How to Stay Fit and Inspired
by Catherine Madera
Outside of riding horses, I’ve never been very interested in sports. This is why my husband worked extra hard convincing me to join him on a 30-and-over soccer team last June. When the day of our first game rolled around—like, my first game ever—I was nervous. I like to exercise, but a soccer game was way out of my comfort zone. A funny thing happened at the end of the game, however (which we lost). Sweaty, my feet throbbing from brand new cleats, I felt exhilarated and happy. It was fun to do something different and stretch myself.
NWHS publisher Karen Pickering likes to say her mare, April, is a “jack of all trades and master of none,” but exposing her horse to different situations and disciplines has produced a very well broke, confidant horse. April is mentally fit, something that makes her a pleasure to ride and handle. This is also a critical piece of a finished horse. Shortly after my first soccer game, I took Eli down to Mark Bolender’s amazing mountain trail course to expose him to something new. I’m sad to admit my expectations, like with soccer, were low. Eli goes out on the trail, but he spends plenty of time in arenas. I knew the obstacles would challenge him and be way out of his comfort zone. A funny thing happened, however…he did great! He seemed to know it, too, and exhibited a new confidence after negotiating those first obstacles. It was exhilarating to try something different and see him shine. No matter what your favorite discipline, “cross training” with your horse can breathe new life into both of you and is just plain fun. I highly recommend it (and do check out Bolender Horse Park!).
If you need training inspiration, don’t miss the Northwest Washington Horse Expo coming in October. The full run down of activities is on page 6. In what ways do you foster mental fitness in your horse? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published September 2012 Issue