dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Art of the Flail

Keeping fit in winter is not easy. Especially when you work. By the time I get home and deal with the chores it's too dark (and cold)  to walk unless I want to drive into town and walk the streets. I do find that unmotivating. When I found that the local firehall held Zumba classes twice a week I was excited.

Zumba is a lot of fun- the dancing takes the grind out of the exercise. I also have found that it has been very good for my core. To be honest, my core has always been pretty much non-existent. After my first winter of going to class I was in a riding a lesson and the instructor said
  'engage your core' 
'Uh Oh'  I thought 'here we go' 
 (by which I mean I will stiffen my torso in a feeble attempt to engage my core and then be told that I am too stiff and to relax and it will become a cycle of futility. ) However, to my surprise, I actually felt an honest to got muscle in my core tighten and do what she asked.

 I don't always make twice a week depending on work but I try. The last two classes, while fun, didn't feel like a great work out to me. So after class I approached the instructor and asked if we could have more cardio in the routine.
'More cardio? What do you mean?'
I explained that I wasn't feeling my heart rate go up like I had in the past.
'ah' she said 'do you wanna know what the problem is? '
'Uh Oh'  I thought (yes I think that a lot)
'when I look out at the class I see you not really going for it. ' And then she modelled what she saw.

I went home and thought about that and realized that she was right. I was trying too hard to get the moves right and not look like an idiot so I wasn't putting myself into it 100%.  I have often been guilty of that in my riding too  (see you patience was rewarded with the connection to riding).

When I ride (especially when I show) I want to look like this:


But I'm afraid that I look like this:


I end up trying too hard to be perfect. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be perfect per se, but it can keep me from really going for it becasue I'm waiting for it to fall into place. And, to be honest, because I don't want to make a fool of myself.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone in this. I have heard over the years various horsewomen (and ones that I profoundly respect) express feeling sorry for their horses because they are not good enough. And we've all had the unsolicited feedback from someone that makes you feel like everyone is watching and judging you.

I remember the one and only time I showed Irish 2nd Level. We were not ready to do it at a show but I set it as a goal and I really wanted to try it. We did and our score was in the 50s. As I was expecting. The judge's comments were that we were not ready to compete at that level. I am really glad that I did though becasue shortly after that Irish's neurological issues came out and he's retired. I have no regrets over showing at 2nd but I would have a ton if I had never tried.

I have decide to embrace 'The Flail'


While I am striving to be perfect I will not be afraid to make a fool of myself trying.

Armed with this new resolve I went to my next Zumba class. I was going to bring it. And I did. (I also apologised to those poor individuals around me). Aso, just FYI, if you challenge your Zumba instructor to make it harder, she's going to take that challenge seriously. I gave up trying to look like this:
And decided I was okay looking like this:

As I result I'm sure that I looked completely spazzy. But I kept my heart rate up for the whole class and I definitely felt it the next day.

I am going to try to take this resolve into my year with Carmen. We may not be pretty (well she will be) but we'll be trying. Anyone else want to join me in embracing the art of the flail?

39 comments:

  1. Haha I love this! I actually even asked my coach if Easy was too much horse for me and he said not if I really ride so that is my goal!

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  2. I have taken MANY zumba classes and I can totally understand where you're coming from. My first class I told my husband that, "it wasn't hard and I didn't sweat at all!" And I couldn't figure it out, because everyone else was so sweaty. So I threw caution to the wind and started to really dance my heart out. My heart rate rose so much. And it was more fun!

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  3. Love that last pic. That would be me. I'm just hoping lugging a near one year old about is considered a work out. Once the boys head home, it's barn chores and I'm done. Not good.

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  4. I'm in! I flail on a regular basis 😁 and that's okay, as long as I'm always trying to get better!

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    1. Yes- that is it- the goal is to improve not to be perfect.

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  5. I am right with you Teresa. I am a total spaz at anything resembling dancing and I worried, for years, about my tendency to do chicken wings with my elbows when I put my toes forward. Apparently my elbows are connected to my knees. Who knew? We have had a ton of rain this winter (which is good) so I can't walk at lunch - I'm stuck going up and down the stairs all day long.

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    1. Stairs are good but not as much fun. :) We probably try too hard.

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  6. Pick me! Pick me! I need to embrace the art of the flail.

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    1. You're in!!!! There's not even a fee!

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  7. Let us flail together! Because I'm sure that's what I'm doing. I don't have enough confidence on a horse to be totally self aware anymore. So I must be flailing. Haha.

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    1. There's always room for one more. :)

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  8. Love the pictures! I'm a total Flail too. Like you I try to be perfect and do every move correctly. I used to belong to a gym but I couldn't keep up because I was behind trying to get it perfect. I exercise at home a few days a week. I should probably join a gym again... we'll see.

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    1. The trick for me is that it has to be fun. I wouldn't mind playing a sport either.

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  9. Yup! I decided that since Tesla was in boot-camp - I should be too, and am trying to add more stretching/pilates/desk standing at work to my routine :)

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    1. It's good for us to but so hard to fit in sometimes!

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  10. *so much giggles* zumba kitty. Why not right? You're in it for you!

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  11. Ugh lol I'm a card carrying member of the flail brigade too. Sometimes I wish it wasn't so... But oh well lol. Love that story of taking Irish 2nd level tho - sometimes you gotta just go out and do a thing even if everything isn't 100% perfect!

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    1. Well at least the members are nice people. :)

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  12. This is great, I think you're definitely onto something here, Cheers to the flail!

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  13. Oh, Teresa, I embraced that long ago! Welcome to the club. I'm the anti-perfectionist, and it's quite nice. That Zumba looks fun!!

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    1. Zumba is a lot of fun! And thank you for the kind welcome. ;)

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  14. Yes! I am trying to learn to do the same. It is so hard. I sometimes apologize to my mare several times during the ride for making things worse by trying to hard or just my general suck. Embrace the suck and let it go. It is about the both of us having fun. I find a lot of my problem is I start thinking to myself, "what has happened to you?! A few years ago you never would have ridden like this. Do something about it! You are going to lose it." While, yes, a few years ago I would not have ridden like this, but that is because I was able to ride several horses a day. Today working full time and my horses being an hour away make it pretty hard...and the winter weather and daylight. Thank you for this. You should thank your Zumba instructor!

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    1. Thank you for the comment! And I definitely thanked her!

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  15. I am thinking about trying a zumba class!

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  16. So, so guilty of this!!! Became most noticeable in a private lesson where my trainer grabbed my forearms and went "Holy shit why are your arms so tense?!" ... I was trying so hard to keep my thumbs perfectly up that my muscles were clenched like crazy. Rotating my wrists magically fixed this.

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    1. I do this- I try so hard that I tighten EVERYTHING!

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  17. My lack of perfection in everything (athletic) that I do is a pretty prominent part of who I am. I think I gave up years ago with the idea that I could ever be perfect, so I might as well just do what works for me. It works for me, but my trainers' opinions are generally less favorable.

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    1. I always admire how you do everything with such a 'can do' attitude. Or maybe it's 'what the hell, let's see what happens'. I am going to try to have that this year.

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  18. Zumba is super challenging! Good for you for sticking to it, it's great exercise :D I really want to do everything perfectly (with riding, work, friends etc) and sometimes even if I try my best I suck. And I tell myself it's ok, trying and failing (or flailing!) is better than doing nothing. But that is really a hard concept for me!

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    1. It's hard to accept that we're not perfect. even though we know it....

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  19. Love this - thanks! :) Let's embrace the flail! :D

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