Friday, June 17, 2016

Schedules vs. Flexibility

Mallory is always a joy to ride.

I’ve never been much of a scheduled person. I can make out schedules with the best of them, but sticking with them, well, that’s another story.

My biggest excuse is that I like flexibility. Trouble is, I’m too darned flexible, so I find that I only accomplish what I have to in order to meet a deadline. Christian psychologist Dr. James Dobson calls it, “the tyranny of the urgent.” I tend to see after whatever I feel is urgent, letting other stuff slide. Then I get frustrated because I didn’t do the things I really wanted to do, like ride one of my horses.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need some structure in my life. That means scheduling time with my horses and the gym. I want to ride more, and I need to exercise to gain some strength and flexibility. It’s one thing to lack the strength to pull myself up onto a horse without a mounting block or step-stool. I can rationalize that because it’s better for the horse if a rider doesn’t pull on the saddle with her entire body weight. It’s a sad state of affairs, however,  when I have trouble throwing my leg over the saddle.

So, I came up with a simple, flexible schedule that should allow me more time with my horses and the gym. In the mornings, before the summer temperatures and humidity squeeze the breath and electrolytes out of me, I’ll ride and exercise, but on alternate days. Later in the evenings, when it has begun to cool down, I might work on outside projects, like refinishing porch furniture and planting succulents. I’ll stay indoors and write or do other indoor projects when the sun is at its highest. When winter comes, I’ll ride during the middle of the day, and stay indoors when it’s cold.

I got off to a good start this week, and feel so much better emotionally for having done so. Monday I rode my TWH, Mallory. Tuesday I went to the gym, Wednesday I rode my Cobb pony, Jazzy, and Thursday I was at the gym again. Ideally, I should be at the barn or gym by 7 a.m., but that hasn’t worked exactly as planned. Nevertheless, I’ve been back in the house, showered and dressed by 10:30 each morning, which ain’t half bad. The idea is to rotate the horses, so that I ride Mallory twice and Jazzy once the first week, then Jazzy twice and Mallory once the second week, and so on. That way, each horse will get some much-needed exercise at least three times over a two-week period. The benefits for me are psychological and emotional. 

Jazzy isn’t as excited about my plan as I am. Unlike Mallory, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, Jazzy can be ornery when she hasn’t been ridden in a while. That’s especially true when we’re leaving the barn. (It’s called barn sour.) She dumped me off Thursday. After lunging her in the arena for a few laps in each direction, I got back on and rode for half an hour. Thank goodness for Epsom salts and Tylenol, but my left hip hurts as bad as a country singer’s heartache and I’ll have a hitch in my git-along for a few days.

I would ride Mallory again today, but I have a movie date with my grandsons at the Summit. Like I said, it’s a flexible schedule.


  1. Good for you! I let our gardner go this week and am back in the garden. Started Tuesday and already feel so much better about myself and my life. xxoogg

  2. Bad as a country singer's heartache. Ima liking it. Good post Elaine.