Behind the Slide – Kelly Altschwager, Colorado

Kelly’s riding career is about as colorful as the patriotic tattoo decorating her right arm. She’s jumped, loped circles, cut cattle, thrown a loop and everything in between. Kelly intimately understands the mechanics of riding, from both the horse and rider’s point of view. 

“I started working for Steve and Dory Schwartzenberger in 2013. It was being there that the idea for western workouts came together for me. There’s a lot of people out there investing a lot of time and money into their horse and then they forget about themselves.” 

Her motto “legged up like your horse” serves Kelly well as rave reviews are starting to roll in. Everything from a tight hip to back pain affect the performance of both horse and rider. 

“There are so many little things physically that are easy to fix and don’t require hours in the gym, but they do need to be addressed. It helps us to be so much better for our horses, so that we are fit to ride and can forge that true partnership.” 

As a personal trainer in Colorado, Kelly regularly finds herself participating in various challenges. Three years ago, one of those was the 22 pushups to raise awareness for the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day in the United States. 

“I was doing the pushups when it just hit me that it was so real. I have lots of friends who served in combat and struggled when they returned home. I realized that I could be doing these pushups for them.” 

Kelly committed to doing 22 pushups every single day for the rest of 2017. She took it a step further the next year when she started a fundraiser for the non-profit, We Are The 22. 

“I put together a fundraiser where I would run 22 miles and do 22 pushups between each mile. People could either donate through the link or come out and join me. Afterwards we met a local brewery and veterans could come out and share their stories.” 

It was a roaring success. This Colorado cowgirl then found herself walking 22 miles a day from San Diego to Washington D.C. to continue raising funds and awareness.

“I think what I realized the most is that so many people want to do something, but they don’t know what. I am just trying to be a very small catalyst for that so we can all come together and show support for these men and women. I just want them to know that perfect strangers care about them and recognize that we are sleeping soundly and safely at night because of the service offered and the sacrifices our veterans made and are continuing to make today.” 

Ultimately, it’s about “humanizing the human.”