Monday, May 27, 2013

Lifestyle Changes

A group of friends of mine formed a weight loss consortium a few years back. If you have been with my blog any length of time, you know that is an ongoing concern of mine . . . that middle aged spread that is relentless in it’s desire for Manifest Destiny. . .

We talk about how weight loss must be a result of lifestyle changes, not a goal of dieting. There are many good things said and done in that group and several are showing up with much less of themselves than before.

How then does this subject fit with the horse training theme of this blog, you might ask? It’s the lifestyle change piece for today’s intent and purpose. Could go on about how healthier, fitter people are better suited for riding but that would only depress me as my “lifestyle change” has taken place in a somewhat different arena. There, a horse related word for you impatient types.

A couple of years ago, I quietly put away my shingle, didn’t book any more training horses, nor accepted any others to broker for sale. I painfully trimmed my personal herd, now down to one semi and hopefully temporarily lame spotted Arabian. I got an office job.

Fast forward to 2013, the novelty and delight of the regular paycheck that shows up on time, when it says it will and never cancels for personal reasons of it’s own has not entirely lost it’s charm. Nor has the ability to show up at my Dr’s office and know she is actually going to get paid for her labor rather than the essentially pro bono work she has done for me, the past couple of years previous.

It finally sinks in, viewing my vastly shrunken mileage, comparing this year to last’s Distance Derby, gasping in horror at a scale that mercilessly tells off on the latest session with Edy’s, even the low fat kind, that a lifestyle change has taken place. It’s not the “hit the gym, exchange bad food for good, go get ‘em Tiger” that I have been looking to cultivate. Nope, a much more sedentary thing involving desks, chairs, overtime and . . . large recliners at the end of the day rather than saddles, halters, and miles slipping away into the rearview mirror.

I have ridden the least this year than maybe any since getting back into horses in the early 90’s after a nine year lay off.  There are a lot of pro’s and con’s to my lifestyle change, but that might be the worst.

Along with this, I am hearing Peter (Campbell) talk about how you have to have feel in everything you do. It doesn’t just suddenly spring into life when you cross the threshold at the corral. That some things matter, no matter what, and some matter not. A peaceful soul can reach a horse, one in tumult can kill. My  horse, beloved Royal, is sore, swollen and lame due to a trailer loading accident that is directly attributed to my unpeaceful, impatient approach on what turns out to be a very important day in our lives.

So, no matter if I am at the barn every day, I am a horseman, every day, every waking moment of my life and possibly sleeping as well. To be soft in all that I do, to reward the slightest try, the smallest change in myself and those around me . . . to be aware. Even if I am riding a chair instead of a pony, I am still who I am. Whew. Good to know.


Anonymous said...

A very good reminder to us all. Horsemanship is life, and one can't be separated from the other, and we bring everything we are to our horses. Horses are better at this than we are, I think - horses don't expect to be able to turn on/turn off who they really are - they just are.

This was a lesson I learned from Mark Rashid, and I'm still working on living my life consistently with the horsemanship I want to have.

Good Hands said...

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Kate. Horsemmanship IS life. I didn't know what Peter meant the first time I heard him say you can't be one person at the barn and another everywhere else. It's coming home to me now.

On the plus, Royal's hock has turned the good corner. The swelling is almost completely gone and he is moving freely and looks like he feels good again. As soon as it dries out enough to ride, I think we'll give it a go and see where we are. Optimistic.