These posts are mostly about a fat middle-aged and somewhat psycho woman writing to other middle-aged women who might enjoy following along with my adventures in getting fit at a point in my life where it is apparently impossible. More on that when I start the Whining episodes. Which I am trying not to start. Anyway, the FFFF Hall of Fame is a place for me to applaud my heroes, people who inspire me along in this adventure, even though it is beginning to Piss. Me. Off.
But, back to inspiration. I choose this episode to be about Alejandro.
Alejandro is a great friend, devoted dad of two young boys, consummate horseman, my horse trainer and riding instructor, and my Spanish practice buddy. Alejandro is not a woman, and he is not quite middle-aged, although I enjoy reminding him on each birthday how much closer to it he is getting. Also, “Ale” (ah-lay) has never had a single fat molecule stick to any surface anywhere near his body. That I’m aware of. Naturally, this must be due at least in part to genetics but I’m sure his diet and exercise regime have something to do with it also. His diet and exercise regimes fascinate me.
From what I have observed in the past five years of knowing Ale, his diet consists mainly of a few bites of pieces of sandwiches eaten between lessons or horse training sessions, large amounts of regular Coke, and pie. I confess to partial responsibility for the pie. I wanted to learn how to make pies, and I needed a lab rat to test my recipes on. Ale makes a good lab rat, since he will eat anything that has huge quantities of sugar as the Number One ingredient, and he doesn’t die or go into convulsions.
As for his exercise regime — it is simple: Train 8-10 horses per day for about one hour each. This means riding and/or ground schooling. Some of the horses are young and just getting “started”, which means they are not yet trained or rideable and therefore can escalate the physical exercise factor for Ale exponentially and explosively. Personally, I find the exponentially explosive sessions the most entertaining to watch.
This is a short video of Ale tuning my horse Mo’s performance over fences. Mo is not the explosive type. He is more of the asleep-at-the-wheel-on-cruise-control type.
In between his horse training sessions, Ale also teaches dressage and hunter/jumper riding lessons to people, many of them middle-aged women with various physical and emotional challenges, like myself. This is good exercise for Ale’s patience and sense of humor.
On his days off, Ale likes to take his human and equine clients to horse shows. Which means competing in events himself, plus doing schooling rides for the young horses, plus coaching the humans in their own events and teaching lessons at the showgrounds. From my observation, Ale’s diet at horse shows consists of pastries (primarily bear claws) and Coke. Once in a while a beer.
On some other days off, Ale likes to take his boat out and wakeboard. Even though once he fell off the wakeboard and broke his leg. I believe the actual breaking process had started earlier, by a horse that wished to smash Ale’s leg into a fence. And got his wish.
And I think he does some other semi-dangerous activity in snow but since I don’t do snow, I have not been interested in finding out more about that.
Ale is one of my heroes because he faces a lot of challenges in his life and in his work with horses and horse-loving people with patience, strength, humility, grace, humor, and quiet self-assurance. These qualities are what I admire and what I aspire to. I also want to ride like Ale when I grow up. Fat chance of that, so to speak. But he encourages and inspires me toward achieving my goals and he hardly ever yells at me.
¡Muchisimas gracias, Ale!
P.S. You can read more about Alejandro, his bio, his training business Rancho Pura Vida, and see lots of photos on his web site www.ranchopuravida.com.
This video I made to thank Ale for his work with my young mare Rainy after her second training season with him. When she first met Ale, Rainy was an unbroke (not yet trained to be ridden) four year old mare with a strong, stubborn will. I learned so much by watching Ale work with Rainy, and his diligence and expertise in both her training and mine eventually allowed me to achieve a dream and ride her myself.
If you have a slower connection, the video may have fits and starts … just let it buffer completely before playing.Music: “Teach Your Children” … performed by Crosby, Stills and Nash … written by Graham Nash. No copyright infringement intended.