As the creative director of Experience Life, I direct all our fitness photo shoots and meet incredible athletes, from yoga gurus to power lifters. There are times I feel a bit intimidated by their strength and presence. Sometimes they ask me about working out, and my answer is always this: I live on a small horse farm, and my gym is my barn and riding arena. “Oh, that’s great!” is usually the happy reply.
Horses do make people happy: They are beautiful, powerful, and incredible athletes themselves. Horses make me happy every day. They are also a TON of work and luckily for me, the means to my fitness end.
So for my first official blog, I thought it would be fun to put together a “horse chores workout,” complete with my own personal trainer, our Australian Shepherd, Maybelle. She is always encouraging, always at my side. These are the chores I do every day, morning and night. They are the brackets to my days. I’m lucky when I can squeeze in a ride as well, training my two thoroughbred x-racers for dressage and jumping, but these chores are the bulk of my physical activity on the farm.
HORSE CHORES WORKOUT
Wardrobe: Temperatures in Minnesota this time of year hover around 20 degrees F. I don’t go outside without about 12 lbs. of gear including coveralls, a jacket, boots, hat and gloves.
Warm Up: I throw in a quick hamstring stretch while tying winter boots, and walk briskly to the barn.
Meet the Trainer: Maybelle, our five-year-old Australian Shepherd.
Sprints: Whenever possible, run instead of walk, especially uphill.
Through the Fence drills: Too many times to count each day, I crawl through the fence instead of opening and closing gates. Squats or Warrior 3 pose are both great ways to get through. Watch the top wire, though: It’s electric.
Hay Carry and Throw: Think biceps curls and medicine-ball slams.
Grooming: Horses get a quick brush down on the way out of their stalls, so I get a quick arm/shoulder/back workout. Jog them out to their paddocks for additional cardio.
Farmer’s Walk: With 30 pounds of water in each bucket, I top off the water tanks. They are about 250 feet from the spigot, with a through-the-fence squat included. Repeat for three tanks.
Wheelbarrow Dump: After about 10 minutes per stall of scooping, scraping, and sweeping (no need to show the details), dump a full wheelbarrow or two.
Hay Transfer: Transport hay bales (60 pounds) from hay shed to barn. Load tractor or hay wagon and stack in barn hay room.
There you have it: my twice daily workout, give or take a few bales. The only way I can skip a workout is if I hire someone else to come and take over, which only happens on holidays. Horses have to be fed morning and night, stalls need to be cleaned, and I love it. FARM ON!