Leah Hinnefeld of The Athletic Rider discovered last week how to change her filter regarding horses and riding. Today, she explains how to change that filter regarding another important aspect of horses: rider fitness.
In Part 1 of the Filter Series, I shared a story of how my filter was WAY off when it came to my riding. Once I changed my thoughts (my filter), I was able to change my attitude. I literally changed my reality! A weight was lifted, and what was a responsibility or drudgery became a joy again.
Would you be surprised to learn that a lot of riders have a pretty dull filter when it comes to rider fitness? Seriously! Okay, maybe I was the only one surprised to learn that?
Since I started the Athletic Rider back in 2013, I have heard all kinds of “blocks” when it comes to riders investing in their own fitness. No time. No money. I already work out when I ride … and the list goes on. Thankfully not one rider (so far!) has ever said she did not need to work out because her horse does all the work!
While the fact may be that every rider should invest in rider fitness, the challenge is often how to help a rider change her attitude toward fitness from a “have to” to a “want to.” Now don’t get me wrong — it is perfectly understandable that the thought of adding “more” to a daily list can feel overwhelming. As a rider, there is no question you already need more time and more money, so the thought of investing either of those on something other than your horse can feel daunting at best!
As a coach, I help riders connect emotionally to the goal of getting fit to ride better. When a rider has a deep emotional connection to a goal, the likelihood of her staying on course to achieve that goal increases. In our Athletic Rider Fitness Challenges (called Boot Camps — but don’t let the name scare you! We have riders of ALL ages and fitness levels achieve all kinds of goals!), we have reach rider share her “WHY that makes her cry” — in other words, we ask for a why that goes way beyond, “I just want to get fit to ride better.” Give it a try!
If you need some help to get started, here are a few general reasons that you might be able to develop into a deep why:
Safety: Have you or has someone you know ever had an accident when riding or around horses? What if investing in your rider fitness would increase your safety when you ride? How would that increased feeling of safety make your rides different?
Confidence: Self esteem a little lean lately? There is one result I have seen in 100% of the riders that have completed one of my challenges-increased confidence in the saddle and in life. There is a connection between being challenged physically and developing emotional and mental strength. Ask any if my girls. In as little as 21 days, riders stand taller and smile broader. It makes my heart sing.
Performance: It goes without saying that when each partner (horse and rider) invests in fitness, the overall performance of the team improves. Do you have a performance goal? What if in less than a month you could improve your performance in the saddle by investing as little as 30 minutes a day?
Longevity: Perhaps you are getting a little long in the tooth. Like me, maybe you have lost a parent and your own mortality is staring you in your sun-kissed and somewhat weathered face.
Vanity: Okay, I said it! Some of us just want to LOOK better!
When you close your eyes and envision your life as a fit rider, what do you see? Picture yourself 30 days from now with a connected seat, having the confidence to do something on horseback that you never thought you could, having better flexibility or better communication with your horse. Maybe you really just want a smaller waist or leaner legs!
So, now that you have your eyes closed (no peeking) how does that vision make you feel?
Does having this feeling change your thoughts on rider fitness?
Yeah. I thought so.
For many of you, just going through this visual exercise will be enough to change your filter. For those not yet ready to buy in to the idea, contact me and let me share how having a rider fitness coach may be the extra boost you need.