Monday, March 21, 2011

He's Getting Stronger, I'm Getting Weaker

What happens when a five year old warm blood and a fifty+ year old woman start back to work after a short lay off? The five year old gets stronger with every ride. The woman gets more sore, stiff and weak! How did I get so out of shape in two or three weeks? You lose muscle ridiculously fast at my age :(
The riding ring was in great shape today. When I arrived home from my meetings in Halifax Doug had the outdoor speakers on and music playing as he rode Savanah - they looked great and it looked very enticing. It was just before dark so I jumped on Rogo. Kaboom - he's just starting to feel and use his power. It's built with each of the rides since I got him home, this being the third. It's an incredibly fun ride, but as  I write this I realize that since it's quite different than he had been in the indoor, this would contribute to my fatigue too. There is just sooo much movement there. Trying to be soft and encouraging/supporting, while also helping hold it together, i.e. not getting strung out, is HARD WORK, physically and mentally. Our warm ups and routines were familiar, but now he needs much faster thinking on my part and I have to stay so focused. 
He isn't normally spooky, but tonight he took a giant spook (power gone bad) and galloped half the length of the arena before I got him stopped. I thought I'd come off, as the sideways jump took me completely by surprise and I lost my balance, but he didn't buck at all so luckily I stayed on. I rode him back to the scary place and it turned out to be one of our cats in the grass. This should be routine for him and normally it is, but I guess I have to cut him some slack as he gets used to being outside again and also feeling very good. We went right back to work and he was great. 
We've back slid in a few areas - the center line is crooked again, halts are crooked again, head is coming up again. But he's better in some key areas too - more forward, more responsive, lateral work coming, bending is good. Life is good.

16 comments:

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Good job riding out the spook! Careful what you wish for I guess... I admire you keeping up with your young, forward horse ;)

Used to think riding was an activity that contributed my fitness, but have come to find I need fitness activity to help with stamina while riding.

Now, to address mental fitness lol :)

Rising Rainbow said...

I've learned I have to do regular exercises to keep me in shape for riding. Just riding itself isn't enough anymore, I need resistance stuff to keep the muscle. They tell me it's age related. All I know is it sucks.

I hate those sideways leaps. Those are the ones that get me. Cats in the grass can be an interesting distraction. Sometimes they get them and sometimes their some kind of horse eater. I never know what to expect with that one.

Annette said...

That whole business of thinking one step ahead of your horse is hard - like you said, it takes a lot of focus and is exhausting.

Hurricanes12 said...

I agree too, I shouldn't be so unfit at 21 but I need to start playing touch rugby again to keep up with Oscar.

It must be something in the air, everyone's ponies seem to be spooking in England, America and New Zealand.

Carol said...

Thanks guys. I realized in the winter I needed increased fitness if I was going to keep up with Rogo, but the deep snow and lay off got me and I didn't exercise :( Your comments have reinforced the need for fitness - sigh - back at it.

Jeni said...

I commend you Carol! I'm 10 years younger and am more interested in more whoa then go at this point!

Cindy said...

Another learning experience...they can be eye opening at our age!! He really is a good boy..just enjoying life! Have fun!

Barbara said...

I think the only way you can stay fit for riding by riding is if you are riding 6-8 horses a day.
And those spring spooks! I spend the winter waiting for spring and then in the spring I sometimes think that a nice 100 degree day in July would take some of that fizz off. lol

Shannon said...

When I used to ride multiple horses every day plus did heavy barn work I was able to stay very fit, but once that stopped I found I needed a fitness regime to keep up. Riding is an intense workout, but it's also a very targeted one and doesn't lend itself to suppling our bodies. Quite the opposite in fact, I get much more stiff after riding! A workout plan is an absolute necessity for the adult amateur.

Good job riding that spook! Isn't spring fun? Don't worry, soon it will be summer and we'll all be complaining about how dead our horses are! ;)

Amy said...

Boo hoo to the working out :( Ok that is how I am feeling right now...lol. As I was riding yesterday I was thinking the same exact thoughts I NEED to work out! Like you said he is getting more fit and I am getting sore and tired. Bahumbug I don't like working out!

I was going to suggest one thing with the spooking/bolting thing. It is something I have been told to do but have not had the guts nor the mind to do it in the moment until yesterday. Steady is not a spooky horse so when he does occassionally spook will catch me off gaurd. He will jump to the side slightly then bolt forward normally. He throws his head in the air and thus becomes hard to get contact with his mouth to slow him down. So yesterday he did it and I finally had thought to do it and it worked wonderfully! It is like an oxymoron when he is bolting forward put on leg and more leg until he moves off of your leg and he ends up back on the bit. It served three purposes very effectively. 1. I didn't have a battle to get him to come back to me. 2.it gave me more control in my seat so I didn't feel like I was going to fall off while he was flinging his head and bolting forward. 3. It instantly pushed him into working until he was ready to listen and lo and behold it was the last time he tried it yesterday. I am no trainer so take it for what it is worth. I just thought I would mention it cause it worked so well for me yesterday.

Jan said...

Carol, I know what you mean about our fitness needing to stay on par with our horse, and sometimes we are just a wee bit behind! I have felt that too, when Buckshot gave me more responsiveness, and I could feel that riding him well was much more work on my part. So I started back with my evening exercises :(. LOL! I agree with you - sometimes riding demands a lot of us mentally and physically, and to stay in tune with our horse in more ways! It sounds like you had a good session. Don't worry about Rogo's spook. It can happen at the most unexpected times. Good work, both of you!! (Love the idea of speakers in the arena - lucky you and Doug!!)

Carol said...

Great feedback. Thanks everyone. Exercise increase is coming up.

Lori Skoog said...

3rd ride. Not so bad...This too, shall change. Hang in there.

Me, baby and horses said...

I know exactly what that spook is like my horse does that too if I don't have her enough in my hand and have her thinking she will just use any excuse to spook at the most stupid things...Sounds like you have a nice horse and are very excited about where you are going..I think i am about at the same stage as you are with my young 5 year old warmblood, I just love her...am looking forward to reading your future blogs..

achieve1dream said...

Whew! I'm glad he didn't buck and you stayed on. You'll get back in shape, just keep at it. :) I'm glad he's doing so well.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I understand completely. I'm a mess right now and need to get in some targeted exercise and lift some weights. When I was younger I rode a few horses a day, plus did a lot of barn chores and walking. No problem staying with a huge warmblood then.

I give you a lot of credit for staying on during that spook. A cat got me one time, we didn't ever jump sideways but turned and spun on a dime. By the time I hit the ground he was already on the other side of the ring. I guess we all took the easy way out this winter and now I'm paying for it.