It’s now officially that time of year when owning a horse becomes three times more difficult and my desire to; come home from work, shut the door, light the fire and watch rubbish on the tv, is really starting to creep in. Due to work and school commitments, most of our outings are now after we’ve (almost) done all of the homework, had a bite to eat and mustered up the energy to hook up the trailer and load the horses. We do this, once, maybe twice a week on a school night, and I have usually talked myself out of it 100 times before we set off, but I always feel much better when I’ve been.
We usually go to the same arena and it’s a yard that Tag is familiar with, so when we were having some building work done at home, that meant Tag might not be able to get out of his stable for a couple of days, combined with a lot of noise and activity, I thought it was best to book him in at the yard for a sleep over. So I settled him into a lovely big stable and was delighted at how relaxed and comfortable he was, at what would be his home for four days. While we were ‘based’ at the yard, I took advantage of having an on-site arena and decided that Tag and I were long overdue a lesson. Due to both cost and time constraints, I either let my daughter have the lesson, or else I just ‘wing-it’ and pay the entry fee for a competition. But I like schooling horses and college taught us so many different exercises to improve a horses way of going, that I never get bored and neither does Tag.
But I really needed a pair of eyes on the ground, because although we are always chipping away at improvement, I knew we needed a bit of catalyst to move things on. And we got it.
As we know, Tag loves curling behind the vertical and my reaction is always to use more leg than hand. This was a mantra of the showjumper I worked for in Australia and generally it doesn’t let me down, but in the case of Tag, all my extra leg was creating energy in his back end that was then giving 85% power, to a front end that simply couldn’t cope with it. Boom, light bulb moment for me and him. I was trying to curtail and manage all this power, that I could feel, but it had nowhere to go and ended up with Tag curling up in a tight ball. Combined with the fact that I was sitting like a sack of potatoes, we were never going to improve.
I’m not sure how long you can play the ‘surgery’ card for (see chapter 23), but I suspect it goes out of date as quickly as the ‘baby weight’ card, but in all honesty it has made a difference to my ‘core’ strength, how well I hold myself and ultimately how well Tag is going. As someone that has prided myself on my ability to lift most things without asking for help, this has been a tough one to manage. ‘Lift that haylage – no problem’, ‘carry the end of that sofa – certainly’, fill in an application for Ninja Warrior – yes please’. But not any more. Now I have to go through the recommended lifting method of bending my knees, blah blah blah, whatever…
But I keep trying and I even got a ‘crash course’ in ‘planking’ from a friend who assured me she was fully trained in this method of improving ‘core’, and ‘yes’ it was the same friend that was involved in the petrol station incident, but I really don’t see how that affects her credibility as a personal trainer?
Anyway, when I felt I was ready to tackle a plank all by myself (well supervised by my 8 year old son), I got in position and my son started counting with great gusto. By 6 seconds he looked nervous and when he got to 10 seconds he said, “right mummy, I think that’s enough, you might hurt yourself.” And to be honest, I think he was right!
Tag is now back home and is none the worse for his stay-cation. We have lots to work on, but a penny definitely dropped somewhere and it always gives you a bit of heart and confidence that you are doing things half right! In the meantime I will ask Santa for a new core for Christmas, because mine is either rotten, or they took it out with my gall bladder!
#pleasesantaineedanewcore #innnerstrength #iverunout #whataplank #therapyofathoroughbred