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April 8, 2020: Exercise Compartmentalization

These are very tough times for most people. I don’t envy my sister who right now lives in Portland, Oregon. I never envied here living there – I always thought that being a city, it would not be a good place to be if there was an environmental or health-related crisis. I was right. I’m not happy about the fact that I’m right. I wish she lived here. She is not even supposed to go out for hikes. And it’s only going to get worse because Portland gets very hot in the summer. El says she has air conditioning, but she’d still be confined, heat-wise.

I foresaw when this virus crisis occurred that my life would either take a downward or an upward spiral. I had a choice. I

Hrimmi does TTouch Agility
Hrimmi does TTouch Agility

could be inactive. Or I could be active. I chose the latter. It was actually a tough choice because it would require me to rise to the occasion. This would require energy I didn’t know I had.

The horses prompted me to make the all-encompassing decision, which was to resume exercising. Getting out and being with them was the catalyst. They’re dependent upon me for their health and wellbeing. Like it or not, I have a moral obligation to be tend to them and remain in good spirits when in their presence. Irritable, grumpy, and/or preoccupied owners confuse their animals.

And so, a week ago, I began what is now a full-blown exercise program, with the intention this summer, of doing a lengthy bicycle/horseback ride/run, sea kayak trip. In the past ten years I’ve taken Pilates, yoga, strength training, and body awareness classes. This is the catch – all my teachers were the absolute best around. They knew their exercise-related disciplines inside and out and were adept at making sure that I did things correctly. And I was an excellent student. They also shared another, not so admirable trait, which is that they all believed that fitness was dependent on adhering to the dictates of their particular sport-related discipline. And in working with each, I took to heart what they said.

The past few days have been revelatory in that I have come to realize something very important, fitness wise. This is that most of my fitness gurus have all missed the boat. The best way to become fit, and stay fit, is to embrace all of these, ahem, modalities. I came to this conclusion in short order – I have resumed running, doing body awareness work, and strength training. And I have remained uninjured.

I’ve also resumed doing the same with the horses. I run with them. We do agility and mat work. And I’m soon to add weight to the mat work equation.

Today I gave some thought to coming up with a three-part program and work with returning riders on the above, then dismissed it. The problem is that like my teachers, most equestrians compartmentalize. And furthermore, I have noticed that those I’ve talked with about it, can’t seem to grasp the premise behind body awareness work, which is that less is better. They believe that they must exert themselves physically and mentally in order to do any good. The opposite is so. They also cannot comprehend that exploration and play are involved in this process.

Most quit working with their horses come winter, or work minimally with them, then ask them to pick up where they left off. I’ve seen this happen time and time again. Then they later wonder why their horses develop physical and mental problems.

And, oh, making the horse/human body awareness connection is, for most, a near-impossibility.

I have accepted the fact that while I’m forging new ground, that I’m going at it alone. I’m on the upward spiral and so are my horses. For this, I am truly grateful.

Next: 99. 4/9/20: Thelma and Louse Watch the Days go By

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