January 3, 2015 Leave a comment
Yesterday morning I went a spin class for the first time in about a decade. I survived, and am very happy to report that I made it all the way through the class, kept up with the instructor’s instructions and most importantly I didn’t barf during (or after) the class.
So, yay me, but I won’t kid you – the class fried my legs, and left my hips really really tight, so I wasn’t sure how much work I was going to able to do in the saddle when I went to the barn last night.
So I tacked up Derby and went for a long walk, taking a “wait and see” approach.
We walked and walked, flexing left and right, doing a little shoulder in here and there, and throwing in some little leg yields. Eventually I started to really work on his responsiveness to my leg, and we wound up doing quite a bit of lateral work. Derby started to really come into my hand, stretched nicely over his top line.
I think it felt good to both of us, as in addition to stretching into the contact, he was staying there and lifting his back. I was simply enjoying how the walking motion of the horse opens up tight hip flexors and warms up fatigued legs. After a while, I started to feel kind of decent. After a good 15 to 20 minutes of walk work, I finally decided to go ahead and get a little trot work and try and as expected, my legs were like jelly, and it was clear I was not going to last long at all.
That said, the trot work I got was just lovely – Derby was round, maneuverable and on the aids. It was another reminder to me that I need to spend more time really doing deliberate warm-up, using that time to train rather than just walking around and getting us both loosened up. I can still achieve that objective while using the time much more productively to test into my buttons and get Derby really working over his back and responding to my aids.
I’m not that into New Year’s resolutions – I think they’re kind of silly and as I think most of us know, they don’t stick. However, I feel pretty good about resolving to incorporate longer and more productive warm-up time in my rides.