A week ago Saturday, Nancy returned from Florida to destroy Guinness and I in our first lesson of 2014. (A wrap up of that is on it's way, once I get the video clips edited. For now, I'm in complete show-prep mode and the lesson video hasn't left my television.) While the ride was good, she was tough on both Guinness and I, really trying to iron out some issues that are getting to be a big problem.
At the end of the ride she turned to me asking, "So are you still happy I'm back from Florida?"
"Oh hell yes I am," I said. "I'm just happy I spent the whole winter you were gone busting my ass at the gym!"
|So happy I put the time in here...|
Then I got up the next morning... with sore abs.
Damn. Dressage is a workout and a half.
Now, part of the reason I'm so sore from a lesson is because of my picky horse. He's a legitimate hard ride, and very demanding of me. Teaching him dressage has never been easy, and as I am at the point of asking him for more work he is demanding even more from me. The other part of the reason I was sore is because I was asking for more flexion from my body than I normally do, and I just didn't have the strength developed to hold that flexibility. As such, it's back to the drawing board for me.
For those of you who don't personally know me, I take a lot of pride in my fitness work and truly do enjoy it. I know it's not a lifestyle for everyone, but it really works well for me. Right now I try to get to the gym 2-3 times weekly for strength training and run between 13-16 miles weekly at an average pace of 9 minute miles.
|A good running buddy is essential!|
Evenings I don't ride I have a lot more time. Often on those days I'll do a long run after work, then spend the evening with friends or catching up around the house. I take one total rest day during the week, where I do not go to the gym or run at all. Sometimes I'll even take those days on a non-riding day and just lounge around the house like a giant lazy cat. It's weird, but I don't often enjoy those lazy days. I tend to feel restless.
I'm not the only one on a fitness schedule. Guinness' routine is also set up for regular workouts. He and I do 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours of solid dressage schooling 4 days a week. We take frequent walk breaks, but the work is hard. One day a week (typically a Sunday) we will do a conditioning ride. These vary between field gallops, long slow distance work, and hills. He's also out in a pasture with fairly hilly terrain 24/7, which makes a huge difference in his fitness.
|Tired Thoroughbred has the tired. This was after a long dressage school last week. We were both dying.|
What about you guys? Do you think about your fitness as it relates to your riding? Have you ever made changes to increase your flexibility and strength in your riding? Did it work?