Spurs and Sportsbras
With “horse season” coming into full swing, many of us are beginning the rigors of getting horses back into shape. Countless hours are spent feeding, grooming, walking, organizing and riding to get ready for our minute in the spotlight. “Show Kerry” gave us some pointers last week, and as she pointed out the majority of our efforts go to our equine counterpart, I’ve heard it said once or twice “my horse gets new (shoes, clothes, etc.), more than I do.”
Setting yearly goals for myself and my equine athletes required that I sit down and really evaluate not only my finances but also the amount of time I was putting in. Writing for two websites, working a full time job and riding several horses at night doesn’t leave me with much extra time. What little time I have I needed to maximize. So with my goals in mind, the research began. I looked up top athletes, individuals who had accomplished the things that I wanted to, and positive life models.
The commonality was a dedication to personal fitness. Each person stressed eating well and exercising daily. It was an eye opener. Equestrians preach day in and day out that what we do is a sport. So why is only one portion of the “team” aka the horse getting into shape?
Sure cleaning stalls, grooming and riding burn calories but are you really working out and eating like a true athlete? What do you consume at your competitions? Not water and celery sticks, try Dr. Pepper and a candy bar or several energy drinks to get you through a marathon weekend of showing or rodeoing.
How does Personal Fitness tie to Success in the Arena?
- Exercise and healthy eating gives you energy. It boosts your metabolism and your body’s ability to fight off disease.
- Being fit builds confidence. Your clothes fit better, posture improves. Look like a winner, feel like a winner, be a winner.
- Balance, timing and coordination improve. Making competition easier, less recovery time after your ride, and you’ll find it easier to stay with your horse throughout his/her maneuvers.
Tips Staying Fit on the Road or at the Show
- Pack lots of water. Long days, sweat inducing rides and outfits, and the added stress of being at a competition will deplete your energy quickly. Dehydration will drag you down. Drinking water throughout the day will help your body bounce back and keep your energy levels up. Your body can’t tell the difference between hunger and thirst so if you find yourself snacking excessively, stop and drink some water.
- Explore the grounds. Walk around, climb the stairs or bleachers. Exercising is a great way to calm nerves before a class or clear your mind after a less than perfect run.
- Meal prep! Think about it, the reason you end up in the McDonalds drive through after an exhausting day is because you’re tired, you to want to hurry eat and then get some sleep. If you pack healthy snacks or meals beforehand you will save yourself from a mundane meal and get score some extra sleep.
Put in the work and reap the rewards. If you are truly looking for results, just showing up won’t cut it, healthy dieting/eating is key and will help you perform on course and look better off the horse.
Here are some related articles for those of you looking to further your knowledge:
Share your tips for keeping fit at the barn and eating healthy on the road.