We are all more than capable of taking care of our horses, we will make sure every need is catered for. But when it comes to rider wellness, should we be as good at taking care of ourselves?
We like to make sure our horses are on a good feeding programme, and are kept in tip top condition. But rider wellness and fitness can be a little observed area. It's definitely time to focus on ourselves. Below are POMMEL's 8 tips to stay healthy and increase rider wellness:
1) Stay hydrated - it's easy to forget to drink water at the yard. Riding burns an average of 300 calories an hour - that's not including associated yard work. Drinking water will improve focus and help you to power through.
2) Consider improving core strength and flexibility with yoga or pilates. Sometimes, improving your fitness 'off the pitch' can help you reach the next step with your riding.
3) Take a rest - winter with a horse is fun, but it's tiring with the relentless schedule of mucking out, shifting bales and poo-picking. A day off once in a while can be helpful if you're feeling washed out. Call a favour from a yard friend and repay when you can.
4) When out competing, try and eat sensibly. While the burger and cheesy chips option might seem appealing, when you're out training something cleaner and more nutritious from home (eg. good protein, pasta and some vegetables) will give you the energy you need - and you'll feel less sluggish.
5) Take care of your skin. When you're out in the elements wear an SPF (even in winter on your face). UV rays are a key component in skin ageing and when you're out horsing all day in the summer it can be easy to get home and find yourself sunburnt. And remember, when you're grooming, what goes on the horse inevitably goes on you, which is additional motivation to buy products that are free of nasty chemicals - that's part of the reason why we started POMMEL.
6) Wear gloves - yard work and riding is incredibly hard on your hands. They will keep you warm, protect your skin and prevent rope burn.
7) After a day at the yard, or a long training session, take a magnesium salt bath. This is great for de-stressing and relaxing muscles. We also think this is a great part of the overall mental health benefits of the equestrian hobby - take some time to relax after a busy and physical day.
8) Don't ignore pain. If you have persistent pain anywhere, especially your back or hips - see a medical professional. Riding and yard-work can be hard on the body, don't leave it to get worse!