Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Where did all the sheepskin cribbing collars go?

Riley's cribbing habit generally it has not been a big deal for me, but for his sake I wish he didn't. He doesn't react when I put it on, so maybe it doesn't bother him.

Even so, I've always bought thick sheepskin covers for his collar. They really don't wash well -- no matter what I do they get shrunken and stiff --  so I buy new ones probably every six months.

Last time around I got these custom pink ones, because I could not find manufactured sheepskin strap covers anywhere else -- not at Horseman's Outlet (for you New Jersey-ites) or online.

I finally found some online at FarmHouse Tack -- ECP brand cribbing sheepskins -- but my order at FarmHouseTack.com came back permanently out of stock. The store owner was so nice! She found another brand (Fleeceworks) and ordered them for me.

I have to wonder why these are becoming so hard to find. Those of you who own cribbers, what are you doing?

Sunday, June 4, 2017

2017 goal: Run a half marathon

Or, I could buy a used t-shirt from Ebay
At the start of the new year, I was looking for some new personal goals. Running 5Ks was fun, but while my times were middle-of-the-pack, faster times did not seem that wise for a 55-year-old. Injuries come with speed. Besides, I run to relax and stay fit, not really to be competitive.

I decided to aim for a 10K. This spring I started upping my upper limit distance -- from 5 miles, to 6, and one day I felt great and ran 8 miles. I wondered... Could I do a half-marathon?

I started listening to the Runner's World podcasts -- I highly recommend this article on running mechanics and this podcast on same. If there is a horse tie-in with this post, it's human running mechanics and comparisons with equine mechanics. Joints are joints.

I subscribed to Runner's World. I looked at half-marathons in my area. This last Saturday I ran 9 miles on a cool, wet, windy morning.  Saturday night I signed up for the Via half-marathon in Bethlehem, PA.

Tuesday (yesterday at the time of this writing) I took the afternoon off from work, and decided to run as long as I could. I started to feel tired at 10 miles of running on Lehigh's cross country course, and turned onto a flat trail near there. At mile 11.5, I suddenly started to feel great. The last mile and a half I was accelerating.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Progress! I'm no longer riding half-assed.

"Everything she says is true."
You know how sometimes when you get over one hurdle, other things fall into place?

It happened. And I think I'm riding better.

And to bring on this epiphany, my trainer only had to repeat the key advice for 3-4 years, probably 5,689 times, in as many different ways:
  • Turn him from your outside aids 
  • Put your weight evenly into both stirrups 
  • Make sure your seat bones are weighted evenly 
  • Step into your outside stirrup 
  • Keep your shoulders over your hips 
  • Ride the outside
Chalk it up to feel. 
In the last few months I've been developing a better feel generally for when I am sitting straight versus crooked, esp. on circles and turns. Specifically, I am consciously putting outside seatbone down and in solid contact with the saddle.  This puts my weight solidly over the right knee/heel, making my outside leg drop and relax, and my outside aids are clearer. And it always helps when you keep your eyes up.

Turning left, I exaggerate sitting right, which means I'm better centered and not leaning. I imagine  stretchy elastic string pulling my right seatbone to the right side of my saddle, keeping my weight over and allowing me only post only so high before sucking my seatbone back into place. This way I tuck his shoulder in because my leg is a relaxed, passive barrier -- and I can bump him a bit if he leans. Riley "gets" my newfound outside seatbone, and he obediently keeps his shoulder tcked/aligned around circles. A little inside leg and he offers a true bend. Amazing!

Always leaning in
I'm told that it is natural to want to push off with your dominant leg as a rider. I'm right-handed so the temptation is to push myself right over to the other side of the saddle. What's odd is that turning right, I also lean in, so whatever direction I'm turning, the outside seatbone is hovering somewhere in the vicinity of the saddle but not where it needs to be.

All of these years, I've been riding off my inside seatbone -- literally half-assed.