Welcome to the dressage spot, a place for the young (or young at heart) dressage riders wanting to gain information on the sport of dressage, training tips, equine health care, maintenance and fun!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Healthy Living

      Not a lot to say this week.  Sorry, I had final exams and a whole bunch of applications and paperwork to complete.  So first let me remind everyone to get their EDAP forms for 2013 sent in.  Even if you applied before you can and have to apply again each year.  Most GMO’s and USDF and USEF grant applications are coming due soon.  Check your due dates. 

     While studying for exams I thought you might like to know a few tips I picked up that help not only with school but also with riding.  I make a de-stress smoothie that is supposed to lower stress hormones.  It uses dark chocolate.  Put dark chocolate chips in either frozen chocolate yogurt or pudding.  Also to increase concentration levels I pack a ‘focus snack mix’ to use for studying or at the show grounds.  Mix you choice of nuts I use pecans because the original version called for walnuts that I am allergic to.  Mix those with your choice of dry cereal and a pinch of cinnamon and sugar.  The Omega-3’s are supposed to help with concentration.  A post ride smoothie is a banana, chocolate milk and a bit of low fat frozen yogurt.  The protein and carbs will help muscle recovery.  Finally, a great study energy snack that isn’t full of sugar is popcorn with dark choc chips or chunks of chocolate.  Anyway try some and share your ideas for healthy snacks. 

     Speaking of health, when I look around at horse shows or dressage events I am always comforted by looking at the older people in our sport.  They all look fit and at least 10-20 years younger than their ages.  Yes readers take the compliment, it gives me great hope.  I assume it is our sport that creates good health or maybe certain types of people self-select to ride dressage.  Perhaps it is being outdoors all the time and having jobs that keep us out of the office and our butts from growing in chairs.  We should be thankful for that.  Anyway as a small sort of wimpy girl (yes I am jealous of my friends Genay and Brandi for their inherent athleticism) I have to work to build muscle and strength.  So here are some great exercises to help.  For lower body strength stand with your weight on your left leg and hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your palm facing you.  Hinge forward at the waist, lowering the dumbbell as you lift your right leg up till it is parallel to the ground.  Squeeze your legs and butt to return to start.  Do 2 sets of 8 reps each leg.  To strengthen my core (beside all the usual planks and crunches) I do single leg squats.  Take a weight (about 2 lbs) in each hand.  Stand with feet about shoulder with apart. Lift your left leg to 45 degrees and raise your arms out in front of you to shoulder height.  Drop your hips and back as if to sit down as deep as you can and still keep your balance.  Hold it for 1 second and then rise.  Do 10 reps each side twice.   

    A final note from Shauntel, when starting with shoulder in left, be careful when you change to the new direction that the haunches aren’t in!  This may not seem like a big deal, and it can be fixed quickly, but there are BIG deductions for such a small error. 

    Stay tuned.  My next blog I will tape lessons with Jeremy and will watch them and write up some direct tips for Young riders. 


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