Friday, September 14, 2012

Fitness Friday

After two weeks, both Winston and I are making progress.

Annette's Report
My goal is to lose one pound per week.  I've completed two weeks and I've lost two pounds so I'm on track.  I'm more interested in getting my fitness back, both from a cardiovascular standpoint and building strength.  I had my first session with my personal trainer, Dominique, at the gym on Monday.  The session the previous week had been an intake assessment (and sales pitch).  Dominique got right to work, taking my measurements and weighing me for our benchmark.  Then she bounced her cute blond body, tiny and fit, over to the free weights.  It was intimidating.  We were surrounded by a herd of huge body builders - a petite blond and a middle-aged whale.  She had me doing lifts and presses for shoulder strength.  She would demonstrate, hand the weights to me, smile with a mixture of friendliness, encouragement and evil enjoyment - and start counting the reps.  After we finished with the shoulder work, she had me do abdominal crunches and sit-ups and other (impossible) exercises.  A woman was sitting on the mat next to the sit up bench, watching me.  She looked to be just a tad younger than me, fit and lean, with fun spiky hair.  She smiled in a friendly way at my agony and assured me it would come with time.  I've been doing a couple sets of abdominal crunches every day at home - my abs are so weak and they are so important for riding.  I know that as I build muscle, the weight loss may slow down but as long as my fitness improves and the soggy factor diminishes, I'm okay with that.

Winston's Report
Winston was worked five days this week: four days of arena work and one day on the trail.  I read an article in Dressage Today, by Cindy Ishoy (the Canadian Olympian and trainer) about working with green horses.  She gives an example of a warm-up that she finds helps with getting the horse supple and swinging through the back.  So I tried it.

It isn't rocket science, but is works very well for Winston.  She says it is best to start a green horse with focus on balance, consistency, and response to the aids.  If the horse is ridden with fairness and sensitivity, you will have a great base and a willing partner.  Winston agrees.  After walking on the buckle for five minutes, I take up the contact and we continue to walk.  I counter-flex him a tad on the long side and then flex him in on the short side.  Then we do some trot work -- big circles and serpentines.  Finally some canter warm up.  I had been waiting to canter until later in my work with Winston, but I found that he has more energy in the beginning so he is willing and happy to jump into the canter.  The kicking out and bucking diminished and then disappeared completely.  And the best part was that I could feel his happiness.  The warm up work was helping him swing, helping him be supple from side to side and from front to back.  He was being successful and he likes that.

He greets me at the gate, ready to go to work, and he hangs around there when we finish not wanting to lose the bond we are creating.

In other news... Brett developed a rash around his waist earlier this week.  We thought it was a heat rash from all the hours he spent in a wool uniform in hot, hot weather.  The rash didn't improve and became increasingly painful.  Seriously painful.  He went to the doctor yesterday and discovered that he has shingles.  Ouch.


  1. oh, no! i'm so sorry for brett! i have heard how terribly painful shingles can be!!

  2. I liked that Cindy Ishoy article too - glad to hear it worked well for you and (darling, darling) Winston. :D

    Poor Brett! I hope the doctors have helped make him more comfortable.

  3. poor guy, he must really be hurting. hope he can still ride in tomorrow's clinic.

  4. Oh no! I just got a shingles shot 2 days ago. They told me it cuts your risk in half. I didn't know that - I was hoping for 99%.

  5. Weight loss is such a tricky thing. People are always surprised that I weigh so much for my size, in which I have to explain that muscle weighs much more than fat.

    Poor Brett. Shingles is horrible!

  6. The minute you said that about Brett I knew it was shingles. Painful for sure. Hope it disappears as quickly as possible. Good for you and your training...sounds like it's right for you and Winston. Your toes must be doing well.

  7. Poor Brett! I can't believe he wasn't moping around in pain with Shingles. I hope he takes it easy! And it is a good thing your foot is doing better. Had he gotten Singles last month it would have been terrible!

  8. Oh Hell! Shingles is a real pain! Had it some years ago, I can totally sympathise with Brett! Give him my best, and although it goes eventually, I still get a distinct sensetivity around the area where I had the damn stuff!
    On another matter, fitness is cool, and your right there is always those looks from experienced Gym people! But hey?You`ll be there soon!

  9. I hope Brett gets better soon. All the best with the exercise. I'm sure you will feel so much better once you notice some results.


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