Thursday, April 9, 2009
Is Horsebackriding Good Exercise??
Have you run into people who don't think a horse hobby really can yield a good workout?
I had a doctor tell me this, quite confidently, at a physical once; "Oh well you ride horses; of course that's not a true workout because...the horse is doing all the work!" Picture happy smiling doctor telling me what's what, from the standpoint of infinite knowledge. Yukkety yuk, Young Doctor Malone.
I beg to differ.
Yesterday I began my little non-exercise hobby chasing a horse for 1/2 hour, fuming and swinging my lead rope and attempting to kill him. Murderous rage plus running full tilt = good workout, Young Doctor Malone.
I had driven up the road to the barn past my horses' pasture and seen: small horse hanging like a big hairy tick from my horse John's general jugular area. John backing up with pinned ears and panicky stumbling, young horse hanging on. John backed into electric fence, John shaking his head. Young horse hanging on.
The young horse is a giveaway acquired for the schooling program at my boarding barn. He is described as a Hackney Pony because;
1. He has weird gaits
2. He is small
3. He has unusual conformation.
I'm pretty sure there's more to being a Hackney Pony than this. What I am certain about is that he is a PIA of royal proportions.
A very large (4" square) section of neck skin is missing from Montana, and John would no doubt be likewise the 'visible horse' if he didn't have such tough hide.
So I took off after this "Hackney Pony" and chased him all around the yard. My goal was to show him some dominance and keep him away from something he wanted (the hay bales) while also perhaps landing a pleasing thwack on his rump with the rope to vent off my rage.
1. Horses can run so much faster and farther than humans; it's not fair.
2. John got into it right away and was running at my side, ears pinned, reaching for a nip whenever we got close to the young HackDude. It was a very eerie feeling running alongside him in a common purpose like that. How did he know I wasn't mad at every horse but just HackDude?
I was wrung out by the end, and what decided the end? HackDude began to look pathetic rather than defiant. John admired me greatly all that day and we rode out along the newly thawed dirt road, John snorting and blowing and gaiting perfectly. I believe I gained some points in his mind. I hope so.
It did scare me how furious I was. I hope I don't see that sight again, ever.
This is my idol we're talking about.
And speaking of exercise:
My employer offers us $60 if we take a "wellness assessment", and another $60 if we sign up for a health improvement program. Well, that's money in these times so I did both.
I signed up for the 10,000 Steps Program, which asks you to walk 10,00o steps a day for 2 months and use a pedometer to clock the steps - they sent you the pedometer.
I discovered I walk a lot anyway but I also discovered:
If you wear your pedometer while riding, you accumulate unholy amounts of steps!! i am talking about 14,000 steps in one half hour ride!! I found this out by accident - meant to take the thing off before riding but forgot. I think it just gets jiggled so much it goes mad during riding....
I don't in any way intend to submit riding "steps" for my actual walking program but I thought it was so funny to mount up at "1209 steps" and dismount at "18904 steps" without having my feet touch the earth once.
Now remind me why I can't kill that young horse.