6 Weeks From Fat and Lazy To Fat and Fit (or at least more fit)

So as you all know I have no issue with being a FAT rider. What I do have a problem with is being an UNFIT rider. There are plenty of people, both skinny and fat, who are not in good shape. You see them going around the warm up ring hardly able to breath, asking for breaks in a lesson, or only riding for 30 minutes before they get too tired. And I am sad to say that I now feel like one of those people. I don’t think either Phoenix or myself could go for an hour at this point. I can give you a whole list of excuses such as not having my saddle so I couldn’t ride, it being too cold to work out outside, there being so much snow on the ground, I have been busy, etc. None of those are good enough though. I have 6 weeks until what I hope is the first show of the year for Phoenix and I, and I HAVE to get back into shape.

At one of my first shows ever (back in 2003) when I was still riding Heart a judge made a comment at the end of my ride about my weight and fitness level. Were I in better shape I would never have opened myself up to that comment. As I stood there with Heart listening to this woman who was thin as a rail telling me that I would have done better if I were (insert thinner, fitter, taller, etc) I promised myself that I would never open myself up to that kind of criticism ever again. Not only that but I ride better when I am in better shape. I have ridden when I was a lot heavier and a lot lighter than I am now and I have no felt a big difference when it comes to weight. Fitness on the other hand I have noticed is a dramatic difference. When I am stronger I make corrections faster. When I have better cardio I can work though a whole issue without needing to take a break.

To start off our 6 week boot camp Phoenix and I went back to ground work. Even with plenty of snow still on the ground (which will be washed away today by a big rain strom), the 40 degree day time temperatures are helping to melt the ice and snow making it safe to do at least a little work. After lunging Phoenix at the walk and trot (he is still much more exuberant then I am used to so I am hoping work will remind him he needs some self control) he and I go for a walk together. You would be amazed at the cardio work out that you can get walking through snow! Everyday Phoenix and I have been going a little longer and a little harder. Between Phoenix working out alone on the lung, me working out alone at home, and the two of us starting to work out together I have hope that in 6 weeks we will be show fit again!

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9 thoughts on “6 Weeks From Fat and Lazy To Fat and Fit (or at least more fit)

  1. http://tailsofagradstudent.blogspot.com/2010/01/fat-girl-can-do-it-too-or-can-she.html

    6 full weeks ago, I came to a similar realization. I don’t care that I am a big girl, i DO care that I am not the athlete I should be to do justice to such a wonderful horse (I linked to the post I did about 6 weeks ago about famous eventer Becky Holder and her similar realization). Today marks the beginning of my 7th week in my quest for athleticism. I am no thinner, but I am significantly stronger and more empowered. BEST of luck to you, and I will be following along. We can all use support in this quest, although our horses should be all the inspiration we ever needed 🙂

  2. Good for you! I love seeing heavy riders kick butt in the show ring, but you know better than anyone else when your fitness needs tweaking. I’m glad someone already linked to the Becky Holder article – it’s really inspirational.

  3. There’s no question that being a fit rider in shape is a must if we want to have the endurance and flexibility it requires to ride effectively. I’ve started trying to lose some extra weight and get in shape too. Good luck to all of us and our ponies!

  4. word.

    Tho, to a certain extent, excess weight DOES hamper some riding ability, especially if the weight is around the thighs – it can limit your ability to open your hip angle and get a good seat.

    Then again, heavier = more inertia = less bouncing at the trot. So its a catch 22.

    I think you’re right tho – first goal should always be fitness.

    And some dressage gurus (even the big names) think that you need to be slim to ride. You see that even more in the hunter (not jumper) world – there is an image that the judges like to see, and a generously endowed woman, regardless of hips, is often penalized.

    That’s why I think Isabel Werth is awesome – girl is not rail thin (coughankycough), has natural curves, and is amazing.

    I’m with you tho – right there with you. And my trainer just knocked down the idea of showing 2nd level in 4 weeks. Said there was no way we could get fit enough. I’m half tempted to prove her wrong…….
    🙂

  5. Best of luck to you!

    I am not fit either, but I have three lumbar vertebra fused to my sacrum, a spinal cord injury and a tendon gone from my ankle. I’ll never compete in ridden dressage again, but I still get on my horse.

    I would take on 40 pounds if it came with a spine that bends!

  6. cara i’m sad for you 😦 I have a severed achilles and fractured tibia I am slowly recovery from , but at least I get to compete again…You seem pretty ok with it now though. I never could be.
    anyways, I agree with mizscarlett on the weight thing when it comes to flexibility and “stick”ability, but good for you in your decision! Too many riders do not make the realization you did and their horses suffer!
    Good luck!
    🙂

  7. I am right there with you — I can deal with being heavy, though I’d prefer to be slimmer. What I can’t deal with is being out of shape. I’ve hit my pain point on the out-of-shape-ness, too, so I’ve started the Rider’s Fitness Handbook (?) workouts. This is the first week, so we’ll see how it goes. Rev is getting fitter, so I need to get fitter along with her.

    Keep up with it, and keep us updated — I’ll do the same! 🙂

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