Health & fitness goals

Tracy at Fly On Over has started a monthly equestrian fitness blog hop, and I couldn’t be happier to participate.

Several years ago, I was a somewhat thinner person.

In 2006, at an equestrian team competition in the first
(and last) Tailored Sportsmans I’ll ever own!

In the present, I am a somewhat overweight person.

In November 2014.
I’ve written about working on my fitness previously. The process is ongoing. In the past, I have had serious trouble dedicating myself to a good diet and regular exercise. I enjoy cooking and I like eating healthy foods like vegetables and lean meat. I also enjoy the convenience of picking up Chinese food after a long day. I don’t not enjoy exercising, but it’s not my favorite when it’s really cold, really hot, really windy, or really early in the morning. 
However, I’ve taken a hard look at myself, and set some goals this year to become a fitter person. 
  • Eat a clean diet, even when eating out. I’m nearing the end of my second Whole 30. I don’t mind doing it- after all, I like cooking, and it isn’t a big change from how I normally eat. After last March’s Whole 30, I totally backslid and resumed eating Whataburger like it was no big deal. It doesn’t help that Johnny and I hideously enable each other- if one of us says, “I feel like the taco 12 pack and quesadillas!”, the other is very likely to say, “SOUNDS AWESOME DO IT DO IT DO IT GO!” (We are supportive like that.) Anyway, the biggest thing Whole 30 does for us is limit how often we eat out. As we transition back to “normal” eating, I really want to continue limiting how often we eat out. I’d also like to continue to be mindful of what I’m eating when we’re out to dinner. (Honestly, does ANYONE have self control around the onion rings?)
  • Exercise daily. The Athletic Rider Fit Club Facebook group has helped me with this tremendously. Every day, exercises are posted. They don’t take long, and should be supplemented by other exercise, but sometimes they’re all I do. It keeps me doing some kind of purposeful movement every day, which is great.
  • Jog every other day. This has been going really well. I’m in week 3 of Couch to 5K and feeling good. I’ve completed the program before, only to totally stop jogging because I don’t really like it. This year, I want to continue to jog every other day. It’s easy, it’s free, and it doesn’t take an obscene amount of time. And I always sort of begrudgingly enjoy it after a few weeks.
  • Yoga weekly. I discussed in last week’s Friday Five that I’ve been watching the Yoga With Adriene Youtube channel, which has been great. I love how yoga makes me feel- I love feeling strong and focused. I find that the more I do it, the more it helps with my riding.
Now, I hope I’ll eventually lose the extra weight, and I think that if I stick to these goals, it’ll happen. But weight isn’t my primary concern- it’s an added bonus (and one that I’m sure will come if I put in the work). And come on- I know we’re all hoping to look as good as possible in breeches this year!

Wedding Wednesday: Changing your name

Wedding planning is…going. I’ve sent half a dozen emails to half a dozen different people regarding the wedding. I’ve acquired addresses of friends and relatives I didn’t know I had. I’ve set meetings. I feel like I’m pretty on track, all things considered.
Today’s topic is a question for y’all: Did you change your last name when you married? If you’re not married, how do you feel about changing your name?
Personally, I am ambivalent about it. I have zero ideological qualms about changing or not changing my name. My concerns are more practical: changing my name on legal documents seems like a huge pain in the ass. Changing my name on things like my bank account, Netflix account, and USEA card seem like somewhat more minor pains in the ass. What about things like my email address, which has served me well since approximately 2006? And let’s not talk about how many items I’ve monogrammed with my current initials.
Opposite of this problem is the problem of not changing my name. Will that be a pain for other people? Will it matter if someday, someone writes a check to “Stephanie Lauderdale” instead of “Stephanie Peck” and I can’t cash it? If we have children, is it going to lead to weird assumptions and/or questions if I have a different last name?
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on it. 
Don’t even suggest hyphenating, y’all. Fifteen characters is too many for me.

Considering a change of pace

I had a hideous jump school on Gina on Sunday.

Like, totally hideous.

Like, refuse a jump she jumped last week hideous. Three times. And in a very fussy way.

Moe, on the other hand, hasn’t refused a jump in years.

I’m even tempered and very consistent with disciplining horses that do not go over jumps. Likewise, I am exuberant and consistent in praising horses for doing the correct thing (jumping). I am certain that Gina understands it is her job to go over fences. However, Gina makes it a habit to refuse most jumps on the first approach; she usually jumps fine after that, but it isn’t confidence-inspiring. I can usually feel that she’s backing off, but no amount of leg, voice, or whip can prevent her from putting on the brakes.

As an event horse, Gina won’t have the opportunity to school the jumps before she competes. I am not interested in spending time and money hauling her to a show to be eliminated.

Gina’s made great progress in the last few years: she’s calmer, seems happier, and is actually, you know, jumping. But I don’t trust her to go over the fences that are in front of her. I just don’t feel it.

Currently, another horse cannot fit into the budget. I’m reluctant to sell either of my horses, as they are old and there’s an auction nearby that regularly ships horses to slaughter. Moe and Gina are not really for beginners, but I don’t know who else they’ll appeal to with their advanced age. (They’re sound and very healthy, but you know how it goes.)

Until one of my horses is sold or dies, I can’t search for a new prospect. I’m planning to take Gina to a couple of schooling shows this spring to see how it goes; she may surprise me. And of course, she’ll be making the dressage show rounds.

In the meantime, I’m considering taking polo lessons again. (I played for about a year when I lived in Wichita, Kansas. I was not very good.) Polo was the most fun I’ve ever had on horseback- I really enjoyed the camaraderie of teammates and the excitement of the sport itself.

Playing arena polo in Wichita.

There are a couple of clubs in the Tulsa area that offer lessons. I think it might be a good break from the frustration I’m feeling from Gina and the boredom that sets in from hours in the tiny indoor, endlessly practicing our dressage.

Have y’all ever taken a break from your chosen equestrian sport? Taken up a new one completely?

TOABH: Sugar Momma

Beka at The Owls Approve asks us: Let’s continue pretending that horse poop magically transforms into money instead of the other way.  So money doesn’t matter.  If you could buy anything for your horse, what would you buy? 

I suppose a new horse trailer isn’t really for the horses. Thinking about what Moe and Gina might want, the list is fairly minimal. They have lots of things, and I don’t think they care one bit that their blankets used to belong to other horses or that their saddles weren’t custom made. So here’s what they’d get if I had unlimited funds:
All Gina wants is for Moe to leave her alone.
  • Neue Schule Verbindend bit for dressage, so her current loose ring can stay on the jumping bridle.
  • Ogilvy half pad for dressage, because I like my dressage saddle and have zero desire to jack with custom saddlery. The saddle fits her pretty well, but the half pad might shift it from “pretty well” to “very well”.
  • Lightweight blanket, because Princess Gina prefers to never be chilly. 
  • Lifetime supply of German Horse Muffins.
All Moe wants is all the jumps, all the time.
  • Lifetime supply of Uncle Jimmy’s Squeezy Buns.
  • Schockemöhle Ashford bridle, because his tiny, cob-sized head deserves a pretty bridle for all the schooling dressage shows on his schedule this summer. (Well, and the kids who lesson on him deserve better.)
  • Perfect Sit of Sweden Jump Off Revolution bridle, because dear god does this horse need a flash when he’s jumping/trail riding/hacking out. The ancient HDR figure-8 is too stretched out to fit his small head; I like the look of this bridle and I think my rubber reins would match the chestnut color. 
There are many things I can think of for myself, but I really think my horses are pretty happy the way they are! They’re also ridiculously low-maintenance. But the lifetime treat supplies would go a long way toward improving their quality of life. 😉

Friday Five

Confession: I haven’t ridden either horse all week. I have been feeling super tired in the mornings and couldn’t force myself out of my cozy bed at 5:00 AM to brave the cold temperatures at the barn. It’s supposed to be warm (60s!) and sunny this weekend, so y’all know I’m going to go hack The G after we run some wedding-related errands!

Here’s what’s on my radar this week.

ONE The Athletic Rider Fit Club

If you’re a Horse Nation reader, you’ve probably read one of Leah Hinnefeld’s Athletic Rider posts. They’re full of helpful tips about fitness that are especially relevant to equestrians. Leah also runs a Facebook group, The Athletic Rider Fit Club. I joined a couple of months ago, but I’ve been involved this month. It’s a great group: there are very short daily workouts posted, everyone’s supportive and encouraging, and it’s full of great resources on exercise, nutrition, and general health. I use it as a sort of online accountability group. Bonus: No one’s trying to sell you anything, and I have yet to see a judgmental, bitchy comment.

TWO Yoga With Adriene

Locally, my options for yoga are pretty limited. I can go to the local rec center for a 5:30 AM class. (That’s a good joke!) Or I can drive half an hour to a class in Tulsa. Neither of those is great, but I’d like to start doing some basic yoga once or twice a week to increase my strength and flexibility. (And calm my mind.) My former go-to was Yoga Zone, which was previously available on Hulu. It’s no longer online, so I’ve been searching for a new video series. I really like Yoga With Adriene. I’ve been doing the 30 Days of Yoga series, which is fine for a yoga newb like me. Adriene moves at a beginner’s pace, takes time to explain what she’s doing, offers modifications, and encourages you to do what’s comfortable. Am I breathing correctly? Probably not, but I’ve enjoyed the focus and the stretching.

THREE Kerrits Spring/Summer Collection

I am so excited for the tack store’s Kerrits order to be shipped. Mostly so I can spend half a paycheck buying myself things I don’t really need. Kerrits has so many fun colors and patterns this year- I’m thrilled! I’m especially excited to get some color in the store- it seems like the only thing anyone in the area wants to buy is black tights for schooling! I’m hoping the infusion of colors and patterns will be a hit.
Lucky Braids for Top Turnout is quickly becoming one of my favorite brands for grooming products. Ruthann, the company’s founder and owner, is an extremely nice woman and an extremely good braider. I’ve loved the products I’ve used, but I also love the variety of grooming tips on her website. They range from how to get big, full tails to techniques for bathing faces. Totally awesome.
Short and sweet, these 13 tips for improving your dressage test are great! From the obvious (‘Show at an appropriate level- don’t attempt more than you and your horse are capable of”) to the “I never thought about it that way” (‘Understand each test’s purpose and requirements so that you can demonstrate these to the judge’), these are things you can apply pretty easily!
What have y’all been checking out this week?