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Celebrating Half A Century/ 5-Pound Challenge Update

Well, I am officially 50 years old now and really, I don’t feel a day over 49. Actually, I feel pretty good and although I have never put a lot of stock in numbers, I have to admit, the half a century mark is a little intimidating. How much time do I really have left? Is half my life gone? But then again, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow (though there aren’t a lot of buses in Salida). So I guess I’ll just go on with my life as normal, with extra consideration to the fact that this second half of the century could be more important.

Fun and Memories

Most of my family, from near and far, were here over the weekend to help me celebrate my birthday and we enjoyed a splendid four days of playing, cooking, eating, drinking, laughing and talking story. My son and his three cousins were here and it was really nice to see them all together—two girls and two boys—from both ends of the country, ranging in ages from 14 to 22. One day we drove up to the top of Monarch Mountain for an exquisite view from the continental divide and the next day we drove over one of the highest mountain passes in CO, Independence Pass (the picture here of the one lane road), and had a marvelous lunch in Aspen while my brother tore up Snowmass Mountain on his downhill bike.

On Sunday, my crew and a few of my oldest friends had a BD party for me and although I am not normally big on celebrating BDs (and they were all well warned of this and a little worried about how much they should/would do), I have to say, it will go down as one of my fondest memories in the first half-century of my life.

With contributions of photos and video from friends all over the country, Heidi was able to put together an incredible slide show of my life, starting with me riding ponies—through the evolution of my career. It came with a beautiful book of all the photos so I can pick it up and look at it anytime I want. Thankfully I can scratch that photo album forever off my to-do list.

After a fabulous shish kabob dinner, we watched a video montage that was so incredibly funny that it left me literally rolling on the floor, grabbing my gut, my face soaking wet with tears of laughter. My neck and abs were sore the next day from all the belly laughs!

Thank you to all the people that contributed photos and videos to the project and thanks especially to Heidi, the glue that tied it all together; to Cheryl and Lucy for their extraordinary acting and commentary in the video; to Steve for finding all those outtakes from the show (I’ll remember that Stevey); and to Brenda, for sneaking around to find all my old photos (and to Horse & Rider who conveniently wrote me a few weeks ago to ask if I had any childhood photos of me on a horse, causing me to dig through boxes of old photos). It was a wonderful and fitting present for a 50th BD and it left me and my family with the distinct feeling that I am fortunate to have such wonderful people in my life.

Back to the 5-Pound Challenge

Although my friend Cheryl believes in celebrating your “birthday month”. A week of celebrating was plenty for me. As great as it was, I am ready to get back to work and get some riding in too. And I definitely have to get back to my second five pound challenge! I guess I am lucky that I have managed to keep off the first five pounds I lost, but I’ve made little headway on the second five pounds. I have continued to work out daily and have added a few miles to my walk/run but that just keeps me status quo. I need a little boost. Any ideas?

It’s time for an update on everyone else 5# challenge! How are you coming?? Does summer make it harder or easier to lose weight? What about you feather weights that are just trying to get more fit—how’s that coming? Rich is well into winning his second 5# challenge and he may be at the lowest weight since I’ve known him. Dang it. It’s a lot easier to do the challenge with a spouse or partner who is willing to eat well with you! How hard would it be to lose weight if you were surrounded by people that ate all the wrong things?

Enjoy the ride!



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  1. Oh, Julie, every day after 50 just gets better. You already have made life better for many riders and their horses. Every day is a gift: open it and see what you can do with it. Warm regards, BJ and Candy

  2. Hi Julie, Happy belated birthday! I’ll be 58 in October and I just started riding not even 2 years ago. I am having the time of my life! My husband encouraged me to purchase a horse and he (the horse) has done wonders for my waistline. I have been watching your show on RFD TV and have just joined your website. I think your terrific! I hope to watch and learn from you for many years to come.

  3. Hey, I’m 52 so I can relate to your feelings. I’ve had 2 surgeries(cervical and shoulder — neither caused by horse accidents) in the past 9 months and only got back to riding 2 weeks ago so consider yourself fortunate that your health is good and you’ve been able to ride and teach for so many years — with many more to come.

    Keeping weight off does become a challenge. Personally, I’ve found that doing the South Beach diet is a great way to lose weight quickly (motivational) without feeling hungry. Once I reached my goal, I was able to keep my intake of “bad” carbs down and watch my portion sizes. That way I have kept my weight stable for 2 years. With only 5 pounds to go, you can shake them quickly!

  4. happy late birthday! have you increased your calorie consumption with the added length and distance of your running? If you’re still eating the same amount and have increased your length in running/walking you might try adding a few calories. Or you can try an interval workout once per week – this works on a treadmill as well as it does outside on a road. I don’t have a particular one to go with but you could try or a women’s fitness magazine to get ideas.

  5. Well happy 50th Julie. It does cause some reflection, doesn’t it? Really fun seeing the pictures you posted. I’m approaching 60. That’s really strange and have a sister that just turned 70. Wow. So, the challenge. Feather weight here that worked on the exercise thing. Not doing all that well on it. We’re on vacation next week and doing high Sierra hiking so maybe I can get back in the swing of it. It started out good. I’ve got a horse that’s laid up. Found out he has a strained suspensory-not serious but it takes time to heal. (at least now I know why he was off every now and then and can fix it)Having a confined 5 year old is NOT FUN. I thought I’d have more time to do other stuff (like exercise) but not so. I have even taken up clicker training a little for something to help with confinement. I NEVER thought I’d do that as he can be pushy but we’ll see. So far it’s actually interesting. Another lesson in not being judgemental I guess. For sure I’ll be in slightly better shape this time next week!

  6. Well my birthday is this month too! Although I’m far from the half century mark right now. Happy birthday though! Raises deep questions about your future huh! Most important I think is where will you spend eternity? Life here seems very very short compared to that! It’s important to get “issues” like that straightened out before it’s too late. Like you said, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow, and then what!?

    As far as weight loss… I resolved just the other day to get in better shape 😉 Not necessarily to lose pounds but gain muscle. Haven’t even stepped on a scale! Trying to workout at night while watching my Mission: Impossible movies LOL

  7. I’m glad you had a happy, wonderful birthday! I’m only 1/2 a pound down on this challenge, which is kind of a bummer, but I’ve got to keep up with working out. Usually in the summers, the pound just melt off when I’m working at the livery, but since I’m not working there this year, the pounds have increased not decreased. Even only working two days a week during the summer, I’ve usually peeled off 15 – 20# by July 4th. It’s amazing what working 14-hour days, saddling 40+ horses, and throwing 20 100-lb bales of hay will do for a fitness program. Without it, I’m floundering. The gym just isn’t as much fun 🙂

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