Monday, May 11, 2015

Clothes Do Not Make the Man... er, Woman

I've joked before about how even if I try to look like a Hunter Princess, I completely fail.  And it's true.  You can put me in the exact same Tailored Sportsmans, EIS, and Charles Owen as anyone else who excels at the Hunter Princess Look (Lovely Rider, for instance... who just graduated college this weekend!  Props to her!!!) and I just do. not. look like a Hunter Princess.  So clearly, the clothes do not make the man.  I would say woman here, as I did in my title, but I actually kind of hate that "changing the words to express gender equality" thing.  Not that I don't support the idea of women and men being equal and being paid equally for equal work, yada, yada... it's just that I think merely changing man to woman (or person) doesn't actually promote equality between the sexes.  And also, I don't like change, generally speaking.

Alright, so, I digressed a bit.  Back to the idea of "the clothes don't make the man."  Yesterday is a great example.  I was wearing The Trendy Breeches (TS Trophy Hunters), one of The Trendy Shirts (TS IceFil... I have an EIS, but I really don't love the fit), The Trendy Helmet (Charles Owen AYR8), The Trendy Brand of Half Chaps (Tredstep) and A Trendy Brand of Paddock Boots (Ariat Devon Pro VX).  And a hairnet.  Can't forget the hairnet.  (Honorary Big Sister Jen, what has happened to me?)  So that basically reads like a "Who's Who of Correct (and Expensive) Hunter Princess Apparel", right?  And I should totally look the part, right?  I mean, hell, even my spurs and spur straps came from Beval.  BUT I DON'T.

Now, I will always joke that I am completely incapable of looking like a Hunter Princess.  And in reality, that's totally fine.  I don't spend the money on these things because I'm trying to look the part; I spend the money on these things because I absolutely believe that quality doesn't cost, it pays.  I've gotten far more use of yesterday's particular pair of TS than I have from any other pair of breeches.  A few weeks ago, Husband (have I used his real name here before?  I don't remember, it's been so long) actually asked if they were new.  Yup, three years ago they were new.  But yesterday, I looked at some pictures that Husband took while he was at the barn with me.  And the fact of the matter is this:

Right now, part of the reason I do not look like a Hunter Princess is because I am too heavy.

There.  I said it to the world.

Now, don't take this to mean that I think one needs to be model-thin to be a rider.  You don't need a thigh gap, or a cute booty, or impossibly long legs.  You just don't.  But you DO need to be fit.  And you DO need to be strong (not weight-lifter strong... but strong in your core).  And right now, I am not either of those.

My weight went up and down a bit when I was living in Atlanta (depending on what job I had at the time), but before I was married, I was at a pretty good "fighting weight" for me.  But after moving to New York, I didn't ride for a while, I didn't really work out, and I quit paying attention to what I was eating.  Consequently, I gained weight (big surprise) and ended up at basically the heaviest I've ever been and coming dangerously close to an "overweight" BMI.

I've been unhappy with my weight for a while now and had started taking steps towards making improvements.  I've been much better lately about watching what I eat and had lost a little weight - I'm starting to see a bit of a difference - but I hadn't realized what I looked like when I'm on a horse.  Seeing the pictures from yesterday strengthened my resolve to stay on track food-wise, but more importantly, to really make it a point to work out, get fitter, and get stronger.  It's not fair to me and it's not fair to the horses to have to lug around more weight than is really necessary.  And if I am serious about wanting to improve as a rider, then I need to really think of myself as an athlete.  And no serious athlete is okay with carrying around twenty extra pounds.  It's harder on the joints.  It's harder on the body.  And it's much harder to be effective when you're lugging around dead weight.

So today it starts.  I need better endurance so I'm not so dead after riding four horses (which I did yesterday).  I need better core strength to be able to support my position so I don't fall off during a spin and a buck (which I did on Saturday).  I need better leg strength so I don't get left behind on a horse with a big jump over an oxer (which I did last week).  I'm going to work out over my lunch break today (beginning a MWF schedule), alternating through cardio (for better endurance), core, and weight training.  And tomorrow (altering my usual T-Th schedule) I come into work early so I can leave early and ride two horses in the evening instead of my usual one.  I will go rock climbing with Husband at least one evening per week.  And I will continue to spend at least one entire day at the barn on the weekend, riding as many horses as possible.

I need to be an athlete so the horses I ride can be athletes.

And so my show coat fits.

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