Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What Do Wednesday: Health and Fitness

This post is inspired by me sitting in my bed, force feeding myself oatmeal and a protein shake at 10:14 PM. This may seem like insanity, and it is, but I think we have deduced that we are all mad here anyways.

Another thing we have all established is that horse health and fitness is pretty important. But do you ever think about rider health and fitness?

I know I sure didn't give a heck in college and I ballooned to 200lbs (45lbs over my normal) because I was a slob, ate whatever was handed to me, usually pizza and literally never set foot in our million dollar fitness gym.

Tipping the scales at over 200lbs
Then I moved home, got dumped and felt bad about myself and started working out.

I won't go into it much, as you can read more thoroughly above in "Crossfit Journey". Long story short, I started Crossfit and it changed my life forever.

I could ride without getting tired. Sitting the trot was easy. I felt strong. I was confident. I didn't feel like a slug in the saddle. And ultimately, I felt like a better rider overall with a stronger core, stronger seat and better cardio. Also I started to look good in breeches.

Thats what crossfit is all about, functional fitness!

The key is finding a good box (CF gym) and sinking into your niche. I tried a few boxes before I found my CF family, and they're a lot like your barn family. Supportive, encouraging and with you every step of the way!

For me, I want to maintain my fitness level to be strong enough to ride complex movements. Go from being in shape, losing it, and come back and I TELL YOU HWHHHAT, its hard. Harder than you think. After I got over Bronchitis I struggled to catch my breath for a month.

I truly believe that CF has changed my body, my mind and my riding in a positive way. CF is not for everyone, it can be intense and sometimes after a WOD (workout) I want to die. But in that sense, WODs are like shows or riding goals, you want them so badly, and sometimes it sucks, but getting there is the reward and the success is so sweet!

Generally I TRY to get to the gym 3-4 times a week for a WOD. Because of my limited time, this usually means at 6AM before work.  If I can't, I run at home and lift heavy, usually squats or deadlifts. I am also doing a Tough Mudder in May and I'm attempting to train for that. Some weeks though, I just don't have it in me to go to the gym and I'm learning thats OKAY.

Now, I've morphed into a true "kool-aid" drinker and embody a lot of CF practices. Two of these practices are Paleo dieting and counting macros. Normally two things that don't work together well, but I will try and break it down quickly.


Paleo is eating natural, fresh and whole foods. Limiting dairy and processed food as much as possible. Here, you can go as extreme as you like. I really love yogurt, so I still eat it, but this is considered "not paleo". WHATEVER YOLO. But I have cut out bread from my diet completely. Grains and nuts are OK, but processed bread I only allow myself on Saturdays (cheat days). I think its incredibly important to allow yourself cheat days or meals, otherwise you go crazy and WILL fall off the wagon. I eat a fuckload of veggies and fruits, as well as lean meats like chicken and fish. Beef is a treat. I eat so much chicken sometimes I think I might die. I "break" the paleo rule when I use protein powder and creatine, but both of my supplements are non GMO, natural all that shit. I stick to this diet 6 days a week generally.

Counting macros is quite different and most call it 'flexible dieting'. It helps to get your measurements first, as in, body fat and weight. From there, your macro formula can be made. It all depends on activity level and goals. Do you want to lose weight, gain muscle, do both? Then you get daily set goals. Protein, Carbs, Fats and Calories.

I try to not look at calories unless I'm not meeting them (harder than you think). For me, its hard to meet protein macros and not go over on fats. I consistently hit my carbs macros daily. This is all done on a smartphone app. Takes about a week to get used to, but if you're like me, I generally don't deviate from my diet and eat the same thing everyday (UNLESS ITS SATURDAY).

Usually, I have to drink a protein shake at the end of the day to get my protein without the added fat of meat. Its fun, but difficult to perfect, and I like a challenge. But anything counts. Anything. Did you eat fries and a burger for lunch? LOG IT.

Most likely you've just eaten your fats for the day and need to eat really lean the rest of the day. Its helped me shed the remaining 5lbs and accentuate my abs a bit more. Or look more "shredded". LOL. Anyways people swear by it and I am people, so.

I also have a fitbit HR and might legit be obsessed with that thing. OBSESSED.

Okay, I nerded out for a minute...but this is what I do to stay healthy for my sport. It means a lot to me to be able to workout and finesse my diet, and I could be considered a wee bit of a freak about it. I know that route is not for everyone, its just made a difference for ME. This is what works for ME because I am a lazy sack of shit that needs an app to stay on track and CF coaches that force me to complete workouts I otherwise would give up on, everyday to be healthy. WAH.

So dear readers, what do YOU do? I want to know! Do you walk? Is riding enough? Do you run marathons? Do you not care like I didn't, haha! Tell me, what do ??

**no judgement by the way, at all!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Meet Braggles

So, things are changing around here. And as someone suggested, I think I might need a time turner to make it all work. I kind of feel like I'm back in college, surviving off 5 or less hours of sleep a night and living my life by my planner, and the horses aren't even back at the homestead yet.

I enjoy work, and being busy and actually get bored being lazy.

Its about to get too busy though. And THAT I don't know about.

Boarding  Bacardi has opened up my life, literally, in so many magical ways. I am able to sleep again 7 hrs a night, you know, normal things people need to survive and I finally got my health & anxiety under control. I was able to go back to school and work on my dual masters degree. I had opportunities to work OT at work for extra money. I got to work out consistently AND ride my horse. It was wonderful. WAS.

Then, a month ago, my spoiled white girl life was shattered when Yankee had colic surgery and his lease ended.

If you don't know by now, he is coming home April 1 (meaning I am driving 9 hours to go get him) and I will have horses on my property....again.

So of course, Yankee can't be alone right?


So I found him a friend.

His name is Braggles and he's adorable and looks exactly like Bacardi and it works out for all parties involved that he comes to stay with us until Yankee is well enough to be ridden and hopefully leased out again.

Because mama aint got no time of' dat.

I spent the ENTIRE weekend getting sawdust, hay, fixing fence and pastures, cleaning and prepping the barn and I can 100% admit, I am not exactly the cheeriest about my situation.

Barn is prepped
Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, go read Amy's blog. She states everything so wonderfully and summarizes all the reasons I HATE having horses at home. Color me spoiled. I don't care. I work hard for my money, and money is time and time is money. Without time to work, I don't have the ability to ride at all. And caring for horses literally eats all my free time. My slight, minuscule, tiny small amounts of free time. Boarding saved my life, social, mental and physical and I am legit terrified I will slip back into a dark mental state, get fat and lose everything I've worked for. Seriously though, its a possibility.

Regardless of all my worries, I am very grateful Yankee is alive and well and that I am lucky enough to own 2 OTTBs....but truly, I need him to get better fast so I can lease him out, or I will have to sell Bacardi...and I would really like not having to do that.

Anyways, here is Braggles and I go get him Saturday and I am super excited to have horses at my house again, even if I do hate it at the same time. He's also an OTTB that currently cannot be ridden and is a magical unicorn that gets fat on air. Its awesome. Plus his face. So cute.

UH-dorable. Just wanna smush his face.

Monday, March 21, 2016

We Have a Bit...Of a Problem

Thats actually a really punny title. You'll find out why if you keep reading.

How to make your 17.1 horse look small : be me
I have no fun show updates like the rest of you, but it was a pretty good week/weekend in term of riding. But I do have several other small updates to make. Try to pay attention.

So all last week and the week before, while my beautiful new dressage bridle was at the tailors, because Bacardi is a superstar at breaking shit....

...I was using my jump bridle/bit to do flatwork because thats all I had. Poor planning/I might need a spare bridle set for future reference.

He was absolutely stunning all week. No tantrums (those are rare these days) and even better, no giraffe resisting. I was pretty confident and happy with how things were going.

I then got the precious back and went ahead and rode in the correct tack.

Cue head flipping, literally every 87 seconds.

Um, ok.

So we revisited the standing martingale and the lunge line of discovery. Much shorter lesson this time at 10 minutes and then he was like, FINE.

Not from this week, haha
Then I thought about it. He is ALWAYS perfect in my jump tack. Rarely flips his head in the middle of a gait or transition, unless he wants to RUN through a fence and I have to half halt. Even then its a sideways head toss and not a half rear type deal. In his dressage bit he isn't bad, he just literally flips his head every transition, or mostly I notice in the trot.

I think B hates his dressage bit.

Before we revisits saddle fit, I've ridden his dressage bit on the jump bridle, and also his dressage bridle with his jump saddle, the common denominator here is the frenchlink. LE SIGH.

Which sucks, because he also REALLY hates anything ELSE that isn't a french link. Like literally, good luck walking forward because he will be spending his time flying backwards trying to spit offending bit out.

Which poses an even greater problem for competition. HE LOVES his waterford. Waterfords are not dressage legal. WHY WHY WHY though?? They are such nice bits. Yankee goes in one for XC and he adores it. They are so mild and my boys prefer the several breaks in the mouthpiece.

The Gina Miles version of a Waterford loose ring
So what am I to do? He obviously goes super nice in his waterford, and resists the frenchlink a bit. Anything else is out of the question.

Any advise would be helpful....

I thought I was done with bitting problems, ugh.

Anyways, besides that, he was great this weekend. I was absolutely destroyed from shoveling an actual half ton of sawdust into my barn for the boys (arriving next week!!) and stacking the expensive fucking hay I bought their precious selves, so riding was hard.

He was VERY excitable and really wanted to jump and my body was like, no.

I had fully intended on jacking the oxers up to 3'6 to get some height in, but I was too sore to really tolerate his constant pulling so we schooled *trying* to maintain a nice, huntery canter in between jumps. Tried.

He was actually a very good boy, but I simply didn't have the physical ability to really ride well and cut the ride short. I was pleased though still, even with a few minor wtf moments, he was lovely.

This week I am interviewing for a part time medical billing position so along with grad school, gym, and full time insurance job, in addition to picking up Yankee's companion horse this weekend and bringing him home....we will see if we ride much.

Also, stay tuned for a cool giveaway for my 600th post!!