If you read the magazine, listen our new podcast The Ride, or follow us on social media, you'll know that we take fitness very seriously. Because we can't expect our horse to be fit enough to do their job properly if we're not fit enough to do our part.
So when my coworker approached me about joining a boxing gym that's right across the street from our work, I immediately said yes. I was coming back from a back injury (probably from all those years of riding) that left me unable to work out for three years, and it had me feeling out of shape and unable to keep up with the horses I ride.
Applying it to Horses
It turns out that there are a lot of similarities between stepping into a horse-show ring and stepping into a boxing ring. Take working a cow horse—something I've recently started doing (read about my experience here). A big part of working the cow is being able to read what the cow is doing.
You also have to remember to read your own horse and know what he's going to do before he does it on top of remembering what you need to be doing. When you step into a boxing ring, you need to be able to read the person who is standing directly in front of you. See where they step, what they're going to do with their upper body, and most importantly, know when they're going to swing at you.
Working with the Community
But let's get to the point of this blog. I'm definitely not here to tell everyone they need to go join a boxing gym immediately to improve their riding skills—although I highly recommend adding some kind of fitness routine to your daily life. (Don't have access to a gym? Check out these at-home workouts from H&R's fitness expert Kelly Altschwager here, here, and here.)
I'm here to tell you how I'm starting out the new year by getting out of my comfort zone and working with Hearts & Horses along the way.
Someone very wise once told me that the best way to see what you're made is by getting uncomfortable. Being able to push yourself past that limit allows you to accomplish things you could only dream of. For the first time in a long time, I won't be walking into a horse-show ring (the place I'm probably most comfortable) but stepping into a boxing ring.
This charity boxing match happens once a year, where people from around the community get together to raise money for local charities they're passionate for while they're training for an actual boxing match (like get-punched-in-the-face boxing). Which is why it made complete sense to fight for Hearts & Horses.
When I'm not waking up at 4 a.m. to get to my first workout of the day, I'll be writing about this nonprofit and my experience along the way. I'm also going to be visiting this center in a few weeks and will bring you along that day via our Facebook and Instagram stories, and maybe even get a podcast interview so you can learn more about therapeutic riding and how important it is to the community.
And if you would like to donate to this amazing cause you can do so here.
In the meantime, tell me what kinds of things you are doing to get out of your comfort zone (whether it's with your horse or not) this year? And I want to know, who would you fight for if given the chance?