Pre-Season Fitness: You Gotta Start Somewhere

Tromping around the pasture trying to find lost shoes = a great way to get your steps in. Photo by Laura Harris.

Pre-season is starting. You don’t have an indoor. Outside riding area is being used as an ice-skating rink or for swimming lessons depending on the temperature. The trails have claimed Artax. You haven’t been in the saddle since … you’d prefer not to share when. That clinic/schooling show/lesson is coming up. How do you get in shape?

Stretch: Dig riding clothes out of back of laundry room and pull boots out from under the bed. REACH into the back corner!

Aerobics: That dance you do trying to get the breeches past your thighs. Like Zumba but with less cohesion.

Controlled Breathing: Hold your breath. Contort to fit the clothes that OBVIOUSLY shrank in the wash.

Dexterity Bonus: Flipping back and forth between sites of your bank account and a pair of new “unshrunk” breeches.

Warm-Up: Layering up to go outside and stay outside then realizing you look like Ralphie’s little brother.

Squats: Rearranging all your totes and gear in the trailer and the barn to re-sort what you need.

Steps: Get your steps in as you go back and forth between the house/truck/barn/trailer 5,000x as you forget and remember all the things you need to *gasp* ride!

Weighted Steps: Stomp out in the mud to feed the horses in the far field. Each. Step. You. Might. Lose. Your. Boot. Squish.

Cardio: Chasing after your horse trying to catch him. He knows what that halter means! He was stealthily hiding behind the half demolished round bale as soon as he heard the diesel roar up.

Resistance Work: Getting out in the wind and doing anything.

Calisthenics: Dodging your horse’s teeth whilst still trying to knock the mud off.

Stamina: Knock the cobwebs off the saddle and wipe off the mold! That leather needs to be cleaned, hydrated, supple, and most importantly, a non-embarrassment!

Stairmaster: Up and down the mounting block as you talk yourself in and out of riding 10k times.

Longing: Who’s longing who here?

Lifting: Pour a glass of wine, lift it to your lips. Repeat.