Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Let's Get Physical

I had my lesson last night, in 28C heat. Our cut off is 30C. I was actually hoping that lesson would be cancelled, but no such luck. All I can say is thank goodness for waterproof mascara. I think what I hate the most about this hot humid weather, in addition to Brillo hair of course, is that my t-shirt sticks to my body....not one of my better looks. Damn you, weather!

After we had warmed up and done a little loping, LA decided it was time to have some fun and we did Keyhole. Two large rubber barrels were set up at the far end of the paddock and we each took turns. The object of the game is to go through the barrels without touching them, turn around, come back through the barrels and come on home. In Games, this is a timed event. We did the first couple of runs at a jog and worked our way up to a lope. Gem loved it! As a matter of fact, we set the pace by doing a very fast lope (hand gallop??) each time we were on our way home! It was great. The added bonus was that the wind in my face helped dry my melting eyeliner.

As we were cooling down, LA said that I rode well and that I was improving. Her homework for me was to work on my hands (sigh) and to work on mine and Gem’s stamina. Stamina?? WTH?? Hmmmm…. OK, so we both huff and puff after we have loped a little. And, yes, I do have to take “senior” breaks during lesson. Now that I think of it, Gem tries to take “senior” breaks, too. Gem’s age in human years is around 35. He shouldn’t be huffing and puffing like me! Good grief! I have turned my horse into me!!! Yikes!

How can I improve Gem’s stamina? After thinking about it, I realized that I have to improve mine first! I admit that I have never done any real exercise. OK, wait… I did go out to a lot of discos and dance clubs just about every weekend in the 70’s and 80’s. Olivia Newton John, with her song and very risque (at the time) video “Physical”, was a sort of inspiration for women to squeeze into leotards and join a gym, well before Flashdance became a hit. During this time period, I made a fashion statement at a local gym (in reality most gyms were just another place to strut your stuff and had bars conveniently located off the main lobby!) wearing my bright blue and red stripped leotard, with red tights and a blue head band. Quite fetching! :-) Did I break a sweat?...uh, no, not really. Didn't want to ruin the look! But dancing and going to a gym has got to count for something, right??

The first year I had Gem, I was intimidated and didn’t push him or me. However, I was using my elliptical 3 times a week. My good friends couldn't believe that I was EXERCISING. Starting into the second year with him, I had surgery in April and my recovery didn’t feel completely done until last December. I was advised not to use the elliptical for 2 months. It was a slippery slope. During that time period I got out of the habit of using the elliptical and I just never seemed motivated to pick it back up again.

Gem is certainly in better shape than when we first partnered up. He’s lost weight and he has built muscle. He’s actually rounding himself more when he lopes. He looks magnificent. The issue is that he’s plateaued because of MY lack of endurance.

Gem is now my motivator. I want him to be strong and healthy. That means that I will have to do some work, too. I am being realistic. If I can build up my core muscles enough to give me correct balance and improve my breathing, I will be happy. I am not asking for the moon. There’s really no excuse not to use the elliptical. I used to use it in the morning while the coffee was brewing and that routine worked out well. Using the elliptical will also give me quiet time to read my Book Club book (Little Bee), which I never seem to be able to find the time to finish! So, I will be dusting off the elliptical and getting up 15 minutes earlier and starting a regular routine tomorrow. Wish me luck! Now where is that leotard?.....

What was I thinking....?


19 comments:

  1. The Keyhole sounds like fun. I've got to do the same thing as you. Get myself in better shape so I can help Blue. He's quite chubby himself since he trashed his grazing muzzle.

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  2. It is indeed a slippery slope. Work and health issues are always a problem at my (our) age, and it's really difficult for me to be stubborn about making fitness a priority. I do so many things every day without fail--I show up on time, I get my work done, I take care of my family and my animals--but somehow that "taking care of myself" part always gets put last on the list for some reason!

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  3. Woo-hoo! Keyhole is fun. Of course trotting hills gets the horses in shape.
    I have back problems (at the old age of 22 lol) and I absolutely love the elliptical! I admire your drive!!

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  4. Ashley – Nice to hear from you. Thanks!!

    GHM – Keyhole is a lot of fun. The elliptical is dead easy and you can read or listen to music or watch TV while you are doing it. I didn’t get bored so I think it is the exercise routine for me.

    Fetlock – Very interesting observation!

    Mary – Appreciate your support.

    Minus Pride – Gem really likes keyhole, poles, cavellettis. Hey, now that you reminded me, my back felt better when I was using the elliptical regularly! Bonus!

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  5. Work it girl! You can still find legwarmers, you know. They might be some extra incentive ;)

    I had a lesson on Monday in 88F temps and high humidity. Had to quit early because my exercise-induced asthma started to kick in :( Fortunately now I've got a rescue inhaler to help me out with that but I still don't enjoy riding in those conditions.

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  6. Shannon - Legwarmers were very "in" back then!! :-) I hear ya about the temps. I find it hard to breathe and I don't have asthma! Stay cool!

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  7. I was always the skinny girl. Able to eat whatever I wanted, wore a size zero, all that. Then I got married and I don't know what the heck happened (I admit Husband is a great cook). I mean, I'm still not large by most standards, but when I realized that I didn't fit into any of my old show clothes anymore, and not only did I not fit a slim calf riding boot, but I didn't fit the regular calf either...I don't even fit the chaps I wore last year...ugh, I'm starting to panic!

    So tonight...I broke down. I started following along with an exercise show that I've been recording on tv. Let me tell you, I thought I was going DIE when I reached the end of one half hour show! But after...I drank a glass of water...just plain water! Am I turning over a new leaf...probably not lol. But maybe it's a start! I WILL fit into my chaps! And I will NOT huff and puff after saddling my horse! It WILL happen goshdarnit lol!

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  8. Story - It crept up on me too!!! I think it's marvelous that you didn't give up on your workout. You drank WATER??? Geez, it's coffee for me after the elliptical and draft beer after riding.....Houston, we have a problem?!! Good luck with your routine!! :-)

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  9. I felt like you, so I started riding a bike again. I'm way out of shape and often have to push up hills (embarassing), but I'm doing it for my horses...even though I'd rather be riding my horse, that's for sure!!! I'm not getting any younger and if I'm going to be able to keep hoisting up that saddle and riding with my herd, I HAVE to stay ahead of the aging curve.

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  10. Linda - Keep it up! Trying to build up stamina in your mid-fifties is a challenge. If I had known I was going to have a horse in my life in my later years, I would have started exercising in my 40's! :-)

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  11. Now I'm humming 'Physical' -- thanks Wolfie *lol*

    Keyhole sounds fun! And way to go, you, for getting back in the exercise-routine. Must admit, it doesn't take much for me to stop exercising ... that's assuming I start in the first place! But, must make the effort if I want to keep riding as the place I go for my lessons is the only one that caters for my weight *eek*
    Joy xx

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  12. I just finished day four of my exercise routine. My abs have gone into full rebellion and it now hurts to laugh. But that means its working right?

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  13. Joy - I can come up with just about any excuse not to exercise....like, the sun is shining... :-) But, Gem is my motivator this time so I am hoping I can keep it up.

    Story - If it really hurts, I believe it's working!! My thighs and abs started to protest over the weekend, so much so that it hurts getting up out of a chair!!! Whaa!

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  14. Hey there from NZ. I've just found your blog and have enjoyed reading through a few posts. I really liked the idea of learning to drive a horse. It is what I'd love to do with my two!

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  15. Hi Sally! My sister has been all over the world and New Zealand is one of her favourite countries. I am going to continue taking some driving lessons and see where it takes me. :-) Your horses are beautiful! Thanks for stopping by.

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  16. I'm focusing our workouts to bringing Socks back into shape. She's had time off since Artemis was born and starts huffing and puffing early in our rides. I bought this book, and although I haven't tried them out yet, I've been reading through it and I can't wait to try some of the exercises with her.

    http://www.amazon.com/Equine-Fitness-Program-Exercises-Routines/dp/1603424636/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1312160137&sr=8-2

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  17. Thanks for the book suggestion, Cjay! I will check it out.

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