Getting Started with Jackie Jatzlau

Incline Pushup
Incline Pushup

Jatzlau has become such a believer in maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle that she has made working out part of her job description, as important to her success as the time she spends in the saddle each day.

“Getting started is the hardest part, but after you realize the benefits of working out, you wonder how you made it before,” she testified. “There are so many things you can do with your own body weight that you can do in 15 minutes on the floor of your living room or the barn. You can do a lot in a short amount of time that’s going to help you continue to move forward and improve every aspect of your life. There’s really no excuse not to do that. We all spend 15 minutes a day doing something worthless.”

Tricep Dips
Tricep Dips

Lane Jatzlau, a Cooper Institute-certified personal trainer, shared what he has named the J2 Standard Full Body Circuit. With very little equipment required, it was designed for barrel racers to be able to do anywhere, whether they’re at the gym, at home, or on the road at a race.

“It takes all the excuses you can think of for not working out and throws them out the window,” Lane said, adding that a key element of the quick, circuit-style workout is constant movement. “Get your heart rate up and keep it going to burn a ton of calories and greatly improve your cardiovascular and respiratory fitness levels. After a warm-up of walking or slow jogging, do 10 to 15 reps of each exercise and repeat this circuit three to six times, taking the shortest possible breaks necessary. Weight and reps can be added to make this workout more advanced.”

Lateral Raises
Lateral Raises
J2 Standard Full Body Circuit.
  1. Clean and press
  2. Dumbbell or kettle bell swings
  3. Walking lunges
  4. Push-ups
  5. Bench tricep dips
  6. Run in place
  7. Bodyweight squat
  8. Jumping jacks
  9. Military press
  10. Incline push-ups
  11. Dumbell curls
  12. Lateral dumbell raises
  13. One arm dumbbell row
BONUS: Pain-free, naturally

“I had a horse fall on me when I was 19 and it crushed my pelvis,” said Jackie Jatzlau, who has a degree in physical therapy. “I have a lot of hardware in my body and have had an extreme amount of pain when I ride. One of the most positive things that’s come from this is I don’t hurt. I can go ride all the horses I have and I don’t get one or two from the end and sit on the bench outside my barn and wonder how I’m going to get through the pain to ride the rest. I went from taking a lot of Advil and Aleve to not having to take that to get through the day. Helping my body get stronger has decreased my pain tremendously, to the point I’m almost pain free now. Plus, working out naturally releases endorphins, which make you a happier, more motivated person.”

Functional Fitness with Josey Meurer

The Bulgarian split squart targets the muscles of the lower body that build a solid seat in the saddle.

Josey Meurer started CrossFit training in 2011 and found it to be a perfect fit for her goals in and out of the arena. In 2013, she opened a gym named CrossFit Holdfast in Owatonna, Minn., with a focus on helping clients condition for active, healthy lives – in this case, a lifestyle that revolves around riding and guiding powerful horses.

“As women, we’re often hesitant to train or push ourselves in the gym,” she said. “But we’re sitting on top of a 1,200-pound animal; our bodies need to be ready to handle any and everything they throw at us. Any time you move on a horse, it means something to them. The more still and quiet you sit in the saddle, the more calm it is to your horse, which allows him to focus and do his job well. If you can’t keep your seat in the saddle, your hands down low, your shoulders square and your legs where they need to be, your horse has to figure out how to work with all that movement.”

The Russian twist develops stability throughout your core.

CrossFit workouts are constantly varied to improve an individual’s capacity in 10 areas: cardio endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. Meurer programmed the following workout with the barrel racer in mind:


Bulgarian split squat. Four sets of eight reps, each leg. This movement engages the core, glutes, and thighs. It works each side individually and exposes any weaknesses in balance you may have, Meurer says.


Plank. One front, one right side, one left side, 60 seconds each. Planks work the entire midline – the front, back, and sides of your core – whereas many other ab movements just work the front.

  • 7 minute AMRAP*
  • 24 jumping lunges
  • 16 Russian twists
  • 10 ring rows

*AMRAP is an acronym for “as many rounds as possible.” Complete the circuit as many times as possible in seven minutes.


Mobility work. Ankle stretching and chair stretch, spending two minutes with each. Ankle and hip mobility are key to moving each leg freely, which directly ties into your cues to your horse.

Pulling your chest to the rings simulates a pull-up and develops the muscles of the upper back to keep your shoulders pulled back and square in the saddle.

As your fitness improves, swap the jumping lunges for weighted lunges (12 each leg), hold a weight in your Russian twists, and do pull-ups instead of ring rows. Another modification would be a bent over dumbbell or barbell row; all three of the latter movements work your upper back, which helps keep your shoulders pulled back and square in the saddle. Meurer hung a set of gymnastic rings in her barn and does her pull-ups on the gate of her round pen.

BONUS: Mental Strength

“CrossFit has improved my game, mentally, in a few different ways,” Meurer said. “First and foremost, it keeps me humble and forces me to be patient. It never happens overnight, and horses work the same way. Physically, and sometimes mentally, you just want to be done, but nothing comes of that. You go back the next day and the next day and the next day and try again

Lean and Limber with Nicole Laurence

The low lunge stretches the front of your hip, lengthening the soft tissue to increase range of motion.

Once she realized the benefits of regular yoga practice, Laurence took her practice on the road with her, following daily podcasts by her favorite teachers, Amber Schumake and Rebecca Butler, from her trailer while rodeoing. For the past five years, she has been practicing Forrest yoga and continues to run or walk three days a week – with her one-year-old daughter, Grace, in the running stroller.

“There’s a reason racehorse jockeys must be a certain weight and have the strength they have; staying on top of a 1,200-pound animal going full speed and being in the proper position to help them is important. The laws of physics explain why a lighter individual would be easier for a horse to carry than a heavier individual. The same is true in barrel racing,” said Laurence. “When I invest this much time and money into these animals, I want to ensure that I’m doing everything in my power to jockey them like they deserve. Anything less is an injustice to them and their training.”

The handstand helps build the stabilizing muscles of the shoulders, upper back and core. To begin, practice with your heels resting against a wall for stability.

Laurence shared the following poses to develop strength and flexibility in a barrel racer’s body.

BONUS: Melting Tension

“Yoga has improved my awareness and allows me to slow down and breathe,” Laurence said. “I’ve become so aware of my body that I notice when I tense up and try to force a pose in yoga, and instead, I soften into it. This applies to riding and being aware enough to feel when my horse is tensing up and I catch myself trying to force them into a specific movement when instead, I can soften them into it.”

Side angle helps the inner line of your legs to stretch and relax while strengthening your legs, opening your chest and shoulders, and increasing stamina.
1 2 3

Email comments or questions to [email protected]

Write A Comment