Hunter: A New Fitness Craze? - Expert how-to for English Riders

Hunter: A New Fitness Craze?

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Seems like CrossFit is the big thing in fitness these days. According to Wikipedia, "CrossFit athletes run, row, jump rope, climb rope and carry odd objects." I think us horsepeople have our own version: FarmFit. I've been known to run sprints when I realized that I left the water on, thought I forgot to lock a gate or heard the new horse whinnying when she's turned out. Then there's the everyday sweeping, mucking, shoveling, bucket cleaning ? and I'm pretty sure I left out a chore or six. How about feed-store day? Ten bags of feed at 50 pounds each? That's not a bad lifting session. And let us not forget hay day: At my farm, we are "lucky" enough to bale our own hay. Our first cutting this year yielded more than 1,000 bales. Pick them up from the fields, stack them on the wagon, unstack them to put them in the hayloft and restack them again. Don't forget to make sure you do it when it's 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity. If that doesn't earn you a pint of Ben & Jerry's, I don't know what does! Then there are the random things like the hour and a half I spent with the backpack sprayer assaulting weeds last weekend. That endeavor left me sore the next day. What about fixing fences, digging post holes, building a run-in shed with my dad, trimming tree branches? ? I'm sure I'm forgetting another thousand or so things. My sport of choice is hunter/jumpers, so we can add setting courses and moving jumps to the list. I'd like to see how FarmFit stacks up to CrossFit after 15 minutes of no-stirrup work. Then there is the horse show: packing the truck and trailer (tack trunk, hay, feed, shavings, etc.) and unloading at the show. Not to mention all the extra stuff you do once you're at the competition. So I say to all you CrossFit fans: Cancel that gym membership and come over to my place any time. There is always a chore or 12 that need to be done, and that second cutting of hay should be ready in a few weeks.

My view from beside the hay wagon: We cut our hay in thirds to minimize loss if it rains. This was the first section. | ? Hunter Messineo

My view from beside the hay wagon: We cut our hay in thirds to minimize loss if it rains. This was the first section. | ? Hunter Messineo

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