It's officially horse show season.
At the time of this writing Matt, Bellavista Illumination, "Thea," and I are on the way to Young Horse Show Qualifiers at Loc Moy, in Adamstown, Maryland. Matt is driving, because it's the only time I allow him to drive 'my' truck, our favorite Amazon station is blaring, our Rtic cooler is FULL and I think we put Thea on the trailer before we left.
Making healthier choices when possible while horse-showing is important to ensure your well-being and maintain optimal performance. After all the money and time you invest leading up to a show, the last thing you need is to pass out or worse, be stuck in a horse show porta potty on a 90 degree day..
Here are some tips to help you make healthy choices during horse shows:
1. Get Adequate Rest: Lack of sleep can negatively impact your focus, overall performance and reaction time. Prioritize getting enough sleep each night to support your mental and physical well-being.
2. Stay Hydrated! Drink plenty of water <-- WATER NOT Alcohol, and limit caffeine or sugary drinks, throughout the day to stay hydrated. While it may be tempting to rely on excessive coffee or energy drinks during long show days, these beverages can lead to dehydration and energy crashes. Dehydration can negatively affect your energy levels and overall performance. Carry a water bottle with you and refill it regularly. If you are using the venue's water make sure to ask if it is for 'human' consumption. For example, Loc Moy does not have 'human' safe water.
3. Eat Balanced Meals: Aim for balanced meals that include a combination of vegetables and fruits, whole grains and lean proteins. Avoid relying on fast or processed foods, which are often high in sugars and unhealthy fats. Plan and prepare your meals in advance, if possible, to have healthy options readily available.
4. Snack Smart: Avoid sugary snacks and opt for nutrient-dense options that provide sustained energy. Pack healthy snacks such as fresh fruits, nuts, granola bars or yogurt to keep you fueled between classes.
5. Stay Active: Depending on if you have an assigned ride time or not, horse showing is often similar to the military in that it involves, 'Hurry UP! ..and wait..' Keeping your body active helps maintain circulation and energy levels. Take breaks to walk around, stretch, or even engage in a short workout. All my competitive equestrians have access to standing workouts they can do anywhere. With long periods of sitting or standing, it's crucial to incorporate physical activity into your routine.
6. Manage Stress: Horse shows can be stressful. Let's be honest. Horses are stressful. I recommended hamsters over horses. Create space to engage in activities that help you reduce anxiety and unwind. It's important to find healthy ways to manage stress. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
7. Prioritize Mental Health: Horse showing can be mentally demanding, so take care of your mental health. Practice self-care activities like journaling, listening to music, or spending time with loved ones. Seek support from family, friends, or professionals if needed. Remember, if horse showing isn't fun anymore.. take a break!
8. Stay Organized: Plan your schedule, grooming routines, and meals in advance to avoid last-minute stress and unhealthy choices. Being organized allows you to focus on your well-being and make better decisions overall. Personally I am a HUGE Fan of Trello.com. I have boards for clinics, dressage shows, in-hand classes.. you name it.
9. Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, a sunshirt and a hat. Excessive sun exposure and sunburns can lead to discomfort and long-term damage.
Remember, making healthy choices is not just beneficial during horse shows but also promotes long-term well-being and performance. Listen to your body, make choices that align with your goals, and prioritize self-care.
Any tips you want to add? DM Me!
Ajia Clancy coaches YOU to self empowerment while helping you navigate life towards your health & wellness goals.