Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lesson #63: It's What You Do In your Off Time

The objective is to make it look effortless.

This goes for so many things, especially when there is an element of performance involved. Typically, I've found that many competitive athletic activities require the athlete's expression to embody the immense amount of effort that they are putting into their actions. This isn't the case with certain other performance derived activities. Two come to mind: dance and horse back riding. Just look at your prima ballerina spinning on her toes and leaping into the air in a sudden burst of energy. It's like watching hunter-jumpers sail over 4ft+ jumps and dressage riders 'dance' with their horses in the ring. In all cases, these fine athletes make it look like there is absolutely no effort exerted to accomplish those moves. "That's easy", is what I hear some people comment when they see these performances. Or, they don't make any specific comment at all. But, anyone who has done a form of dance or learned to ride will know that many of these feats are not innate for the doer and often take hours of repetitive practice of the same move(s) and many additional hours to condition those muscles to be able to work up to accomplishing those moves.

Today, I realize I am not doing enough to look effortless. Aside from seriously lacking sleep, I don't have anything else that really compliments the lessons I take once a week. This has become more evident since I realize progress is only going to progress at the rate I put effort into it. I stopped yoga and changed stables as well as only ride once a week and no longer have biweekly lessons too. My hands are all over the place and my balance for the 2 point is not where it should be when I'm going over low jumps. We did some patterns today with trot poles, an x-jump, canter, trot and 2point. All this was incorporated into a single round with 3 horses and riders moving through it sequentially. When I couldn't get Ariel to canter, I fell behind the rhythm. When I caught her in the mouth at the jump, I lost focus and similarly, couldn't catch up.

Like Sheri's said about riding... that it's about saddle time and actually riding. At this time, it's not something I can add to my schedule/life so I"ll have to find other ways to physically condition myself so I am better prepared for my lessons. Time to bring back yoga to loosen stuff and strengthen core--all things that deteriorate from 8+ hours at a computer. I'll need to get on that bike trainer to increase my cardio fitness too. I'll add a daily walk during the work week to keep me limber and arresting my developing Mr. Monty Burns posture

Mr. Burns "corrected" Bart's posture to emulate his, with forming clothes...

My schedule is going to incorporate a daily minimum 30-45 minute exercise of some sort and who knows, maybe I'll lose a couple inches and enhance my girly figure!

Posting Diagonal Jar Tally: 2 x $2.00 = $4.00
To date: $29.00


  1. So funny, but I was just going to post something on this topic!! A few months ago I was exactly in the same boat and realized I needed to get serious about my fitness if I was ever going to become a better rider. Sitting for 8+ hours a day X 5, then riding 2 hours a week just does not cut it! Since then I have been doing yoga once or twice a week, abs once or twice a week, and running 2-3 times a week. (I just finished a walk-to-run 5K program and just started a walk-to-run 10K -- I found a great, cheap App for both.) After about three months, my instructor has said I am sitting much more evenly in the saddle and my left leg position is a lot better. I am also finding sitting trot coming along easier, which I suspect is due to the increased ab and back strength, and my cardio is much improved. So, for the first time in a while I am excited about physical fitness because I think it can't help but improve our riding. :-)

    1. this is very encouraging to hear. and i totally remember that post! i actually thought about what you said previously about your fitness levels. that said, i've resolved to insert as much physical activity as i can. even if that's walking around to get my errands done. i'm also going to insert yoga back in because i found my alignment, strength and flexibility was in check when i was doing it. i hate running and don't have good enough knees to do it so i'm going to walk during the work week and cycle 1-2x/wk on the trainer (now that the winter is here). no more pear shaped!

  2. lol Mr. burns hump. Time to combat that hump! I'm sure it will help with the riding as better muscle control will allow you to just do more things with less effort. I will try to follow suit!

    1. get fitter and less pear shaped, get better at riding! win win.