Thursday, June 21, 2012

Horses, Triathlon, and a Meet-Up

I met up with my triathlete Facebook friend Kristin from Ohio! We only knew each other online, but she and I have similar pasts, coming from horses to triathlon. She was passing through town and one quick wall comment led to an in-person dinner meet-up. (See, I do eat out sometimes, especially when I am in one of my insatiable-appetite phases. Which is most of the time, but definitely right now.)

We talked about the all-consuming nature of horses, not to mention the crazy expenses!! At least in triathlon, bikes don't need to be boarded.

Earlier in the week I rode my bike up in Charlottesville, Virginia, past the Barracks, Foxfield, and other famous show barns and horsey areas. For all the manicured arenas, barns, fields, and pretty painted jumps, I never saw a horse being ridden, but I probably saw half a dozen people on bikes.

On my ride I had a flashback to my Pony Club days when I was probably 14 or 15 and had to design and write an "interval training" program for my horse. I distinctly remember having no idea of what interval training really meant or what was behind it and thinking this was the dumbest thing to have to do.

I went down to the basement and darn if I didn't still have the thing in a box of Pony Club keepsakes! This was from 30 years ago!! As a kid, we didn't do interval training with our horses, we just rode. I think I knew enough not to jump two days in a row, and knew my horse needed a day off a week but that was as scientific as it got.

Fast forward 30 years, and I finally get it! Interval training does work, but it took a coach writing it and me doing it to appreciate the benefits.

It's funny what comes full circle. It used to be the horse taking glucosamine and it's me. I used to worry about the horse coming up lame or colicky before a show, now it's me. We'd tweak the shoes to get the best movement - clips, bars, pads; now it's me needing just the right heel drop, arch support, and flexibility.

Horses taught me a lot about patience, perseverance, and heart. But as I sit here procrastinating (blogging) when I should be packing and getting my head into Saturday's triathlon, I'm glad it's only ME I have to pack for and not the horse, trailer, feed, equipment, and accoutrements!