I try super hard not to be one of those people that talks or posts excessively about CrossFit, because I get it, very few people actually care about how much you can front squat. (Currently only 140 lbs., but I’m working on it; thanks for asking!)
But unfortunately, when you do something a lot and are kinda in to it, it’s only natural that you want to talk about it…every day…to your poor boyfriend who is really good at feigning interest in how much you can front squat, but would probably be happier if it didn’t come up so frequently… (Entirely hypothetical of course…)
Following a recent, just for fun CrossFit competition though, I thought it would acceptable to bring CrossFit to the blog and share of the reasons why I think it can be so beneficial for equestrians!:
1. Better general fitness = better general riding abilities. This one is no secret, but it seems to me that, especially in recent years, any riders interested in achieving show ring success – particularly those competing at the highest levels of the sport – have also really tapped into improving their fitness outside of the ring. Just as we work to improve our horses’ muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness, working to also improve in these areas ourselves can make a world of difference in the saddle and in the show ring. In my opinion, CrossFit is perfect for incorporating just the right mix of strength and cardio work!
2. You can be like Kent Farrington. Okay, so Kent Farrington’s never actually said that he’s done CrossFit, and there’s no proof that he has. But he did tell me in an interview last year, “I work out a minimum of five days a week every week. I do my own routine of…HIIT (high intensity interval training). I do that with the jump rope and calisthenics and weight balance exercises” – incorporating a few elements of CrossFit there! And even if Kent’s never actually done CrossFit, step into CrossFit Wellington during the Winter Equestrian Festival, and you’re bound to find other riders!
3.You’ll make new friends outside of the horse world. This is weird because I sometimes don’t know what to talk about when I’m not talking about horses or horse shows, but then I remembered, duh CROSSFIT! But also, it’s really neat to meet awesome people of all ages and backgrounds, and with different interests (and I don’t mean just an interest in hunters versus an interest in jumpers…like actual non-horse interests), and all connect on similar ground. I love the horse world bubble that I’m sometimes in, but it also feels good to break out of that bubble every once in awhile.
4. CrossFit incorporates so many exercises beneficial to riding. Google search anything along the lines of “best exercises for horseback riders,” and you’ll find a list of exercises like sit-ups, planks, deadlifts, squats, single arm rows, etc. – you name it, and chances are good, you’re gonna do it at CrossFit.
5. You can draw parallels between CrossFit and your horses’ training that can be beneficial to you both. This is one that I actually never really thought about until I read this article from the Chronicle of the Horse blogger/dressage rider Lauren Donahoo. (Also, just read her article to drive home and actually better back up some of the points that I’m mentioning here.)
6. You’ll likely get addicted to becoming a more fit, healthier version of yourself. – If you’re anything like me, the minute you start seeing any progress – either in physical appearance or physical ability – you’re going to want to keep going back!
(And then pretty soon you’re going to be talking about it to people who aren’t that interested and trying to get them to come with you, and then you’re going to be blogging about it…)