Fit to Ride: Because there are no blue ribbons at the bottom of that ice cream carton

Biz Stamm introduces her new weekly column, in which she starts treating herself like the athlete she is.

From Biz:

Last fall I started training horses professionally, and the other night, while halfway through a carton of Butterfinger ice cream (that stuff should probably be illegal), I realized that technically speaking, I am a professional athlete.  Maybe I should start acting a little bit more like one!

We’ve all heard it before. “Riding’s not a sport! The horse does all the work.  You’re not really an athlete.” Now, we all know better, and my thighs would definitely say otherwise after a long day in the saddle.  I do think, however, more frequently than not, riders don’t take the fitness aspect of the equestrianism seriously enough. We expect our horses to be fit and healthy, but don’t always expect the same of ourselves. I say this not as a fitness guru, or health food junky, but as an average woman who loves potato chips, fried chicken, donuts, and let’s not forget about all that beer I’m required to drink as a resident of the Pacific Northwest.

So while I’m not (and probably never will be) ready to give up any of my favorite foods completely, I am ready to start making better choices about my diet, and spend a little bit of time each day focused on physical fitness.  My main goal is to be strong and healthy, but I’m hoping that looking good in my white breeches will be an additional side effect to my new, healthy lifestyle.

I look forward to bringing all of you out there in Horse Nation along with me on this journey and hope that you all can benefit from my experiences.

Go riding!

Photo: HN

About Elizabeth (Biz) Stamm: I’m originally from Hudson, NH, now living in Corvallis, OR. I started riding lessons at the age of 6 years old when the Dr. recommended that it may help with my bad balance and lack of coordination. While I am fairly coordinated and balanced on a horse these days, I’m still somewhat of a mess on my own two feet.  

Since that first lesson, I have become absolutely horse obsessed. I live, sleep, dream, and breath horses. I have dabbled in eventing and hunter/jumpers in the past, but am now a dressage queen wannabe. Despite my fascination with the often elitist sport of dressage, I am usually attracted to horses that would be considered misfits by most. While in high school, I worked at an OTTB rescue, and while in college, I spent my summers at a mustang rescue starting wild horses under saddle. I am a bit of a misfit myself, so there is something incredibly relatable about these horses to me. I recently purchased a kiger mustang (a type of mustang with strong genetic ties to baroque breeds) weanling that I plan on bringing along as my next competitive mount. He is amazing and I have no doubt that he can go FEI:-)

I have tried out a careers in science and academia, and though I am a self-proclaimed science nerd, I have discovered that the only way I can tolerate any type of job is if horses are involved. In September I launched Stamm Sport Horse, and have begun training professionally. My main focus is on dressage, but since I am in OR, it’s not unusual that I’ll find myself with a training horse that will go on to compete in western pleasure, cutting, or reining. It really doesn’t matter to me since I’m yet to find a horse I don’t like and they all teach me new things.

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