Submitted by member: mkseverin
I am fortunate to be riding in my fifties… I would love to hear from some of the “mature” coaches about the tender subject of dealing with the physical limitations of riding at this age.
Specifically, I came back to riding (after thirty+ years of not doing so) at 48, and had a remarkable four years before the clock caught up. Suddenly, after riding better than I had ever, “the wheels began to fall off.” It’s hard, after such a short burst of great physical strength and success, to feel my ability diminish. I would love some encouragement reminding me I can still be an effective and responsible rider, even if my position does not look as polished, if my balance is not as strong and reliable. I will work soon with an Alexander Technique coach and that’s encouraging. Generally, I try not to think about aging, but getting “old” feels like it came on overnight, and it’s emotionally taxing. Please help!! I want to age gracefully and not feel so… depleted. Thanks.
Answer by Robin
Thank you for your great question. I myself am forty-five and I have many clients from their mid-forties to early seventies. I want to assure you that some of your best days of riding are still ahead of you.
Here are what I have found to be the keys to Resilient Riding:
Try finding small ways every day to replenish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Physically I suggest you try following a more structured exercise program so that you can regularly measure your success and also be clear on what areas need to be worked on. Try a combination of resistance training, yoga and walking/running.
On the emotional side of things, be quick to catching yourself when your inner voice starts to talk to you while your riding. Keep your inner dialogue neutral at a minimum. We can’t always be positive when we feel like “wow I’m terrible right now” but we can be strict with ourselves and not allow the downward negative spiral that we’ve all experienced. Try getting present again, taking a mental pause to reconnect with your horse and your body again.
As for the spiritual side of things, horses are my connection to that realm but it’s easy for me to forget that if I get too focused on my goals, expectations, etc. I ride our trail everyday for 15 minutes as my warm up and it helps me to connect with my horse and my spirituality. It’s a chance to remember that if I’m lucky enough to have a horse, I’m lucky enough.
If you’d like more personalized help, I offer virtual training to riders everywhere so I’d love to hear from you!
“A true horseman will only ask athletic feats of his horse if he has his own body under control.”
– from The Principals of Riding/German
National Equestrian Federation
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Robin and her husband Dionicio Martinez own Blackjack Farms, a beautiful and secluded 5+ acre ranch in North San Diego, with a very unique indoor/outdoor fitness facility. They have a well-equipped indoor gym, multiple permanent outdoor workout stations and a groomed running track. The fact that it's also the home of their show horses makes it truly one of a kind. There is also a limited amount of room for people to board their horses, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a horse facility and fitness facility all in one. Robin has fitness clients that ride and riding clients who workout. Its a wonderful harmony, everybody is fit around there - horses and riders alike. Robin's focus is on establishing core strength and building a foundation of fitness for her clients. As a competing rider herself, she uses that experience to create fitness programs geared specifically for equestrians to help them gain the strength and mobility they need to be at the top of their game. Her style is positive, fun, encouraging and pleasantly tough. For more information on Blackjack Fitness please visit her website at www.blackjackfarmsandiego.com