passing out after a ride? Answer to the question; NO. For those of us that are out of shape, it is imperative to stay hydrated and not over due our riding. My problem is that I have a temper. Said temper gets me into trouble sometimes. My adrenaline gets going and I ride WAY past my physical ability. Does anyone else do this? I hope that I am not alone.

The last time that I rode my big Hunter Under Saddle gelding (who is now sold), we engaged in a huge battle of wills. Said gelding did not want to MOVE and I, of course, wanted him to. By the end of the ride, I got off and could hardly breathe. I also felt like my vision was about to go black. It became very obvious that I had been too emotional and angered to pay attention to the signs of my body. I also should have stayed more hydrated considering the heat. Even for those of us who only ride for 30-45 minutes, I vote that we all start carrying water bottles on our saddles. If I had at least stopped to take a few swigs of water here and there, I might not have come so close to passing out after that ride.

It also dawned on me that I was in a dangerous state. If the said gelding had decided to spook or bolt, I would have been too weak to get out of the way. Luckily, said gelding is so lazy, he never would have considered doing ANYTHING that required energy.

I have started forcing myself to drink several glasses of water before I ride. Also, my rides have been closer to the end of the day when the sun and heat are down.

However, the moral to this story is to 1.) STAY HYDRATED and 2.) Do not ride past your physical abilities. PAY ATTENTION to your body while riding.

I lived another day

I rode Hormonal Mare for her first ride at her new place. First, we practiced NOT being terrified on plastic bags. Then, we ran around for a few minutes and crow hopped from the feel of the saddle. I want to add that the crow hops did not help my confidence level, but I crossed my fingers that this was not a cute trick that Hormonal Mare liked to pull under saddle. At this point, I climbed on board and forced myself to relax.

My trick is to go into a calm like trance when I ride. It is something I have been able to get fairly good at. In fact, it's almost like being in a "Zen" state. Of course, I have never been in a "Zen" state and this is just what I would imagine it would feel like. Hopefully, you readers out there (the few of you) will get my point. My belief is that as long as the rider remains calm, this transfers to the horse who, in return, also remains calm. It usually works with great success. Of course, I have had a few horses in the past that get a little crazy with me, but so long as I remained calm, they eventually settled down.

I also focus on keeping soft hands and a soft seat. It's hard to transfer calmness to the horse if you are gripping the reins like a life line and squeezing your rear end like their is no tomorrow in sight. This is why, I try to let my body go as limp as possible without losing my posture. It really helps, so try it the next time you ride (if you don't already do this).

Now back to Hormonal Mare. She was a tad forward at first. A bit more so than when I rode her at her previous owners house. However, she did settle down after a few minutes and went beautifully. One problem I noticed is that her previous trainer taught her to canter off as soon as she finished her pivot. We nipped this right in the bud and she caught on quickly. She also had not been asked for a headset in a while. When I test rode her, she started to buck up a bit when I tried to put contact on her face. This didn't bother me as she was in a tomb thumb, so I am sure it was pinching her mouth. However, I put a slow twist snaffle on her and she automatically started dropping her head. As you can imagine, I was pleased as a pig in a mud. Rolling in some mind right about then might have been nice, because it was hotter than you know where.

Hormonal Mare did a great job for me and she didn't spook once! I still don't trust her not to spook, but we will see how she rides the next time around.

Attack of the horse killing plastic bag!

Hormonal Mare has been doing very well, minus one annoying habit. She spooks at anything that moves. Normally, spooking is not something I worry about. However, I had the fear of God struck into my blessed little heart the day she arrived here. A plastic bag, that had escaped it's awaiting death in the trash can, blew into her pasture. Hormonal Mare, being hormonal and over emotional, jumped straight up in the air (higher than those Lipizzans), did a 180 WHILE in the air, and hauled butt as soon as she landed. My only reaction was my heart sinking into my feet. I will say that I am a good rider, but I am also smarter than your average bear and realize when I cannot handle something. Let's just say, if Hormonal Mare does THAT while I am on her back, I will soon be off her back and face down in a pile of poo.

Sooo, the next day started our journey down the yellow brick road of despooking. Our goal; Oz ... err, not spooking, I mean to say. I decided to use a horse killing white plastic back, courtesy of the local Wal-Mart. Seeing as how Hormonal Mare likes to run as fast as she can away from the said plastic bag, I wanted to show her that running doesn't help. I basically let her run around, and around, and around, and around, and around until 65 minutes later, she finally realized running wouldn't help. At this point, I was able to approach her. Even though she jumped every time the bag crinkled, I was able to rub her nose and face with some persuasion.

I ended on this good note. I am happy to say that Hormonal Mare is one smart cookie and learns her lessons quickly. What took me an hour and 10 minutes the previous session, the next day it only took 15 minutes. She did try to run, but that lasted 5 minutes and she remembered that "Hey, that doesn't work so well." Blessed be, there is a God and he must love me. By the 3rd session, she didn;'t run at all and I could rub it on her face, neck, and body. Her eyes still bugged out of her head and she twitched a lot, but no more running and flying in the air.

Over all, I am pleased with her progress. My next step is to introduce a blue horse swolowing tarp. HAHAHAHAHA

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My new project just arrived and I'm already exhausted

As you can see by the title of my Blog site, I am out of shape. I'm also about 30 lbs over weight, which doesn't help the issue. I get tired easily, especially with the heat and wouldn't you know it? I live in Florida!

I am a very smart person. Let me give you an example. I sold my 3 year old gelding because he is not fun to ride and I lost motivation to do so. Guess what I bought to replace him? Yup, another 3 year old. This ones comes with raging hormones because it's a mare. See the wise decision here?

I spent 6 hours on the road today to pick up the Hormonal Mare. Best of all, my AC died in my old truck. So, I spent 6 hours on the road in the blazing heat in the 90 degree Florida weather today. I am beyond tired and amazed that I have the motivation to type this.

I have to work Wednesday, but plan to get on Hormonal Mare on Thursday. I pray she does not get enjoyment out of ditching riders onto the ground. Please, everyone pray with me.