Prancercise Creator: 'Let Them Laugh'
It could be the new Gangnam Style, except this dance craze is no joke.
Joanna Rohrback has unleashed "Prancercise" on the world, a unique exercise program that mimics the various gaits of a horse. When I first saw the YouTube video on Wednesday, it had about 13,000 hits. At last check it had topped 316,000 hits, and Rohrback is now booked on "The Today Show" for Friday.
What's all the fuss? Watch and judge for yourself.
I caught up with Rohrback by phone in Florida, where she shot the video back in October and then posted it on YouTube in December. Why it took so long for this jewel to be discovered is one of the tragedies of the modern interconnected age.
Rohrback said she actually came up with the Prancercise concept back in 1989 but never got around to going public with it.
"People are under the impression this was a failed project, but it was never brought out," she said. She wanted to wait until she had finished a book, which is now for sale on Amazon. In the book she describes Prancercise as "a whole new way of thinking and approaching fitness."
The reviews are hilarious. "At first I was skeptical, but after convincing several of my co-workers to try prancercise, I am a believer," wrote Jon Pape. "I lead a daily prancercise at work and people come out of their office, prancercise for a while and the go back to work. Afterward we high-five, enjoy an orange mocha frappuccino, and head back to work knowing we let our inner-horse out to pasture."
(Read More: Yikes! Workout Video Glimpses Too Much)
Up until the video went viral, book sales were "sluggish...I'm sure that's changed now," Rohrback said. She's also started her own Facebook page.
The web world has reacted, and perhaps not the way Rohrback intended. When you have a rail-thin woman dressed in a sort of West Palm Beach tea party meets Lululemon outfit who says quirky things like: "We're gonna really cut the noose and let it loose," you know people will respond with parodies. Here's my favorite—the unicorn doing Prancercise.
Does the ribbing bother Rohrback? "Let them laugh," she told me. "Who would pay any attention to a boring, average, every day video? I am so glad...I have my confidence."
The truth is, prancercising looks kind of hard. I'm not sure I could last a quarter mile wearing ankle weights while galloping down the sidewalk, but then I'd look so awkward people might stop to help me. How far can Rohrback go?
"Jane, I did a 5K in November this way," she told me. (I wish I could have seen that).
When I pointed out to her that she looks like she weighs about 90 pounds sopping wet, she told me that she had not been able to exercise for years due to "a female condition" that she insisted on treating herself through natural healing. She only began working out again last July, and that's when she decided to get this whole Prancercise business going. "That exercise instills joy in me."
Her biggest concern right now is that her website keeps crashing because of all the new notoriety. I managed to get onto the site briefly this morning to see (photoshopped?) pictures of her prancing by a horse, along with the disclaimer: "Any photos showing her moving along side a horse are not a suggestion that anyone should try such an act."
And while Rohrback looks like she could do some damage, as she says in the video, "Better to be punching into space than in your face," she bears no ill will to those mocking her. "If they're having fun," she told me, "hey, I'm happy."
—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells