Teddy just turned 15 which in horse years is about mid life, they commonly live 30+ years, which puts Teddy pretty close to his prime. Well that is if he hadn't been a professional athlete for 9 years. Just like human professional athletes, physically giving it your all takes a heavy toll and leaves those athletes with permanent injuries along with arthritis. Teddy is no exception; all those years of racing took a heavy toll on his body and as a result he’s very arthritic.
I took him out trail riding just like we had been doing earlier in the year when we had been riding regularly because he looked and seemed just fine. You see Teddy has a TON of heart and always gives his best. When we got home from riding last weekend I realized that I had been neglectful of poor Teddy's well being. He could barely walk the next couple of days. I only rode him at a walk and what had been an easy ride in the Fall but it was way beyond his current level of fitness. I realized that I would NEVER have asked one of my clients with similar physical limitations to do what I asked of him.
After the almost overwhelming guilt subsided I designed and embarked on a training program to get him back in the shape he was in last Fall. As you’ve heard me say more than once – Small changes over time yield huge results. I’m starting slow to build a solid foundation then I’ll ask more and more of him. There will be workouts that focus on endurance and workouts that focus on building strength. I’ve included easy recovery workouts as well as rest days to allow time for muscle recovery and growth.
You see anyone who suffers from arthritis needs to MOVE and move regularly in order to enjoy the highest quality of life possible - it doesn't matter if the someone we're talking about is human or animal. Movement helps keep the joints lubed up which in turn reduces pain from movement which encourages more movement! It's a wonderful cycle. However you need to start out slow and build just like I’m doing with Teddy. Remember that too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing so take it slow and steady. If you have questions about designing a program for yourself just send me an email, I’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
I have a goal for Teddy - it may not seem like a big goal for anyone but me and that's okay. I want to take him to a place called McGinnis Meadows Ranch in Montana for a week in May but he needs to be physically fit enough to enjoy it as much as I hope to as a team. One of the best parts of this goal is Teddy's always ready and willing to go so I have an extremely willing partner. Another great part is that I’ll get in better shape right along with him.
Riding horses is a lot more physically demanding than many people think. It takes core strength, lower and upper body strength, balance as well as mental clarity and focus to really ride well. I’m not saying that I ride well but I do give it my all when I ride. I wonder what would happen if each of us as individuals were as in the moment as animals are.
My goal to take Teddy to McGinnis Meadows is just one of my big goals this year. I’m coaching a team for this year’s Cycle the WAVE all women’s bike ride in September as well as doing another Olympic Distance Triathlon and the Swim Across America 2 mile open water swim. I will need to be very focused balancing my time between my family, my animals, my own training, running my business, training clients, teaching fitness classes, promoting my book along with my speaking engagements and getting in some fun personal down time along with Date Night with my husband. Totally doable I just need to use my Master Schedule to keep me on track.
Here's to you in Health, Wellness and Fitness!
Jennifer Malocha CEO of Fun at Wuhoo Fitness
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