If you are 25, you probably don’t think about it (-: … or 35 … or even if you’re in your 40’s. It doesn’t really matter exactly when, but at some point the potential effect your age will have on your riding will likely cross your mind. While it jumps out at us that there’s a lot going on physically regarding this topic, it is not the only dimension that’s involved.
But, let’s talk about the physical aspect first. The obvious is that we have to work harder physically each year to maintain the same level of physical conditioning as the year before. For riders, the number one place to stay strong is in our core because that is where we connect to a horse. Interestingly enough … that is also a super important part of our body to keep conditioned to age gracefully in general. A strong core has to do with posture and overall body control and strength … just to name a few. The bottom line is … if you stay disciplined to stay strong in your abs, you’ll ride better (no matter the age) and you’ll do yourself a big favor.
Now, on to the less obvious components of riding and getting older. Often times riders who are no longer in their 20s and 30s, etc., struggle with confidence because they feel insecure next to their younger counterparts.
Here are a couple of thoughts regarding the mental/emotional/spiritual aspects of aging and riding:
1. What do you really want to do NOW? If you want to kick rear in all age rider classes … and do whatever any age rider does, THEN GO FOR IT. Do the physical and mental work to achieve your goals. You might have to work harder, but if it’s what you really want, then the journey is well worth it.
2. What do you really want to do NOW? I ask that question again because sometimes it can be difficult to allow ourselves to embrace a new adventure in riding that is truly in our hearts. There can be all kinds of reasons for this reticence to let go of what we’ve done for so long, but that is often the real issue. But letting go of things you’ve already done can be one of the most WONDERFUL things about getting older. You can do what you really want to do, now.
The measure of all you do has always been what YOU think about it … not what others think about it. Sometimes though in the past, you might have lost sight of this. Time can have a wonderful way of giving us permission to let go of barriers within to finally do what we have dreamed about doing for so long.
3. Think young! Stay energized. Listen to fun music. Know you can! Don’t limit yourself with the excuse of age. Hang with people who are positive and see the best in all things. Let go of worry. Dance a little more. You are the one who determines your zest for life. Age has no barriers on joy. Breathe energy, life and vitality into all you do. If you are wondering about your age and riding, look your fears right in the face. Then, embrace your authentic dreams and celebrate them. Have fun! Have the only measure of your joy be if you enjoy what you are doing.
Keep on moving and conditioning your body. Riding is such a wonderful motivation for that!About the Author Barbra Schulte is a personal performance coach for all riders, a cutting horse trainer, author, speaker, and clinician.
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