About Me

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North Lawrence, New York, United States
I can be described as lover of life, an animal lover, and lover of education. I am constantly striving for knowledge and learning opportunities. I've been around horses my entire life. I enjoy working with horses and their human partners through natural horsemanship philosophies, natural balance bare foot hoof care, reiki, red-light therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy, crystal healing, chromotherapy, flower essences, and more. I am a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher who offers treatments for people, horses, dogs, cats, and other creatures great and small. I also teach Reiki classes for those interested in learning how to treat themselves, their loved ones, and even their animals! Natural Horse Lover Farm is located in Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and Adirondack Mountains. Heaven on Earth. naturalhorseloverfarm.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Have You Ever Asked Yourself...Does My Horse Make My Butt Look Big? Physical Fitness for True Partnership - Undeniable Truths

Watch this video and you'll be amazed at the level of fitness these women have. The Ross Sisters were popular in 1944, triplets, musicians, dancers. The first minute is full of fun singing and then, the acrobatics begin--WOW. Can you do this? As a kid, I could do some of it but not like them. I was in gymnastics, would and could ride any horse, played sports in the neighborhood, etc. If only we were all this physically fit for our horses. These women are unlike most human beings, they are incredible! I can see them having fun with vaulting or trick riding for sure.

So if you were a horse, what type of partner would you prefer? One who could not move and was heavy, unbalanced, and nonathletic or someone with balance, athleticism, and who seemed to care about themselves and the horse? I want to be the latter, forever more.

My goal as I have said before (I linked to some of the previous posts throughout this segment) is to get back to being physically fit not only for myself but for my horse. If you've been reading this blog over the years, you know I've posted several things on living a healthier life and so, I thought I'd take a moment to update you on my progress. This is a long journey and a lifetime commitment for sure. Don't be fooled, it is not a simple process mentally, emotionally, or physically. And don't fool yourself, if you are in the same situation, admit it and move forward, do something about it---you can do it, contact me, I'll support you! By the way, I think that both fat and thin people can be considered not physically fit so please understand that everyone has a journey of some sort in this realm, be supportive of each other.

Today, as a thirty-something, I have struggled since college with weight - or too much of it. At the time, too much on the run (full-time job, full-time college, married, running a wildlife rescue, etc.), fast-food eating, sitting in front of a computer, and a lack of the level of exercise I'd done for all my previous years. As an adult, I've done Weight Watchers and have found success (when I followed the program).

This year, in January, I joined the gym and started working out again, a step in the right direction. My weight has been out of check and I want that fixed, for good. I am athletic with my horses (except for mounting from the ground--which I still wonder what the impact is on their backs even with a thin rider - read this, "September 2007 - A Mounting Problem Study shows: just getting on can hurt your horse's back").

I ride bareback mostly (too complacent most of the time to pull out the saddle and think it keeps me honest about my riding position and balance) and have even started my own horses (you know this already if you've been a regular reader). I do recognize that balance and weight distribution can be an issue and plan to be more equal with bareback and saddle riding from now on. I pretty much act like I am 12 years old most of the time, no fear, just fun. Being lighter will help even more with my fitness level and horsemanship skills.

Anyhow, since the beginning of the year, I was losing a little but not much. I know that my food choices were the issue. Although I'd been working out, my food choices were still unhealthy (old habits die hard). Once my gall bladder issues arose, I was forced to get back to healthier eating habits (or suffer greatly--maybe even die) and it is paying off! Not only am I enjoying wonderful, healthy foods but, I am getting back to my old, thinner, healthier self. (I did have surgery and still cannot eat foods with fat without getting quite ill - a blessing really, this helps my journey a great deal - Yup, I always try to find the positive in everything.)

Anyhow, I've been doing great! I've lost 47 pounds since January and feel fabulous. My clothes are all getting too big (breeches are looking much better and feel better), my shoe size went down, my hubby makes some wonderful sweet remarks (always has but now more than ever), and my horses for sure will appreciate it too (I have not started riding again yet, was told to wait until July 1st but have been running around playing on the ground with the horses and having a blast--they seem to be as well.) One thing to note, I am very strong, always have been, and can work side-by-side with my hubby on most things so, I am not lazy, I am not a wimp, I'm just a bit too fluffy! LOL

I have to confess that talking about this subject in such detail on the blog is quite difficult for me and it took a lot of courage to divulge "the numbers" but, I think that my journey should be accurate and I know other horse people (women especially) have similar issues. One benefit I have it that my numbers are higher than anyone would ever guess--my little secret I suppose--well not anymore. LOL Perhaps my sharing can help some of you. I do share with my Plus Sized Riders Yahoo Group which is precisely why I know I am not alone. If you are interested, please come join us.

In any event, I challenge you to think about a few questions (be honest with yourself):
  1. Are you athletic and balanced?

  2. Are you physically fit?

  3. Is your weight where you want it to be?

  4. Do you feel good about yourself?

  5. How does your horse feel about your fitness level?

  6. Is your horse physically fit, especially for what you are asking him to do?

  7. Are you making wise food choices?

  8. Do you get in regular exercise?

If you answered no to any of these questions, what are you going to do about it? Take action and do something about it!

Some of my strategies for physical fitness are:

  1. Exercise at the gym or at home 3 times a week minimum. (Try something new if you get bored.)

  2. Eat low-fat, lo-carb, healthy foods. (Lots of veggies, fruit, lean meats, water.)

  3. Have a plan.

  4. Stay positive to keep yourself motivated.

Here are a few resources to consider:

Saddle Up Training
Parelli Mastery Manual #1 Balance (Savvy Club Silver and Gold Members Exclusive)
Weight Watchers
Exercise for the Rider Blog Post on Natural Horse Lover
Walk at Home with Leslie Sansone
Athletic Works Circuit Trainer Mini Trampoline
Nintendo Wii Fit
Fitness Tips for a Better Ride

I plan to update this weight-loss ticker so come back to this post if you want to see my progress or check out my blog homepage, I am putting it out there for all to see! (I think I'm nuts but if I help motivate just one person it is worth it.) My ideal weight range is 132-154lbs. I am shooting for 145lbs. I may also even post before and after pics someday...not that brave yet! I hope to be, correct that, I will be at my goal by spring 2010. (Wish me luck!)

My Weight Chart:
Weight Chart


Lisa said...

Wow! Very brave and inspiring post! Another resource to improve your riding is Pilates. I've been training with a fellow PNH student for almost 2 years. I've gained major strides in balance and harmony with my horse. The weight loss was an unexpected and a-typical side benefit. At least while I struggle with my weight, I can improve my riding skills. Linda says "when you're in harmony, you're weightless."

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Thank you for the kind words - glad I could inspire! I just bought a new scale made by Weight Watchers. It was off from my old scale so I just edited the numbers to reflect the new scale's measurements. I edited my ticker and added ideal weight range and my target. Anyhow, I'll keep at it. Best wishes to you.

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Lisa--I forgot to ask, can you share what Pilates videos you are using?

Anonymous said...

Oh man I miss my pilates trainer! I do highly recommend a session with a professional before doing pilates on your own -- there's a lot about core engagement and alignment that if you don't do it right you a) don't get nearly the benefits and b) risk injury.

Take heart about weight. I've read in several sources that a heavy rider who is fit and balanced and good is much easier on the horse than a light-weight rider who is bouncing all over the place, unfit, and unbalanced. So even if you're not at your "weight" if you are exercising and working on flexibility, balance, confidence, fluidity and gaining endurance, your horses will notice the difference.

I know what you mean about blogging "the numbers" and feelings about all this publicly, even though it's probably the most common shared experience among American women and it just makes you more inspiring and relate-to-able.

I've felt the same with my depression on my blog, and I haven't done a whole lot with the weight in the blog but OMG I feel the same way. I know I will never see 135-154 again but I'd be ecstatic with 165 -- in fact, I threw away my scale when I moved and I'd be ecstatic just to approach the fitness I had before I fell into the pit of despair. LOL.

P.S. Two of my friends had that gall bladder surgery last year and realized they could never eat bacon again -- but given the consequences, they didn't even WANT to. Glad you are recovering well and taking it in stride! :)

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

I am definately going to have to look into pilates...

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It is so interesting that my divulgence has opened a gateway for people. I've had several responses via email too.

I agree about cravings. I don't even want that stuff (the bad foods) anymore. What is the point really, they give you instantaneous satisfaction but, one minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips! Not worth it. No way.

I plan to tape more assessments and need to continue on this healthier journey. Thank you for reading and for your support. please keep commenting, it is wonderful!