Riding as we all know, is intense physical exercise requiring a high degree of strength,
stamina, and skill. We need to remember that the horse doesn’t do all the work. There is a general understanding that equestrians are athletes, but the vast majority of us don’t treat ourselves as such. There is so much focus given to horse care and riding, but in order to bring our best to our horses, we need to save some space for ourselves.
Without proper self-care, the combined demands of our lives with horses and our lives at home can leave us depleted rather than energized. A healthy passion includes consciously identifying how best to support our mind and body both with our everyday habits as well as in our role as equestrians. Athletes understand this and optimize to be their best.
Beyond riding exercises, correct position, and discipline specific skills, we need to examine other factors critical to optimal performance. To excel as equestrians, we need to consider the impact of our lifestyle choices such as:
Regular Physical Activity
Are you meeting the ACSM recommended guidelines for adults of a cumulative 150 minutes/week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity?
As boring as it is to think about, food is what fuels our body, mind and soul (yum)! It can be our greatest ally or our enemy.
Ah, the kryptonite of the equestrian. Rest is crucial to repair our minds and bodies, so when we disregard the need for it, even out of “toughness”, we only increase the risk of becoming more injury-prone.
Chronic stress is detrimental not only to our mood and psychology, but on a systemic level (think compromised immune systems, organ damage, and blood pressure!)
Stay with us here! Admitting to ourselves that these areas are in need of improvement can be uncomfortable, but it doesn't have to leave us feeling overwhelmed! Deliberate and determined grit has the power to triumph over our more unfavorable patterns. Each day is an opportunity to recognize where you are in YOUR journey. With this mindset you are better able to address your unique needs and evaluate the resources available to help you.
We all know that our horses most certainly don’t do all the work, so if they are considered athletes then as their partners, so are we! We need to give ourselves the same attention and care for our partnership to flourish. If horses require a healthy balanced meal plan, daily assessments and appropriate exercise, then we owe it to our horse to take action to offer our best to them by feeling great.