Ayden Uhlir is fast becoming one of the new faces in Dressage, and for good reason....
The first equestrian athlete to be sponsored by Nike, the 21 year old from Texas has been going from strength to strength since Nike came knocking 4 years ago. As well as an up-and-coming Dressage athlete, Ayden is also a passionate believer in promoting equestrian sport to young people and empowering them to take control of their own lives.
Ayden, how has your life and career changed in the past few years?
Nike has been the biggest moment of my career and will forever be so. Without them I most likely would have had to leave the sport. For me, Nike opened up an entirely new area of growth.
What’s your ﬁtness regime like and how important is it to be in good shape for equestrian sports? I’m sure I saw some doughnuts on your Instagram stream…
Ha! Yes. I love hiking, snowboarding, biking and trying new sports - I enjoy trying to get my friends off the couch and out into the mountains or on the beach! I also go to the gym regularly for training in pilates and with free weights, but I prefer the great outdoors. Also, I ride as many horses a day as I can. This is itself a severe workout. As equestrians we get intense core work in particular.
I’ve always been a very healthy eater and I have had maybe two sodas in my whole life! Like most competitive athletes, I can’t stay out late and am very strict with my diet. That doesn’t mean that occasionally I can’t eat birthday cake or have a donut though! I live on fruit smoothies with peanut butter, yogurt, fish, and vegetable stir-fry.
There are some that would say the horse does all the work and the riders are not real athletes. What do you say to this?
Let me tell you a story: In elementary school our gym teacher was giving extra credit for outside sports and she refused to give me credit for riding because she said ‘the horse did all the work.’ My trainer invited her over for a free lesson. After the hour lesson she had to call in sick the next two days at work because she couldn’t walk. She decided to give me the points!