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Coach’s Korner: ‘You Can’t Ride A Horse With A Bad Back’

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While returning home from Mariano Lake after visiting a friend and mentor, I was struck at the number of young colts I saw on my way back to Gallup.  Beautiful, strong, spirited and healthy were just a few of the thoughts that came to mind as I watched the young colts and horses along the way.  The other thought I had…I wonder what that veterinary bill looks like.

However, when you own such beautiful animals and consider the ways in which they enhance our lives the cost associated with keeping a horse healthy is well worth the investment.

“You Can’t Ride A Horse With A Bad Back,” while true is really a figure of speech, one of the many sayings that have proved to be true over time. It was passed on to me by Dr. Betty Sutliff and now I’m using it in the column to address important issues related to health.

Taking care of horses requires a watchful eye. We take an overall view of the horse, how it moves, and paying close attention to the eyes, mouth, legs and the hooves. The second we discover something is wrong we call the veterinarian.

You get one chance…

When it comes to our own health we need this same vigilance. There’s pressure in our existence and it would be naïve to suggest otherwise, but there is a greater need to understand the importance of mindfulness when it comes to our health. A busy person is always a busy person but there are still only 168 hours in a seven day week. In other words, in a short life how busy can we be?

With over 30 years experience as a strength, movement and exercise performance coach I have had numerous opportunities to work with those who didn’t have enough time in their lives to address health issues, such as chronic back pain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or other medical challenges that cause disruption in our lives.

As professional I recognized that health issues are never entirely about the client but his or her family. Delays in treatment or checkups place tremendous burdens on our loved ones.  Untreated back pain creates worsening conditions, uncontrolled weight gain contributes to diabetes, and poor nutritional habits lead to cardiovascular disease and heart attack. Although the individual experiences the health issue, it is the spouse and children that suffer.

Does the couple still go dancing? Are the parents still able to physically enjoy their children? Is there still candlelight for romance?  Timely medical checkups and evaluations where needed directly increase the opportunities for success and health in our lives. However, without timely healthcare and attention we don’t experience the life we want.

You can’t ride a horse with a bad back.

‘Coach G’

By Greg McNeil

Greg McNeil is a StrongFirst Instructor, Professional Strength & Conditioning coach, Licensed Clinical Counselor (LPCC), Life Coach, Author, and the owner of Gallup School of Strength (www.gallupschoolofstrength.com)