Do you ever find yourself at the horse show low on energy, running between rings searching for something “good” to eat with that french vanilla coffee in hand? This is an all too common scenario that plays out week after week at showparks, fairgrounds and stables nation-wide. As riders and dedicated horsemen, we often put the needs of our animals at the top of our priority list. We are certain to pack their special feed, supplements, and medications, but how much effort do we put in to ensuring the other half of the team is well fueled and prepared to ride well?
As the Equestrian Health Coach, it is my mission to offer guidance and support to riders of all levels and disciplines who want to gain more energy, improve their diet and lifestyle, and ultimately perform their best at the show. It is through personal experience as a lifelong rider that I believe this demanding lifestyle can impact one’s health and outcome in competition. Combining my passion for health and wellness and my devotion to horseback riding, I have developed my business in order to support other equestrians so they can achieve their riding goals while living a healthy, fulfilling life!
Using a holistic approach to coaching, along with the understanding of dietary patterns and overall wellness, my role as a health coach is to support riders in reaching their unique, individualized vision of health. I complement the work of other healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, therapists and dietitians in an effort to improve the overall health and happiness of my clients.
Tips to get started...
While everyone's body is different and their goals differ, I have found that the majority of riders understand the need to focus on reducing sugar, maintaining energy levels, eating healthy meals, decreasing stress, and getting quality sleep. Of course, making changes in these areas can be a challenge when away from home and at the horse show. My health coaching program is designed to support riders in overcoming the obstacles, and the following are a few tips to get started on your own!
From the fresh squeezed lemonade, sports drinks and morning pastries to the white bread sandwiches and occasional cotton candy stand, the horse show grounds never seem to be in short supply when it comes to sugary foods. However, while these options may give you a quick surge of energy, they will send your blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride leaving you craving more sugar and refined grains just hours later. Learning to identify which foods are the best nutritional options and where hidden sugar is found, is key to maintaining lasting energy and avoiding the long-term complications that can be caused by over consuming sugar.
The most effective way to attain steady energy and strength to ride your best comes from staying hydrated with water and eating a diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods. Yet, finding healthy meals away from home can always be a challenge. Developing strategies prior to hitting the road for the show is critical in order to avoid the drive-through. Whether you choose to pack your own food and plan grocery store runs during the week, or have a stash of local restaurant menus on hand, knowing what and where you will eat will help to eliminate a last-minute meal sabotage.
Stress is another factor that plays a huge roll in our overall health. Whether you are a professional maintaining a business and caring for the horses, or an amateur with commitments outside of the horse show world, our bodies are frequently bombarded with physical, emotional and mental stress. On top of this, we fuel it even more with our competition and pressure to win. Learning simple breathing techniques and strategies to decrease stress is important in order to focus on the immediate task at hand, as well as avoiding long term illness.
Similar to high stress levels, a lack of sleep can also impact how you feel at the show. Sleep deprivation can affect your mood, appetite and leave you feeling unmotivated and unable to think clearly. With the early schooling hours, late night checks and uncomfortable hotel accommodations, getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep may seem impossible. Creating a pre-bedtime routine by implementing a few simple changes will help put your mind at ease and get you on the path to a better night's sleep.
The Equestrian Health Coach was founded by Kimball Robeson and is a service offered to riders nation-wide. Learn more about one-on-one programs, group sessions, and tele-workshops at www.EquestrianHealthCoach.com or connect with her onwww.facebook.com/EquestrianHealthCoach , www.twitter.com/EqHealthCoach, or through email, Kimball@EqHealthCoach.com. Look for articles and tips from The Equestrian Health Coach in future Plaid Horse issues.