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Rider Fitness, And "Stickability"

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  • #81
    Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
    Whenever people have the weight and riding argument someone always brings up Becky. Look, she's a bigger rider and she's been around Rolex. I must be fine. Etc.

    However, Becky has spoken several times about the huge difference in her ability to ride well that was made after she lost some weight. I think that anyone who rides around Rolex is not only fitter but much more talented then I will ever be and if one of them commented on losing weight making them ride better it must be at least a bit true so it's not fair for someone to use them as an example of why they don't become fitter.
    Agreed.

    Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
    I don't think anybody is using them as an excuse not to get fitter. I think we all understand and agree that fitness makes your riding better. I think the discussion arises when people might conflate fitness with being skinny.

    Paula
    No, skinny people are not always fit, especially if they smoke. (Seen plenty of skinny chain-smoking horsemen, especially back in the 70's and 80's. Not impressed.) But if you're thin you can generally go further and faster with less effort because there's less mass to balance and lug around with you.

    For some reason skinny seems to often be equated with weak on these forums. There are actually thin people -- skinny even -- who are surprisingly strong.

    Comment


    • #82
      Originally posted by Lori B View Post
      This! We aren't talking about aesthetics in this thread, we are talking about what combination of fitness and weight are necessary / sufficient to successfully ride this sport, at different levels. Not whether riders conform to some punitive and absurd 'look' in their breeches.
      Nope. George is talking about the exact same thing we are; ability to help the horse to get the job done. He's concerned with up to 18 explosive jumping efforts, against the clock, over 3-4 minutes over heights between 4'6" to 6" with enormous spreads. Rider fitness goes without saying, and "spreads" in the saddle are obviously an impediment to competitive success. Why H/J folks get all insulted about it is beyond me. George gives 'em hell in the Big Eq about it because they are historically the "farm team" for the (Grand Prix) big-time. He's on very solid ground, but the fluffy-bunnies don't want to hear it--just like most of the REST of America!

      Comment


      • #83
        To the OP, maybe have a goal-setting conversation with the rider and be honest about what goals are realistic with her current fitness level. Part of this conversation should include whether or not her current horse is up for the task of carrying her weight for whatever goals she has.

        My riding instructor had a conversation like this with me when I was 13, and it's stuck with me my whole life (I'm 37 this year). To date, I have chosen to adjust my riding goals to my fitness level, rather than adjust my fitness to my riding goals. I have to be honest with myself that easy trail riding and walk/trot classes at local shows are all I'm going to do unless I make a change. I also have to choose horses that can comfortably carry a heavier rider. I ride a Norwegian Fjord and lend my 26 year old Trakehner to lighter riders.

        I grew up in the "low/no fat, little meat/dairy, grains are the base of your diet" world of the USDA food pyramid. I have been fat since I was 5 years old, and remember being on the Pritikin diet (which is basically all carbs) when I was 8. I just got Taube's "Why We Get Fat" book, and I am hopeful reading it will inspire me to permanently change my lifestyle and eating habits.

        Good luck with your student.

        Comment


        • #84
          Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
          Nope. George is talking about the exact same thing we are; ability to help the horse to get the job done. He's concerned with up to 18 explosive jumping efforts, against the clock, over 3-4 minutes over heights between 4'6" to 6" with enormous spreads. Rider fitness goes without saying, and "spreads" in the saddle are obviously an impediment to competitive success. Why H/J folks get all insulted about it is beyond me. George gives 'em hell in the Big Eq about it because they are historically the "farm team" for the (Grand Prix) big-time. He's on very solid ground, but the fluffy-bunnies don't want to hear it--just like most of the REST of America!
          But many of the riders he slams are NOT riding at that level and have no plans to do so.

          I think "what your goals are" is very important here. I'm perfectly happy staying in dressage-smurf land. I'm your typical adult-ammy re-rider with a desk job and not a lot of time. I also have a history of eating disorders, and the best way to make me batsh*t crazy is to start throwing a bunch of food restrictions at me. I do NOT lose weight when I diet; I become miserable and crazy, and binge and gain weight. So my goal is a stable weight of 140-145 pounds at 5'2" and many of you would think that's awful. I occasionally dip below that, and don't worry about it. Occasionally I go above, and just am a bit more mindful of what I eat.

          I'm working with some other physical limitations, too. I can't run and really never have been able to. Have some weird asymmetry and muscle problems. So I deal with what I have.

          BTW -- riders coming off X/C gasping for breath may have asthma, so don't write them off as unfit. I've been the person planted at the finish line with a rider's inhaler and prepared to hold her horse until her meds kicked in.

          And Becky is one of my heroines!
          You have to have experiences to gain experience.

          1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

          Comment


          • #85
            Originally posted by quietann View Post
            But many of the riders he slams are NOT riding at that level and have no plans to do so.

            I think "what your goals are" is very important here. I'm perfectly happy staying in dressage-smurf land. I'm your typical adult-ammy re-rider with a desk job and not a lot of time. I also have a history of eating disorders, and the best way to make me batsh*t crazy is to start throwing a bunch of food restrictions at me. I do NOT lose weight when I diet; I become miserable and crazy, and binge and gain weight. So my goal is a stable weight of 140-145 pounds at 5'2" and many of you would think that's awful. I occasionally dip below that, and don't worry about it. Occasionally I go above, and just am a bit more mindful of what I eat.

            I'm working with some other physical limitations, too. I can't run and really never have been able to. Have some weird asymmetry and muscle problems. So I deal with what I have.

            BTW -- riders coming off X/C gasping for breath may have asthma, so don't write them off as unfit. I've been the person planted at the finish line with a rider's inhaler and prepared to hold her horse until her meds kicked in.

            And Becky is one of my heroines!
            Last I heard, QA, you weren't training with George Morris!

            This thread isn't about middle-aged adult ammie recreational riders. It's about the "best of the best" going XC at Rolex; some of whom demonstrably need to be doing more pushups and fewer bagels.

            Comment


            • #86
              Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
              Last I heard, QA, you weren't training with George Morris!

              This thread isn't about middle-aged adult ammie recreational riders. It's about the "best of the best" going XC at Rolex; some of whom demonstrably need to be doing more pushups and fewer bagels.
              Well, yes. My point exactly, as the thread was started by someone who senses that her student's goals are bumping up against fitness issues. Some of us have no desire whatsoever to ride with GM

              But George Morris throws his wrath at *every* fat (by his standards) rider, though a couple of threads on the H/J forum suggest that he's moderated his response over the years, especially WRT ammy riders who aren't likely to jump really high fences anyway. In fact if I recall correctly, in one of his recent photo critiques, he said *nothing* about a particular larger rider's size and in fact praised her postion

              As for eventing... and Rolex, which I really didn't get to watch as I was dealing with elderly father sadness... other than Becky Holder and Buck Davidson, who else at Rolex would be criticized for their weight?
              You have to have experiences to gain experience.

              1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #87
                Originally posted by quietann View Post
                Well, yes. My point exactly, as the thread was started by someone who senses that her student's goals are bumping up against fitness issues. Some of us have no desire whatsoever to ride with GM

                But George Morris throws his wrath at *every* fat (by his standards) rider, though a couple of threads on the H/J forum suggest that he's moderated his response over the years, especially WRT ammy riders who aren't likely to jump really high fences anyway. In fact if I recall correctly, in one of his recent photo critiques, he said *nothing* about a particular larger rider's size and in fact praised her postion

                As for eventing... and Rolex, which I really didn't get to watch as I was dealing with elderly father sadness... other than Becky Holder and Buck Davidson, who else at Rolex would be criticized for their weight?
                Yes my thread was two fold. Lots of interesting replies. Tomorrow I get to finally meet with my student to see where we stand and get a plan going.
                I will for sure report back. Thanks for all your great replies.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #88
                  Well..

                  And just like that , it is over. She has decided that she no longer wants to do anything but the occasional trail ride, No more showing, no more lessons. I have seen this coming for 2 years, but she had to be the one to suggest it. IT is okay, I can ride if I want, and we are still good friends. I have always known she did not want to put the work in the last few years, but she had always said she loves lessons. So No need to bring up the weight issue, its just over. I am kind of sad, because that has now officially put me out of horses. well for now.
                  Thanks you guys, still think it was a constructive thread.

                  Comment


                  • #89
                    Sannois, that is really too bad. However, if being an occasional trail rider makes her happy, it's her choice. (She may find, however, that after a while she really wants lessons again. Ask me how I know this )

                    So this means you don't have a horse to ride, now?

                    I think this thread could have turned ugly, but maybe we're all acting like grown-ups for a change?
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                    Comment


                    • #90
                      BTW... I should have said why Becky is one of my heroines. It's because she's very forthright about her weight and how it affects her riding, without throwing herself a pity party when she's heavier, or acting like she's Miss Thang when she's lighter. She groks that "just lose some weight" is a pretty ridiculous thing to say, and that hey, BTW, almost all overweight people KNOW that they are overweight.
                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #91
                        Originally posted by quietann View Post
                        Sannois, that is really too bad. However, if being an occasional trail rider makes her happy, it's her choice. (She may find, however, that after a while she really wants lessons again. Ask me how I know this )

                        So this means you don't have a horse to ride, now?

                        I think this thread could have turned ugly, but maybe we're all acting like grown-ups for a change?
                        I agree, This decision needed to be made for the last year, I was waiting for her to make it.
                        I have full use of her two horses whenever I feel the need to go for a nice hack. One even jumps a bit so I can still get my equine therapy as needed!
                        BTW I adore Becky, No disrespect was meant, I can relate to the fight to be fit, Since I turned forty, it has been a constant fight, And As long as I stay vigilant! LOL

                        Comment


                        • #92
                          It ain't easy . . .

                          Everyone approaching mid-forties, BE IT KNOWN that weight and fitness are a WHOLE OTHER BALL GAME once the hormonal fluctuations set in--which can be anywhere the high side of 39!

                          DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE and attain the weight you want to be BEFORE you hit the menopausal transition--because I am here to tell you that at that point your body will take on the most intransitive homeostasis you never wanted to see!

                          Thank the Gods I lost the 25 lbs. I wanted to about 7 years ago, because even low-carbing I don't think I could EVER get it off now; and I feel like I've shed that last 5 (and gained it back) like 11 times now.

                          Once you're in your 50's, all that extreme cardio is also either not possible because you're too lame to do it, or it just doesn't work. Consider menopause the day you give up bread and sugar for GOOD. It sucks but it's the only way. REFUSE to be "the fat chick on a horse!"

                          Comment


                          • #93
                            How about; love yourself no matter your size, ride your horse and be happy?

                            Paula
                            He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                            Comment


                            • #94
                              I've been lurking through this thread and want to comment now. I'm so impressed by the thoughtful commentary here. thank you.

                              I've recently begun a huge effort to get fitter and healthier in order to ride well. At 56, I've been through all the hormonal changes that led to a struggle with weight and fitness and I've somehow managed to keep going. Now I have a personal trainer and I'm cross training in addition to riding 2-4 horses in the evenings after work. I couldn't do this if I had any sort of life outside of horses and work!

                              So I've got a CCI* in less than 3 weeks and that dressage coat is still a bit too snug. Ugh....

                              The hardest part of doing this is getting and staying fit. Oh to be 25 again.... I'm so envious of the energy and fitness of my competitors....

                              AB

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                              • Original Poster

                                #95
                                Originally posted by ahbaumgardner View Post
                                I've been lurking through this thread and want to comment now. I'm so impressed by the thoughtful commentary here. thank you.

                                I've recently begun a huge effort to get fitter and healthier in order to ride well. At 56, I've been through all the hormonal changes that led to a struggle with weight and fitness and I've somehow managed to keep going. Now I have a personal trainer and I'm cross training in addition to riding 2-4 horses in the evenings after work. I couldn't do this if I had any sort of life outside of horses and work!

                                So I've got a CCI* in less than 3 weeks and that dressage coat is still a bit too snug. Ugh....

                                The hardest part of doing this is getting and staying fit. Oh to be 25 again.... I'm so envious of the energy and fitness of my competitors....

                                AB
                                FANTASTIC AB!!! You go! First one star! So cool. 3 weeks and your personal trainer, and eat clean, the coat will fit just right! Rooting for you. You will have to let us know how it goes, I can live vicariously through you!

                                Comment


                                • #96
                                  The coat may fight you, but you have more important fish to fry. If you are fit enough to ride a one star, just get the damn thing altered and kick on. :-)
                                  I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                                  I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #97
                                    Originally posted by Lori B View Post
                                    The coat may fight you, but you have more important fish to fry. If you are fit enough to ride a one star, just get the damn thing altered and kick on. :-)
                                    Yes!!! This!!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #98
                                      Originally posted by Lori B View Post
                                      The coat may fight you, but you have more important fish to fry. If you are fit enough to ride a one star, just get the damn thing altered and kick on. :-)
                                      Love this!

                                      So far... with hormonal changes, at 49, I actually haven't gained any weight, but I am squishier, especially around the middle
                                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #99
                                        Originally posted by quietann View Post
                                        Love this!

                                        So far... with hormonal changes, at 49, I actually haven't gained any weight, but I am squishier, especially around the middle
                                        I haTE squishier. No matter how many weights I lift, or how many sit ups I do. Well 55 year old skin just ain't the same. Ahh well, Beats the alternative right??

                                        Comment


                                        • I have two personal anecdotes on how one can be "thin" and "fit" in the conventional sense, but still not be as "fit for riding" as they could be.
                                          most would consider me "thin"- I am 5'8" and weigh about 128. I am also a life-long runner, and am reasonably fast- I ran a 3:30 marathon last year. Have done two half-Ironmans. So, thin and fit, right? I could easily ride around Rolex, maybe even twice (er, if I were good enough that is ! )

                                          Not so much.

                                          Ex 1: Aabout 5 years ago I took a pilates class with my (non-horsey) friend. I must admit I was really blase about it when I looked around the gym at the "fluffier" folks who were in the class. Shame on me. In less than 5 minutes I was gasping on my mat and couldn't hold any of the poses for more than 15 or 20 seconds while the "fluffier" folks were rock solid. My core strength was non-existant. Big wake-up call for me, and I started working on it that day. Guess what? As my core strength improved, so did my riding- balance, stickability, everything. I just really wish I had discovered that years ago (and no instructor had ever told me that- it was simple lucky circumstances).

                                          Ex 2: Fast forward a few years from the first pilates class. So now I'm thin, fit, and my core is way better. Rolex-fit for sure! Then I went fox-hunting for the first time. Two solid hours of the most intense, thrilling, demanding riding I'd ever done. the next day I was SO SORE. And stayed sore for a few days. Clearly I could be thin and fit, but to be riding fit for that kind of pace and terrain and duration was a whole different level.

                                          I think that if there were riders who finished Rolex out of gas, then they need to figure out how to improve their RIDING fitness, not necessarily just their overall fitness/ weight. I'm sure I could probably run a half-marathon faster than many of the Rolex riders, but they sure as hell can ride circles around me. Two very different types of being "fit".
                                          ~Living the life I imagined~

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