Beckyharthorsepro.com - Full Article
My plan was simple – in 1989, go to a few races for preparation, then take Rio to the North American Championship in Canada. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with a degenerating disk at the end of 1988, so we modified the plan to have a friend ride Rio. At the first ride of the season, Rio took a bad step and strained his suspensory ligament. At that point I decided to rest him for 6 months so we could both recover. During the last half of 1989 and all of 1990, leading up to Sweden, I swam, worked out with weights and the Stairmaster machine. When I would get bored, I would imagine Rio winding deftly through the woods in Sweden. I would think about all the miles he had carried me without complaint. I only had to swim one mile, do 30 minutes on the Stairmaster! He went 50 or 100 miles every ride – but – he never seemed bored and certainly never complained.
In addition to working out, I started taking riding lessons. Over the years, I had developed some bad habits, some of which hurt my back. Centered Riding, developed by Sally Swift, gave me new riding techniques that made riding much easier on my body. The program worked so well for me that I become a Centered Riding instructor and have taught clinics to endurance riders all over the world.
With my new riding techniques, I entered a 75 mile ride near the end of 1989. Rio and I were both ready – he won the ride and I was not sore the next day – a 1st for me...
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