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 you. 

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 fitness. 

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 and turns. 

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.

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Copyright © 2004 - 2011 Joyce Loomis-Kernek
Last modified: January 05, 2014