I’m 13 years old and I ride and show ponies for my trainer. At home, I’ll ride 4-5 of her ponies after school, but when I travel to the shows, I sometimes ride 8+ ponies each day and it makes me very tired. What can I do to not feel so tired on my last few rides? - Busy Pony Rider
I understand how the constant go-go-go of the horse show life can wear you out by the end of the day. I have a few tips for you that may help you stay stronger and more focused as you hop from one pony to the next! First, make sure you are getting enough sleep because sleep deprivation can cause foggy thinking and make you feel weak. While you may be tempted to catch up with other horse show friends or watch some TV late at night, it is important that you get enough sleep in order to allow your body to repair and recover from all of the day’s riding. Staying hydrated throughout the day is critical too (especially as the sun comes out and the day gets hotter). Not drinking enough water can lead to fatigue and even make you feel dizzy and confused. You can keep a stainless steel water bottle in your trunk or grooming box to sip water from during the day. Lastly, make sure you are eating proper meals with real foods. Skipping breakfast or lunch can definitely make you feel weak as you literally don’t have the fuel in your body to support riding all day. Don’t be shy about talking with your trainer about needing a moment to eat or having a quick snack for more energy. Try to choose non-processed foods and avoid sugar and sweets since these can ultimately make you feel tired. Making sure you are eating well, staying hydrated and getting a good night’s rest should help you feeling energized to ride ponies all day long!
I’d like my daughter to eat healthier snacks during the horse shows, but there always seems to be candy and sugary treats around. What are some good snack ideas that I can actually get my 11 year old to eat at the shows?
- Healthy Horse Show Mom
Dear Healthy Mom,
I know how this can be a challenge with candy bowls found in many tack rooms, offices, and even at some of the vendor booths. Although most kids (and adults) know that candy isn’t a good choice, these sweet temptations can seem very delicious and satisfying. Packing a healthy alternative is the best way to know exactly what your daughter is eating. A sweet and easy choice may be fruit leathers or dried fruit (some brands make single servings that can be kept in her trunk – or traded out for the candy in the tack room bowl!). Trail mix or a handful of nuts are good options too. Whole fruits such as fresh berries can be easy to rinse and pack. Apple or pear slices with a pinch of cinnamon or dipped in nut butter can be satisfying and nutritious as well. Baby carrots, sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and celery sticks with hummus or guacamole can be a great savory snack. One little tip I always like to communicate when it comes to snacking is to make sure that one is eating balanced meals. For example, having a complete breakfast can make snacking less desirable because the body is nourished – on the other hand, if hunger takes over and there’s nothing planned for lunch, a few mini candy bars may seem like good option in desperation. Also, after eating, the body focuses energy on digesting, so snacking throughout the horse show day may not be the best option when energy should be directed to riding well. Hopefully eating balanced meals and packing healthy snack alternatives will help your daughter steer clear of the candy!
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Kimball Willson is the founder of The Equestrian Health Coach and offers nutritional and lifestyle coaching to riders nationwide. Learn more about her programs and download your free copy of “3 Common Health Mistakes that are Ruining Your Ride” at www.EquestrianHealthCoach.com