Hand Gallop Blog Hop: Fit to ride

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Thanks to everyone who participated in the last blog hop! I found some new blogs to read (always a plus) and I loved reading about how everyone’s horse got their name! 
This week I have a human-related question for everyone: What do you do to stay fit to ride?

I think we can all agree that riding is an athletic endeavor. It takes a lot of strength and stamina to ride a good dressage test, gallop through a cross-country course, or guide a horse through a fast and clean jumper round.
Sometimes I think we don’t take our fitness as seriously as we take our horses’, but I hope this blog hop can be an opportunity for the equestrian blogging community to share tips, successes, and even struggles! 
Sweaty selfie, you guys. I’m the coolest!
I’ll be the first to admit I am not the fittest rider out there. I generally enjoy exercise, but I sometimes neglect to make time for it. I generally try to eat a balanced diet that makes me feel good but on a late night drive home from the barn, Whataburger just sounds so good and it’s so easy.
As I’ve aged, I’ve realized that my diet and exercise regime is just as important as my horses’. Here’s what I currently do to help myself become fitter and give my horses a better ride:
  • Jogging: I am the world’s worst jogger. I am lucky to run a 12 minute mile and I don’t really enjoy the activity itself. I continuously get side stitches and feel close to death. But every other day, I drag myself onto the streets of my neighborhood and jog for 20-25 minutes. (Very occasionally I’ll jog for 30 minutes. Very occasionally.) 
  • Strength training: As soon as I get in from jogging, I come inside and do some form of basic strength training. A typical routine for me is 3 sets of: 10 pushups, 20 crunches, 15 squats, 60 second plank, 90 second wall sit. 
  • Diet: Way back in March, Johnny and I did a Whole 30. I lost 8 pounds (with zero exercise) and felt awesome. Since then, I’ve been eating whatever; it’s easier and less expensive to plan meals that include pasta and grains. Plus, I sometimes enjoy drinking alcohol. Even though it probably sounds like I eat at Whataburger every night, I usually cook dinner during the week. Our dinners usually consist of a protein-rich entree (ranging from pork chops to tofu) and a large vegetable side dish (usually steamed broccoli) plus a salad. I love cooking, so this is not a big deal for me. However, Johnny and I have gotten kind of lax about our eating (let’s not talk about how much wine I’ve had lately), so we’re embarking on another Whole 30 next week.
I’m far from a svelte equitation rider- for someone who is 5’9, I’m awfully stumpy and stout. But I try not to stress about it too much; negative self-talk is useless. Every time I think “Ugh, Stephanie, those white breeches aren’t doing you any favors,” I firmly squash that thought and tell myself “I’m glad my legs are strong enough for me to hold a galloping position for a long time!” It sounds really silly, but it’s helped me feel grateful for what I can do instead of feeling disappointed that I don’t look like Charlotte Dujardin. 
So there you have it, fellow equestrians! That’s my fitness regime- a steady diet of slow jogs and squats, coupled with a mostly-good diet. I’m really looking forward to hearing about what you do to stay fit for your riding endeavors!

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Hand Gallop Blog Hop: What’s in a name?

Blog hops are all the style, and I thought I’d try my hand at one (or two) and see how it goes. At the very least, I’m giving y’all something to write about, right??

What’s the origin of your horse’s show name and barn name?

Now, I typically use a horse’s registered name as their show name. This has resulted in some pretty dorky show names over the years, including: Rocky Ridges Alibi, KW’s Flying Bailey, Silk Pajamas, and My Midnight Queen.

Poor Gina has had many names. Her Jockey Club name is hideous: Kimberly K. Who names a horse Kimberly? (Johnny likes to joke that Gina’s name is actually Kim Kardashian.) Her sire is Look See and her dam is True Brilliance, so I can only think that she’s named after her breeder’s daughter or something.

The name on her USEF registration is a marginal improvement- it’s Imagine That. I’m guessing that’s where “Gina” came from.

At the barn, her nickname has turned in “Eugena” (Moe’s nickname is “Mocephus”- you know, like Hank Williams, Jr.’s “Bocephus”.) Eugena is a pretty good name, all things considered. Gina’s whinny sounds like she’s been smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for the last 15 years; doesn’t Eugena sound like the name of a crotchety old woman who smokes a lot of cigarettes and yells at kids?

Gina teaching a teenager how dressagin’ is done.

At the last show, Gina’s show name got an addition. You see, I emailed the combined test’s organizer and said “I’d like to scratch Expect Freedom and enter Imagine That instead.” When I looked up my ride time, I was surprised to see Gina entered as ‘Imagine That Instead’. I laughed hysterically. I mean, come on! “Don’t think of this thing, think of something completely different instead!”

Moe’s show name has always been his Jockey Club name: Richnfree. His sire is Richrichrich and his dam is Feelingfancyfree, so it’s pretty easy to see where that name came from. “Moe”, on the other hand, is a total mystery to me. He came with the name, and I’ve always kept it. (He sort of answers to it.)
I’m certainly curious to know how your horses received their names! Are you a registered name user? Do you make stuff up? Get in on the blog hop and let us know!

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