Old Lady Syndrome
Awhile back, I was asked
by Barrel Horse World.com to come on their forum live and answer questions
that the readers post. It was to be only one hour. I agreed and signed on
at the designated time and for one hour typed as fast as my fingers could go
to answer as many questions as possible. The questions did not end there,
however, as my web site was published and I received over 6000 hits probably
from this forum and from a horse that I had for sale that was posted on one
of their ad systems.
I got several questions
from ladies that have “passed their prime” in the eyes of the world anyway,
and they had lots of questions. One asked me to do an article on the “Old
Lady Syndrome”. I thought it was a great idea, as with the introduction
several years ago of the 4-D system, the older barrel racers came out of the
wood works to start new careers at the 4-D races. And, the NBHA offers a
senior race as does many of the organizations. So, we have a new generation
of “older” barrel racers out in the market place today.
Have you seen any of these
symptoms in your barrel racing? 1. I think I am flying and then see the
video and I was in a high lope. 2. I am so sore after the week-end, that I
can hardly walk. 3. I am losing my timing and my balance. 4. I have a
problem with incontinence and my bladder is leaking. 5. I watch some of
the young barrel racers and say to myself, “ I have never gone that fast in
my whole life!” If you have any of these symptoms, this article is for
The questions that were
asked on e-mails are the ones that I will address for this month’s article.
As we grow older, our muscle elasticity is changing constantly. Our
re-action time gets slower and our body metabolism changes constantly. Many
of us have faced injuries and surgeries that have left us with only certain
percents or our original mobility. (I have one arm that is about 70% and
one arm that is about 50% of its original capabilities – both from
surgeries.) So, at 63, I know what one faces when they have broken limbs in
the past or have had shoulder surgeries.
What happens in these
cases may be a bit more drastic than what happens when one ages without
injuries, but nevertheless, when we age, we all develop arthritis in some of
our joints. There are many supplements on the market today to help our
joint and muscle pain. It is up to us to be responsible for our own
health. I suggest that you study supplements on the market today and become
knowledgeable about their functions and benefits. How we eat has a major
influence on how good our bodies will continue to work. If we were a junk
food addict in our 20’s, we will not notice how it drags on our bodies as
much as we will begin to notice as we get older. Good nutrition books are
everywhere and in fact, there are two on the best seller list at this time.
The better you eat, the better your brain and hand to eye co-ordination will
be. If you are eating poorly, you will notice that your timing will be
sluggish. Start today to take charge of your own health.
Incontinence is something
that many women face, especially if you have had children. See your doctor
about this problem, as there are many techniques today to absolve this
problem. This problem can also be a product of how you eat and how much
alcohol and caffeine you consume. There is a lot of information on the
internet about this condition.
Working out can be the
best thing that ever happened to us. You want to always check with your
doctor before beginning any new physical program. There are gyms everywhere
that offer trainers to show you how to strengthen the muscles that you need
to barrel race. Concentrate on the AB muscles and keep them strong.
Bicycling will also help you keep your legs strong and active. KEEP MOVING
– was the slogan of Jack La
Lanne who was the exercise guru who brought exercise to the
attention of America. Jack
was called the Godfather of Fitness.
He is still going strong
in his 90’s and looks fantastic. Don’t become a couch potato and then
expect to be in shape for the week-end of barrel racing. It won’t happen.
The older you get, the more effort you will have to put into your physical
Ride as much as you can.
I have said this many times in these articles, it is the only exercise that
moves you in 4 dimensions. The horse that you ride should fit you and not
hurt your back or neck when he sets to turn and leaves a barrel. There are
horses that are smoother and more conducive to successful senior riders.
You may have to search for one, but they are out there. A horse that jerks
you and pops you around will not be fun. Horses that are very quick from
side to side can also take the fun out of racing as well as spoiled horses.
So, choose your horse wisely.
With the new 5-D races,
you can go a bit slower, have fun and still win some money. Sometimes the
jerk of fast speeds and turns will leave you a bit sore the next day if you
are not going often enough to tone your muscles for the rigors or top speeds
When all is said, it will
be your desire that determines how long you ride and/or compete. My biggest
desire was always to train horses. That desire has given me the
determination to train horses as long as possible. At this time, I have 7
here to train and 8 others to take care of. When I no longer have the
desire to do this, I will not have the determination that I still have.
Your amount of desire will equal how hard you will work to stay in shape,
eat right, exercise and barrel race. Desire is the power that drives us.
God says that if we delight ourselves in Him, he will give us the desires of
our hearts. I have found this promise to be true.
When I think of aging
athletes, I think of Jack Nicklaus. When he retired this year, there were
many articles written about him. He left golf as its benchmark player. He
is heralded as the greatest player of all time. Tiger Woods taped a list
of Nicklaus’ accomplishments to his bedroom wall and set out to check off
each one. Jack Nicklaus left a legacy for all the golfers to come. He set
high standards both on the course and off. I like what one sports writer
said – “ as Jack Nicklaus retires today during the British Open – pay
attention, Tiger, then one day when you retire, you will know how to retire
with grace like the Golden Bear (Jack Nicklaus).
We all get older each day
– may we do it with grace and dignity. May we attribute as much to our
sport as we can and have a great time doing it. I wish each of you health
and longevity and the desires of your heart.