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Posts Tagged ‘smart women’

MYTH: “If you don’t have a ‘rider’s body,’ you’ll never ride well, no matter what you do.”

TRUTH: Regardless of how you’re built, riding well takes work and dedication.

This is one of the big myths Melinda Folse, author of the bestselling SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES, makes sure she busts well and good in her new book RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN. Most of us remember a time or place, in the barn or in a lesson, when someone said something (maybe about us…maybe about someone else) like, “She has the perfect body for riding,” or “She’ll always have trouble looking graceful on horseback with her figure.” And no doubt we tucked it away and remembered it, every time we tried to zip up our chaps or pulled on our breeches thereafter.

But the truth actually matters here, so it’s time we’re convinced of it, so let’s let Melinda do the convincing. Here’s what she says in RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN:

 

body-silhouette-standing-woman-1Yes, riding well does come more easily to some than others, but the biomechanics of riding well are much more important than being “built to ride.” Consider these statements:

“You’re built to ride. You’re going to be a natural!”

“Oh, honey, you’re just not built to ride. You can take some lessons and enjoy riding for fun, but you’ll never be a serious rider.”

Statements like these can put your mind in a dark realm of self-doubt before you ever set foot in a stirrup.

The Greater Truth we need to have a firm grasp on here is a rider with a “perfect rider’s build,” can actually feel heavier to a horse than a stubby, stocky rider who knows how to distribute her weight and balance. Without exception, every single expert I spoke with while researching my book RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN agreed that it’s not so much how you’re built or how much you weigh as it is how you use the body weight you have that determines whether—and how well—you can ride. Or, as Susan Harris likes to put it, “It’s not what you have, but how you use it that counts.”

And, while it is true that some physical features are an advantage in riding, not having these features is by no means a deal-breaker when it comes to riding well. Harris says that if you’re a larger rider—either with a naturally large “frame” or someone with a smaller frame who has put on some weight—you have options.

“The important thing,” she emphasizes, “is to be as fit as you can be in your core.”

Harris is a firm believer that with solid core strength and a willingness to work on your riding skills, riding—and riding well—is a very achievable goal for anyone. The key, she says, is recognizing that happiness in this pursuit is part balance, part saddle fit, part educating yourself about what kind of horse will make a good choice for you, and part finding the kinds of personal adjustments (across the board) that will bring you the freedom and enjoyment you crave in your experiences with horses.

Here are a few #Hoofpicks to take to the barn with you (you know, some ideas that help clean out the mud, muck, debris, and “poo” in our heads when it comes to how we think we look and how we think that defines what we can do with our horses):

1 Educate yourself on what makes a horse able carry to a little more weight. Using the rule-of-thumb (that actually has nothing to do with thumbs) as your starting point, remember to take into consideration the horse’s build, his level of fitness for the job you’re asking him to do, your level of fitness, and how well you are able to use your own energy to lighten his load.

2 Learn how to “find your spot.” This is not about how you look when you’re trying to get in balance and connect with your horse’s movement and energy. This is about how you feel. When you find it, you’ll know it.

3 Think, listen, and respond to your horse based on your own observations and feel—over the directives or expectations of others. Proper form can be taught, but finding the feel is something you have to do on your own. Listen to your instructors, but listen to your own body and the response of your horse even more.

4 Care for your horse’s body just as you’re learning to care for your own. Taking time to educate yourself and find reliable bodywork practitioners will help you keep your horse’s muscles and frame in good shape for the long haul. Learn to incorporate habits and routines such as stretches, core work, massage, chiropractic, and craniosacral therapy will keep your horse healthy and better able to perform.

riding-thr-thickthin-lgFor more positive, proactive ways to find your way past the perils of poor body image, check out RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN by Melinda Folse. Happiness in our bodies is not only possible—it may be far easier than we think.

CLICK HERE to see more. Now through December 14, 2016, you can get 20% off plus FREE SHIPPING at www.horseandriderbooks.com.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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A decade ago, if we were asked to name the single universal hurdle that most people must clear in order to have horses in their life, we might have said, “Money.” I think that is changing.

Make no mistake, riding horses, buying horses, and caring for horses is still an expensive hobby/habit/obsession/passion…but these days, I find those who wish for a few hours in the barn or on the trail are inhibited less by their bank account and more by depleted time stores. With all that we do, with all that we have, with globalization, world travel, smashed glass ceilings, and working parents, we have little time for much else outside the daily to-dos. And perhaps even more than money, horses require time.

So how do we put on the brakes in the middle of heavy traffic? How do we cut speed when we’re surrounded by others traveling a million-miles-an-hour? In her bestselling, you-CAN-get-there-from-here-book THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES, author and midlife horsewoman (against the modern-day-working-mom odds) Melinda Folse provides valuable ideas for making room and making time for horses…in a crowded life where there’s NEVER enough time. (You can order your copy of Melinda’s book from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always free—CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW.)

Try this exercise from THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES and get started “clearing your own trail” today…so you can be riding tomorrow:

1  Track your time use in a journal for a full week. At the end of the week, group your entries into the following categories:

WORK

SLEEP

HOME (household tasks and errands)

PEOPLE (family and friends)

PERSONAL MAINTENANCE (bathing, dressing, personal appointments, and tasks)

SELF (activities that renew you mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually)

Tally the total time spent each week in each category. These numbers reveal where your priorities are right now. Is this a life of balance and joy? What adjustments do you need to make? What do you wish your priorities were?

3  Now reorder your priorities to reflect the “horsey” life you want to lead in terms of how you spend your time. Use this new list as your guide as you start to enforce your new set of priorities by saying “No,” scheduling less, and canceling engagements until you reach a balance of time and choice that reflects your personal values and who you want to become.

Find more fun, easy-to-implement advice on finding horses again, or for the very first time, in THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES by Melinda Folse.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW.

And check out the great videos about how horses can bring fun, fulfillment, fitness, and friendship into your life by clicking on the Vodpod Featured Videos widget on the right side of this page.

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TSB author Melinda Folse with her Midlife Horses Trace and Rio.

Forget the term “midlife crisis” and all the worn, over-used (and often guy-centric) cliches that go along with it (fast cars, fast women, fast food)…we’re talking Midlife Horses.

Women today are particularly prone to midlife crises. Many of us reach middle age completely exhausted (working mom syndrome). Time for ourselves has plunged to a mere 54 minutes a day, down from 1.6 hours in 1977, according to the Families and Work Institute.  “We are anxious, dissatisfied, insecure and, above all, desperate to stop pleasing others for a single afternoon and start doing something for ourselves,” states The Washington Post.

And what IS that “something else,” exactly?

According to the American Horse Council, of the 9.2 million horses in America today, about 75 percent are owned by women over 40.

Midlife Horses, indeed.

What is it that horses do for women at this time of life that makes them such a draw? Do you know the answer? Do you want to find out? It’s time to join in the discussion, the debate, the camaraderie, and the flat-out FUN, that a group of like-minded women dealing with the same questions, the same struggles, the same challenges as you can promise. Whether you have a horse or not, whether owning a horse of your own is in the near future or remains a hazy and distant dream you can’t quite lay your finger on, TSB author Melinda Folse has created the online hub of information and sharing you’ve craved.

Finding herself to be just one among millions of Baby Boomer women who once dreamed of horses and are now recapturing that dream, Melinda let her own struggles do the talking in her forthcoming book THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES—a tongue-in-cheek account that is a little bit memoir, a little more self-help, a whole lot of practical guidebook, and all heart. This is the book Melinda wishes she had been able to find when she made the bold decision to get back in the saddle at age forty-five.

In the spirit of searching, sharing, and squaring up the reality of owning and caring for a real live horse that her book inspires, Melinda has pulled together a Facebook page and blog centered around being a woman, being a woman in midlife, and being a woman in love with Midlife Horses. Check it out, share your story, offer a tip—we hope this community helps legions of women find their soul’s calling, and find it on the back (or at the side) of a horse.

You can pre-order THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES at the TSB bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

And while you’re there, sign up to win a $100 gift certificate at www.horseandriderbooks.com! Look for the sweepstakes banner at the bottom of the home page.

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