Sunday, October 5, 2008

Riding and Weight-Loss Challenge

I'm guilty, as charged.

I've been bad all summer. I normally ride 4-6 days a week. This summer I was lucky to ride 1-2 times a week. That's an all-time worst record for me. So what I now have is an out-of-shape body and an out-of-shape horse. I guess I have some valid excuses, writing half-time and working full-time. Still, I know I can fit riding in if I make it a priority.

Dressage takes a lot of muscle strength on the horse's part. They need to be strong in the hind end and able to carry more weight behind. Building that strength is time-consuming and requires a consistency which I didn't commit to over the summer. Add to that a horse who doesn't hold her fitness unless she's ridden 5-6 days a week.

As a consequence of my laziness, I've put on ten pounds and my horse and I are winded after about 20-30 minutes of work. That is another first for me and one I'm not proud of. I have always prided myself on being able to ride for an entire lesson and never pleading with my instructor for a break. I still haven't done that but, boy, have I wanted to beg for mercy.

In addition, I have never weighed this much in my life. I used to be able to eat anything and never put on weight. Well, welcome to middle-age. It's finally caught up with me.

Non-riders don't understand how much exercise riding can be. I don't think I even understood until I looked back on this summer and how much time I've spend sitting on my butt, writing; instead of sitting on my butt, riding.

So I am turning over a new leaf, and I'm counting on EI to hold me accountable. I'm going to attempt to post a riding and weight loss log every Sunday or every other Sunday. Maybe I'll even include some tips from my instructor and what I'm working on for the week. My goal is to ride a minimum of four days a week and lose a total of 20 pounds.

My goals for December 31, 2008 are:
  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Ride 4 days a week minimum (If I miss a week, I have to make it up the next week)

Anyone want to join me? You can post your results in the comments section of my blog post every Sunday. I'd love to have some company. If there's enough interest, maybe I'll even come up with some year-end prizes.


Leslie said...

Well, Jami, you got me! Although my weight gain and lack of riding have been going on a little longer than over the summer. I think you've come up with a good challenge for yourself, and others of us out here. I've been "planning" to get started on a light weight routine. Your post is encouraging.

I don't know about you, or any of the other over 45 ladies who might be reading, but I have been very discouraged by my loss of strength. I always prided myself in being a strong (physically) woman, but somewhere, the strength has dwindled. That's what I really want to work on, I figure the rest of it will follow. Of course, a good diet is essential but I'm a Type 1 diabetic, so diet is always on my mind. Yeah,you can gain weight being a T1 diabetic, especially when you're on an insulin pump. But, that's my hurdle. Anyway, will be interesting to see if anyone else will be interested in your challenge!

Laura Crum said...

Jami, I ought to join you for sure. I ride 2-3 days a week if I'm lucky, and I darn sure have the twenty extra pounds. However, I don't see it changing any time soon. And fortunately, my two horses stay reasonably legged up under this program. At 50, I have given myself permission to be stout. However, like you, LJS82, I am interested in fitness and strength--my solution has been to try to hike the trails as often as I ride them. I don't always accomplish this; my son infintely prefers riding to hiking, so mostly we ride. But I feel the hiking is very beneficial. As you know, Jami, trail riding on a solid horse is not very aerobic--for the rider. Dressage lessons are no doubt much more strenuous. Riding colts used to be the way I got my exercise, but I think I'm past that now.

mugwump said...

And here I am, newly retired from training, and sitting with my butt parked in a chair every day....I was getting fatter every year anyway, now I'm terrified!
I've been walking/running with my dogs three to four times a week. I'm hoping that will shake up my metabolism some. If women over 50 still have a metabolism that's higher than a sloth's, I'm beginning to wonder.
Also, how do people with real jobs get anything done?
I've been lucky to get out on my horses 3 tmes a week. The bills aren't paid, the house is totaled....Yikes!
I'll join the weight loss challenge, I refuse to go up another size.

Anonymous said...

I'm an overweight, nearly fifty year old mom who loves mysteries, especially equine mysteries, which is why I'm a regular reader of Equestrian Ink. For the last 3 years, I've been riding once a week with my divinely slim 13 year old DD. I wish we could ride more often but we don't own our horses, live in the city and we aren't quite ready to lease yet. We were planning to lease next spring but my lesson horse of 3+ years died a few weeks of ago. My riding friend was a very strong, 17.2hh thoroughbred. I now ride a much smaller horse and although he is very big boned and sturdy, the extra weight has become even more worrisome for me.

I'd love to join in on the weight loss challenge.

A Mom who Luvs2Ride

Jami Davenport said...

LJS, glad to have you join me. I'm going to put everyone on the honor system. When can report here once a week on Sundays as to how we do.

My husband is also a type-1 diabetic.

Jami Davenport said...


I don't think trail riding is nearly as strenuous as dressage. I don't work up a sweat riding on trails, but I certainly do when I ride my mare in dressage.

Jami Davenport said...


I have always been a high-energy person, but I turned 50 this year, and it seems like I'm slowing down. Somehow I still manage to clean the house, work, and write. It's the riding I wasn't doing. I'm happy to report that I did ride tonight.

I'm happy to have you join us. We'll see if we make it through the holidays without putting on weight.

Jami Davenport said...


I'd love to have you join us. We'll all keep each other going. I really need to get this weight off before my stepdaughters wedding next March!

Anonymous said...

Gulp - I'm gonna do it, too.

I recently came off a long illness and am just getting some strength back. But the "perfect storm" of prednisone and menopause left me with no muscle tone, plus a very big stomach.

I had a fun with grooming binge at a pony barn a couple of weeks ago but had to take muscle relaxers for almost a week after.

Obviously, I need to start with more walking and some weights -- and a little less, but some more, grooming. So, I'm in, too.

Francesca Prescott said...

Hi Jami! I'm definitely in. Olivia having hurt her hands at the end of August, I've been riding Kwintus about five times a week ever since. Kwintus looks and feels amazing, but I still get a little winded after ten minutes of sitting trot (Kwint has a very big movement!). I'm sure my stamina would improve if I dropped a couple of kilos (I have to work out the pounds to kilos ratio!). I've recently taken up Pilates again, going to class twice a week, which will definitely help; I went Tuesday and boy was I stiff yesterday! As a fellow-writer, I know what you mean about spending too much time sitting on your butt. Mine is smushed flat today and could do with being plumped out like pillows! Are we going to monitor our progress (or lack of progress) in public?
xx Francesca