Friday, September 25, 2009

The horse does all the work

I am really, really sick of hearing this. I just had one co-worker make this joke as we were standing around this morning. I laughed because I know full well this person knows how physically intense riding can be. But then another co-worker piped up and said “that’s what I think” with such a superior tone as to suggest her opinion is the only one that is possibly correct. I have to admit, someone shamefully, that I was instantly angry. I refrained from showing it as best I could and I managed not to say anything too rude. It doesn’t help that this person was already getting under my skin lately with her my-opinion-is-the-only-truth approach. So I was already sick of it and then that just hit too close to home.

Why do so many people assume riding is so easy? I’d love to see any one of them do squats on a moving “base” for even a few minutes, let alone on and off for an hour. Or maintain core tension for an entire hour while simultaneously not being tense and operating your limbs independently of one another, also on a moving base. Or balancing all your weight on the balls of your feet and calves, using lots of inner thigh, while said moving base throws itself through the air over obstacles. Not to mention helping balance the horse. Or even more challenging (for me) is keeping the horse “between” your seat/legs and hands with a soft, following hand, a relaxed seat, while performing lateral movements. This gets me exhausted faster than just about any activity I’ve ever done, and my usual favorite activities are cross-country skiing and rock climbing!!

I said that it sounded about as silly as saying that riding a bike isn’t exercise. WHOA! That got a strong reaction! But your legs move when you ride a bike, they said. How dare I suggest something so ridiculous? I had to laugh. Then, I couldn’t stop the sarcasm, “Oh, you’re right, your legs don’t move or do any work when riding a horse.”

Ok, so I was at work and had to maintain my cool, but I was really pissed off. To me, it’s simply ignorant to suppose your opinion is right about something you have never experienced. And it’s not just here; a lot of people seem to be very set in this idea. I know, I shouldn’t let it get to me but it just makes no sense whatsoever. Even worse are those who have gone on one trail ride and therefore “know” what riding is like.

Sorry for the rant but I really needed to get that out. Now, I am going to try to turn “frustrated Friday” into “Fun Friday”…I get to go to an interesting presentation this afternoon.


Once Upon an Equine said...

Yeah, I hear ya. I think the people who view riding as easy have either never ridden a horse at all or have only ridden a dude string/rental horse where they just sit on it while the horse walks along following the horse in front of it. Invite your co-worker for a ride in an english saddle at walk/trot/canter without stirrups. No, better not...too much liability. ;-)

Golden the Pony Girl said...

Totally agree. I hate that comment and it comes up all too often in conversations. Maybe it is because most people in the US really have zero knowledge or experience with equestrian sports? I would love to visit Great Britain some day where horse back riding is actually a respected and popular sport. It would be the opposite feeling my poor husband felt when he tried to talk American football in Venezuela! Sometimes I feel that I live in the wrong country.

Golden the Pony Girl said...

Whoops just noticed you actually live in Canada not the US. Since I have never been (though I am moving to Manitoba in about 9 months) I do not know how popular equestrian sports are. Is it similar to the US in that respect?

RuckusButt said...

Once Upon - lol. That's exactly what I think. Imagine someone like that on a Fjord? I'm giggling just thinking about how much leg is often required to convince Edgar that the barn doesn't actually have a ginormous gravitational pull! It would be too much liability, they wouldn't last a second.

Golden - you might have a point. Ontario is pretty big in terms of equestian sports but I guess most people still have no clue. It would be nice to get more respect!

I just wonder why so many non-horse people need to make assumptions about the sport as opposed to keeping an open mind. It's weird.

RuckusButt said...

Golden - we posted at the same time. I imagine it's about the same, with some areas being more "horsey" than others.

Golden the Pony Girl said...

It is strange, in addition to the general ignorance there also does seem to be a negative attitude towards it as well. If it was just a general lack of knowledge I could handle that but it is when people have such negative opinions of something they have never even tried. That gets under my skin!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Someone was trying to tell me how easy riding was a few weeks ago. Apparently his in-laws from his former marriage had horses and they used to ride them. It was easy, you just sat there. I just did the smile and nod thing but in my head I was thinking I would love to see him come and try to ride Bonnie for five seconds. Because it's so easy - hah!!

RuckusButt said...

Melissa, you are stronger than I. I couldn't help but make a few snarky remarks. Putting someone like that on Bonnie would serve them right but I'd feel really sorry for Bonnie :)

HorseOfCourse said...

Oh, I get provoked by that statement.

I often have it in the back of my head while I am riding with sweat trickling down my spine during a dressage session.
Getting off the horse and smelling like something the dog dragged in, aching all over the body the day after.
Just sitting there.
No effort at all.

RuckusButt said...

Ha ha, good description HoC! I'm glad to know I'm not alone in letting it get me riled up. It's also really nice to have people that understand.

Happy weekend everyone!

Once Upon an Equine said...

...and RuckusButt, on a Fjord they would also need a lot of upper body strength to keep their mount from planting its head in the grass during a ride. Tee hee. I get a full body workout when I ride Marley.