MG Community: Work, Eat, Ride, Repeat

As you all know, ManeGirls was created on the foundation of finding commonality and community in our difficult and all-consuming sport, by coming the realization that the three of us were struggling with the same things at the same time, and there was no sense in tackling these things alone. For us, this adventure is just as much about sharing with you, as having you share with us! One of the ways we thought we could connect with you ManeBabes a little better was to open the doors for you to ask questions! On the home page of our website we’ve give you the ability to connect with us. What would you like to hear from us?

One of our lovely Babes sent us this email, and we’re super duper excited to respond to it because it’s not only a great question (or series of questions), but it is also extremely relevant for us, and therefore we believe it will be relevant for you all too!

Laura writes:
“I would love to hear your views on the important of a “program” – both for horse and rider. As an ammy with a desk job with a too-smart mare who finds all sorts of fun (read: demonic) training evasions, I am forever trying to balance my own career, fitness and saddle time. Add in trying to balance my mare’s workload with my lessons and shows and trying to make sure she gets occasional training rides but also some more low-key days, and things can get complicated. Would also love to see a “typical week” program for each of you, and your lovely unicorns! Maybe it will give me ideas and/or inspo to get my ass in gear!”

To answer this, we’ve decided to respond separately, since we all have different lifestyles and schedules to manage.

 

H-Love says:

I can tell from your email that you’re on the right track, because the answer to your question is right there: PROGRAM! I think a lot of people shy away from rigorous scheduling, because it can often feel like failure if you can’t meet an obligation, but I’m a fundamental believer in organization and scheduling both in the short and long term.

My story is that I have a desk job that revolves around a different time zone (eastern), so my days start early and often end early too. This gives me freedom and flexibility for the afternoons, but man is it hard to find any motivation at 3:30pm. This is where my scheduling comes in. If I have specific places I need to be (especially if there are people to see in those places!) it helps me a lot to keep moving. I’ve always found that the busier a person is, the better they become at time management.

The things I need to balance are my work, riding, fitness, responsibilities at home, and my “me” time (so important!). My schedule is allowed to be flexible and things are allowed to come and go from that schedule, but it remains organized, and I always give things a go for a week or two before I decide if they fit or not. I also lean on others for help. This comes in the form of our coach doing a training ride on my young horse, or having a (trusted) friend take her for a hack.

The most frustrating part of my day is my commute. I live a 15 minute walk to my work, but I live a 35 minute drive (that becomes 50 minutes at 4pm!) from the barn. I’ve been trying to find a way to use my commute as some of my “me” time, whether I listen to some new music or just try to relax and enjoy the time alone, rather than being mad at the F**KING TRAFFIC! This is not perfected, and remains a source of frustration for me as it feels wasteful and unproductive.

Here’s a snapshot of my week:

 
Work
Horses
Fitness
Monday
Office 7:00-3:00(ish)
Flat – Carma 4:30(ish) PM
Gym (solo) 5:45-6:30 AM
Tuesday
Office 6:30-3:00(ish)
Flat – Carma
My friend or coach will ride this day
Gym (with trainer) 4:00-5:00 PM
Wednesday
Office 6:30-3:00(ish)
Jumping lesson – Carma 5:30(ish) PM
OFF
Thursday
Office 7:00-3:00(ish)
Flat – Carma 4:30(ish) PM
Gym (solo) 5:45-6:30 AM
Friday
Office 6:30-2:30
Jumping lesson – Carma 5:30(ish) PM
Gym (with trainer) 3:00-4:00 PM
Saturday
OFF
OFF
I try to do something active Saturday or Sunday, but it can be anything! No specific plan.
Sunday
OFF
Flat – Carma 11:00(ish)

Polo practice 2:00(ish)

Now, this isn’t foolproof. Things change. People get sick. Horse shows happen. Special events come up. Work runs late. But, it’s a pretty easy place to start!

 

Ranchero says: 

I love routine and I generally follow mine to a T. I basically have the same list of things to manage as H-Love (work, riding, fitness, responsibilities at home, and my “me” time) but I do it slightly differently.

I also have a desk job that I must answer to, however being my own boss allows me to have the flexibility to make my own hours. Having said that, I must be a glutton for punishment because my days start at 5:00am (gross). For me part of my “me time” is working out, I really find that I am a better person overall when I have either hit the gym or hit the road for a run, and what I have found through some trial and error is that working out in the mornings is what I have to do. After the gym I usually head to the barn (unless there is a pressing work task) and ride either one or both of my horses. After that it’s back home to my desk for the balance of the day. Taking the time in the morning to do what I love sometimes means that my work day doesn’t end until well after dinner, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. There are times when work responsibilities or a social engagement will throw a wrench in my plans and in those moments, I try to lean on a friend or our coach to lighten the load. It’s important to recognize when you need help and not to be ashamed to ask for it!

Along with this I find meal planning especially helpful; sometimes I’m running around from the gym to the barn, home to change, out to a client meeting without a moment to think and if I don’t have something easy to grab I will either not eat (NOT GOOD) or end up at Starbucks 3 times a day (NOT GOOD EITHER).

Here is an example of my week:

 
Work
Horses
Fitness
Monday
10:30 – when I’m done
CBX – jump school
Aloha – Off
Gym 6:00 – 7:00
Tuesday
Work at client office
CBX – lunge in pessoa
Aloha – lunge in pessoa
Gym 6:00 – 7:00
Wednesday
11:00 – when I’m done
CBX – Hack
Aloha – Jump school
Run – 5:30 to 6:30(ish)
Thursday
10:30 – when I’m done
CBX – jump school
Aloha – Off
Gym 6:00 – 7:00
Friday
11:00 – when I’m done
CBX – light hack or trail ride
Aloha – Hack
Swim or Run 6:00 – 7:00
Saturday
OFF
CBX – Hack
Aloha – Hack
Off
Yoga
Sunday
Any catch up that needs to be done
CBX – light hack or trail ride
Aloha – light hack or trail ride
Run or Hike

Looking at this you will notice that CBX doesn’t really get much for days off, and this is because that is what works for him – I don’t think most horses need to go 7 days a week but at this stage in this life he needs to go out and do something (even just a walk) every day to not turn into a holy terror. Aloha however is much less energetic and can get away with a couple days off.

As H-Love said, this isn’t set in stone as things happen, but having a plan like this really helps me to keep the ball rolling 🙂

 

Apes says:          

OK, so my reply to this question may read like a little convoluted but bear with me here. I work full time with some flexibility for hours as long as I am in the office by 9 am and work an eight hour day. I also teach and train on the side to help support my horse, and my unfortunate champagne tastes on a beer budget. Recently I also decided I needed to get back into running and am currently signed up for a half marathon this fall. You know, cause who needs sleep anyway? I use the Nike Run Club app for my run training and love it. You can design your program based on your fitness level and goals, and it is so helpful to stay focused. My current program also incorporates Nike Training Club workouts that can be done anywhere with little to no equipment making it attainable even with a crazy schedule and especially for someone like me who is pretty much allergic to gyms.

I find for me I always have the best intentions when planning my week and days, but things happen, including sleepy Apes turning off her alarm clock in the morning. Something like that can throw my entire day off and make me feel pretty bad about things. But we’re only human right? So I try to do the best that I can for my clients, my horse, and myself. Often Fire will be the last one I get to in a long day, and that’s not always ideal with a young horse. I have learned, (the hard way) that some days just lunging is OK. Or even just a light hack or an extra day off if things go sideways is better than a fight. I do need to incorporate more fun times for Fire though, like trail rides and adventures.

Here is a look at what a “typical” week looks like for me, although it seems to change on the regular. Allowing some flexibility in my schedule is huge for me when working around so many different variables and people.

Work
Horses
Fitness
Monday
Office 8am-4pmish, No Teaching
Fire – Jumping Lesson
Short Run
Tuesday
Office 7am-3pm, Teach/Ride 3:45-6/7pm
Fire – Hack
Nike Workout
Wednesday
Office between 7/9am-3/5pm, Teach 6:30-8pm
Fire – Lunge/Hack
Run
Thursday
Office 7am-3pm, Teach/Ride 3:30-8pm
Fire – Day Off
Rest Day
Friday
Office between 7/9am-3/5pm, No Teaching
Fire – Jumping Lesson
Short Run
Saturday
OFF
Fire – Hack
Rest Day
Sunday
Teach/Ride 8:30am-1pm give or take
Fire – Hack
Long Run 10K+

 
~until next time, Babes. xoxo, MG

Bring your friends!

So, for real – there are lot of pressures in this world. We are all learning how to navigate all this pressure; social, societal, personal, familial, etc. One of the big troublemakers is body image. PSA: This is not easy to manage. We know. We’re trying our best, and still struggle. There is so much fitness stuff online, and it is important for us (like, not just us, all of our ManeGirls!) to remember why we value fitness. It would be super cool to have washboard abs and stuff, but for most of us it is not a reasonable lifestyle, nor is it a realistic ideal (for whole series of reasons, including, but not limited to, personal goals, other health issues, and genetics). We three are here to share our honest stories and opinions with you. We understand your struggle, and we’re here to waive a flag and say it’s okay to be a work-in-progress!

With this in mind, we’ve decided to share some of the ways we manage our health and fitness goals. We’re not trainers, we’re not experts, we’re just people. We don’t all have the same goals, but we all can pretty much agree that we want to ensure longevity in our sport and that we’re being as effective as possible in the saddle. We plan to share with you some of the things we work on to be in good condition to ride, and be healthy and happy in our professional and personal lives.

Before this group was started, a couple of us used to exercise in the gym pretty regularly, and occasionally take to our local trails to hike, but then life got in the way. Since our health (your health!) is such a huge priority, we’ve decided to lean on each other for support once more.

Last week, we started hiking again! April and I had sore backs, and Riki is the fittest, but she’s also patient. We took a nice brisk walk around the scenic route of our local trail system on a beautiful Saturday morning, and the view from the top was breathtaking! We’re lucky that we live in such a beautiful part of the world, and I think you’ll find no matter where you live there will be a system of trails or paths available to you to walk or hike. The most crucial aspect, and our tip for the day, is to bring your friends! Having a workout buddy has this built in accountability where you don’t want to let anyone down by not showing up, and you know it’s going to be fun because your friends are hysterical. We’re going to try our best to keep up this plan of going for a hike every weekend, as long as we’re not at a show or away, as this is one way we can work on our cardio and get some fresh air. We had lots of fun, and some good chats and laughs along the way.

So, grab your barn friends and head out on a trail together on foot, instead of in the saddle. You’ll be glad you did.

~H