THE ONLY EXERCISE PROGRAM YOU’LL EVER NEED!

I just got back from the Buck Brannaman four day workout. Trust me, if you do this workout, your legs will never be the same. I’m certain MY legs may never be the same! But seriously–if you want to see dramatic results in only four days, you should be excited to hear about this program!

Buck has a diabolical piece of exercise equipment called a horse and an even more diabolical exercise called the short serpentine, plus a host of other supporting exercises that will pump you up, break you down and have you swimsuit ready–in JUST FOUR DAYS!  I know I’M ready for a week at the beach with some sort of umbrella adorned rum drink anyway!

Note: You must plan ahead for this workout as you must bring your equipment with you. You may obtain your exercise equipment at any nearby stable or anywhere else horses are sold. Horses can be very expensive to purchase, but these would be gym quality horses. Here’s the best part! You don’t need expensive gym quality equipment to participate in the Buck Brannaman four day exercise challenge! Any old horse will do! You can often purchase one off of Craig’s List or out of the local paper very cheaply. You may even be able to get one for free if you ask around. If you aren’t certain what type of horse to purchase, get one that says “experienced rider only” as these horses will ensure a much more thorough workout experience.

You will also need to bring a bridle with a snaffle bit as this will add an arm component to give you that total body workout you’re looking for.  A saddle is a helpful piece of equipment but not entirely necessary. However a saddle can help ensure proper body placement during all workout exercises.  All exercises MUST be performed while sitting on top of the horse’s back. If you doubt your ability to maintain proper position throughout the workout, be sure to purchase a saddle with a “horn.”  This feature will aid you in maintaining the most beneficial position for these exercises and as an added bonus can also be used to create a little extra upper body burn, especially in those flabby arm muscles you are always trying to tone!  You might also raise your heartrate!

If you’ve never tried the Buck Brannaman workout, you might try to acquire a more “forward” horse.  This will make it easier to concentrate on learning the correct movements in each exercise without overly tiring out your legs.  I would suggest an off the track thoroughbred or perhaps an endurance arabian.  If you’d really like to maximize your workout, however, you should find a horse that is “not too forward” or even “dull.”  A nice Appaloosa or Draft horse should work well here.  You can also create your own “dull” horse if you have time before the clinic.  Simply ride the horse for several days prior to the clinic constantly using you legs until the horse will completely ignore them.  Don’t worry about “ruining” the horse.  You will fix the horse at the clinic–all while toning your body!

So what can you expect from four days of the Buck Brannaman workout?

On day one, you will learn some of the basic moves. This will probably include the short serpentine and the open serpentine.  It is important to work on the correct form in these movements in order to get the most from these exercises.  In the short serpentine, you should keep the shoulders down, stomach in, outside leg forward and inside leg back (or, wait, is that the other way around?), keep your reins short, pelvis in position one, hips and lower back neutral, twist at the waist and keep your chin up. Your head should be in line with your spine at all times except when it shouldn’t. Your horse should also be in proper form, so be sure he is bending 90 degrees, weight on the haunches, reaching with the inside front leg, all four legs moving evenly, head and neck soft when changing the bend and tail following the circle.  It’s simple, really!

If you feel like you are having a difficult time with this exercise, you are probably doing it right!  You are allowed to stop and ask Buck for help, but he will generally have one of two responses:  Either you need to use one leg more or you need to use both legs more.  So give this a try whenever you feel like you are bogging down. Also you probably need to have the horse bend his neck more.  This works your upper body.  If you are doing this exercise correctly, you should feel the burn pretty quickly.  You will feel this exercise working in your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and gluteus imaginarius.  Also your quad muscles, hip flexors, calf muscles, shin muscles, foot muscles, adductors, abductors, inductors, and reductors should all be “feeling the burn.”  If your legs are shaking after 30 seconds of this exercise, congratulations–this tells you that you have maximized the calorie burn.  You should keep it up until Buck tells you to move on to the next exercise or you pass out from the pain and fall off the horse–whichever comes first.

Over the next few days, you will add more varied exercises to your routine.  Soon, you will link these exercises together to create the perfect circuit training routine!  The best part is that you get to choose how you mix up these exercises, so if the short serpentine is kicking your butt, move on to getting a soft feel for awhile.  This will allow for that all important muscle recovery between periods of intensity.  Sure, some of the exercises seem a little touchy-feely, but even those are adding to your overall fitness.  The secret is in the movement of the horse!  Yes, Buck Brannaman has finally revealed this little known fitness secret that was previously known by only a handful of top trainers!  The horse is the perfect exercise machine because even when you are “just” walking and trotting, the physical action of maintaining proper position (remember folks, you want to remain on TOP of the horse’s back) is giving you a comprehensive workout that is guaranteed to hit every major and minor muscle group.

Remember, the Buck Brannaman workout clinic is an intensive experience that will take place over four days, but the fitness benefits will continue well after the clinic experience. During the clinic, you will be riding several hours each day, but nobody has that kind of time to spend at the gym every day.  That’s okay!  You can fit in an effective total body workout in anywhere between 15 minutes and one hour using Buck Brannaman’s proven workout routine.  But wait, there’s more! You can also send your metabolism through the roof cleaning stalls, hauling bags of feed and moving bales of hay.  The possibilites are endless!

So if you haven’t yet experienced this HIGH INTENSITY TOTAL BODY EXPERIENCE, you should sign up for the nearest Buck Brannaman clinic RIGHT NOW!

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Signs and portents

That little voice inside my head just won’t shut up.

You know the one.

It says “Do you think this is a good idea?…  Because I don’t think this is such a good idea…”

It’s been going on like that non-stop ever since I signed up to ride with Buck Brannaman again.

I wasn’t going to ride in this clinic.  The classes that were offered were Horsemanship 1 and 2.  I knew the upper limit on H1 would be 30 riders and I really didn’t want to be in an arena with 29 other random molecules all bouncing off of fences and each other until they manage to reach critical clinical mass and create horsemanship clinic nuclear fission.  That’s just not my idea of fun.  But I was a little intimidated by the idea of riding in the H2 class.  Then about 3 weeks ago, the stars all aligned and the angels sang a chorus of “Laaaaaaaaa…” and they changed the H2 class to H1 advancing.  I took it as a sign from God.  I mailed my check that day.

Yet even as I wrote the check, the little voice was saying, “I don’t think this is such a good idea, do you?”

I keep telling it to shut up, but it keeps making some very valid points.

Point one is that I’m in lousy shape and so is Max.  I simply haven’t been riding enough this spring.  I have no really good excuse for that, just a lot of vague not-feeling-wells and bad-weathers and other-projects and going-sailing-this-weekends.  If I’d realized I was going to sign up, I would have at least done some more long trotting, but it is what it is.

Still, I had three weeks right?  So the first week was spring break—hours and hours to ride.  Well, not exactly…  First two days we had a sailing event.  We returned from that Sunday night.  I played with Max on the ground Monday morning, and then drove down to Mom’s for the next two days.  You can’t just weasel out of the obligatory Mom visit.  Not even for Buck Brannaman.

“Are you SURE this is a good idea?”

Wednesday night I drove home.  Thursday morning played with the horse until the vet showed up to do Coggins, shots, etc…   And I still have Friday, Saturday and Sunday to ride little voice!  Ha!  Only Friday morning, the horse couldn’t turn his head in either direction because of the shots.  We played on the ground some until I gave up in disgust and put him away.  Saturday I gave him a gram of bute and the day off.  Sunday I gave him a gram of bute and the day off.

Shut up little voice.

Monday I was finally able to ride.  In fact I rode most of the week.  The week culminated in a mini-clinic on Sunday afternoon at the same facility the big clinic will be at with the clinic coordinator Karyn Shirley.  If you want to ride with someone in the Reno area who can explain what Buck really said at the clinic, she’s the go-to person.  I thought I knew how to do the short serpentine after riding with Buck.  Karyn set me straight on that one.  I plan to take some lessons with her this summer.  I think that will really help maximize my clinic dollars to knowledge value.  Otherwise, I’m just assuming I know what Buck meant during the clinic at which I have already proven to be horribly unreliable.

Anyway, the mini-clinic went really well and now I know what the facility is like and Max has shown me where all of the dragons are lurking.  My torn hamstring has informed me that it will quit for good if I don’t take care of it on the short serpentines and since I want to be able to ride with Buck for four whole days, not just one, I plan on humoring it.  Now I know how long it takes to get there and now I know how long it takes to get home if you blow a tire out on your horse trailer on the new 580 causeway coming out of Reno.

Yeah, that wasn’t good.

I was probably going 50 or 55 at the time because it was so windy up there.  The sign had said “use caution.”  I was using caution.  Then I felt this little tug on the truck.  Nothing big—could have been a gust of wind.  But the little voice was saying “that didn’t feel right,” and I had to agree.  I glanced in the side view mirror and saw something in the lane behind me.  I couldn’t believe I had run over something without even seeing it, so I pulled over right away.  That’s when I saw the shredded tire on the horse trailer.  I hadn’t run over something—the thing in the lane was the tread of the tire that had been ripped off the wheel.  The sidewalls were still hanging on the rim.  Ugh!

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Fortunately, it was the back tire.  The front tire was intact and the axels on the horse trailer are close enough together that the front tire was holding the back one off of the ground.  All I had to do was change the tire and be on my way.  All I had to do was get out there on the driver’s side of my trailer next to traffic with cars zooming past at a jillion miles an hour and…  Ugh!

But I have to thank the designers of the new causeway.  Apparently, they were expecting a LOT of accidents when they drew up their plans.  There are pull outs spaced about every quarter mile and they are wide enough to give you enough room to change a tire on the driver’s side with cars zooming past at a jillion miles an hour and not feel like you are going to die instantly unless somebody does something really, really, stupid.

So I prayed that no one would do anything really, really stupid and changed the tire.  I was about 30 seconds from finishing when some nice guy pulled over to “help.”  He laughed and said “I’m not really being much help am I?”

That’s okay, at least he bothered.

And then the voice started in:

“It’s a sign from God!  This clinic is a bad idea!”

I’m not listening…

Monday morning I was out in the grey half-light of dawn unloading everything from the horse trailer.  Monday afternoon after work, I dropped it off at Schwab.

“You’re leaving your horse trailer at Les Schwab for two days?  It’s going to get stolen!”

Now you’re just being ridiculous.

Although the voice could be right.   In my oftentimes sit-com life, that’s exactly what would happen.  Schwab would call me up “Um…  Did you take your horse trailer home?  Cause it’s not here anymore.”

After dropping the horse trailer off to be Schwabified and/or stolen I went home and went to bed.  Did I mention that our prom was Saturday night?  Did I mention that I got to bed at 2am Sunday?  Or that I got up at 7 so I could get to the mini-clinic?  Or that I got to bed late Sunday because I was busy changing a flat on the 580 causeway?

“It’s a sign from God!  This clinic is a bad idea!  You’re too tired!  You’re going to get sick!”

Did I mention that one of my students was diagnosed with strep last week?  Monday night, I took two benedryl and enough vitamin C to kill a Rhino and hoped that between sleep and the placebo effect I could beat off any possible infection that might be brewing.

And did I mention my gall bladder?  Pretty sure that’s on its way to the big medical waste container in the sky.  Or maybe it’s my kidney or pancreas or liver.  Maybe it’s just my back…  I’m scheduled for an ultrasound.  I scheduled that for AFTER the Buck clinic.  I tell people I’m on the 30 day gall bladder diet.  No, it won’t cure my gall bladder in 30 days.  My gall bladder has to last 30 days.  Once school is out, it can behave as badly as it wants.

“This is a bad idea.  You’re going to have a gall bladder attack while riding and next thing you know, you’ll be writhing on the ground in agony in the middle of a Buck Brannaman clinic.  Won’t that be embarrassing!”

Sometimes you just have to put your hands over your ears and yell “lalalalalala… I can’t hear you!”

So I made a chiropractic appointment.  I have a great chiropractor.  We call him the Witch Doctor.  I told him that everything hurts and my gall bladder is misbehaving and he did his voodoo thing, most of which involved poking, prodding, thumping, squeezing and smushing most or all of my internal organs.  I got to thinking that maybe it isn’t a good idea to have your chiropractor squeezing your gall bladder and kidneys two days before a Buck Brannaman clinic, but that’s what you get when you pay the big bucks.

I figure that either:

A. I’ll feel better

B. I’ll feel the same

C. I’ll feel worse

Two out of three ain’t bad!

And then there’s my left foot.  I have a neuroma the size of a cantaloupe in there and I could barely keep it in the stirrup when riding, much less walk around looking cool and calm like I would prefer to look at any clinic.  Instead, I was hopping around dramatically like a one legged stork.  So this is how much I want to ride with Buck.  I willingly submitted to a cortisone shot last Friday so that I might be able to keep my foot in the stirrup and walk like a cool, non-limping, person at least for the duration of the clinic.

And I got my horse trailer back last night.  It wasn’t stolen after all.  The wheel bearings are packed, the brakes are checked and the tires are new or mostly new and I have not one, but TWO spare tires (I always carry two for the horse trailer).

So I’ve managed to shut the little voice up for now.  There’s still time, though.  I haven’t made it to the clinic yet.  I’m sure it will wake me up at midnight spinning all sorts of new disastrous scenarios.

I don’t want to hear it.