Why do we take so much better care of our horses than ourselves?
After each ride we’re out there wrapping legs and applying various assorted goops and obsessing over every square inch of our horse’s body in search of the tiniest smidgeon of discomfort. We have the equine chiropractor/acupuncturist/massage therapist/saddle fitter on speed dial, and it’s a small wonder that our long-suffering vets and farriers haven’t just blocked our numbers already.
We’ll go the extra mile for our four-legged partners every time but when it comes to our own bodies, our self-prescribed RX is always something along the lines of “take two ibuprofen and do it all over again the next morning.”
You guys, we could all try a little harder. Here are four smart life hacks for post-ride rider recovery, all borrowed from our horse’s own wellness toolkit.
Soak Away the Stiffness: Why let your horse’s abscesses have all the fun? Draw up a warm bath after you get in from the barn, add two cups of epsom salts, pour a glass of wine (in a glass, not the tub), and hop in. Epsom salts have many health benefits, from promoting better digestion and sounder sleep to soothing sore muscles and drawing out swelling.
#ProTip: Save the generic brand for your horse — you’ve earned some swanky Dr. Teal’s. Amazon Prime has a 9-lb. three-pack of the good doctor’s scented salts (lavender, eucalyptus & spearmint, rosemary & mint) for $26.95. Put your credit card info in and click “purchase.” Trust me, it will change your life.
Also, you can keep your epsom salts in mason jars and it’s very Pinterest. Photo by Leslie Wylie.
Stretch Those Muscles: You start every ride with suppling exercises and end each ride with a cool-down, and yet when was the last time you hit up a yoga class — or even just took a few minutes for a basic stretch?
Remember: as riders we are half of the equation (if not much more), and our own stiff muscles and joints aren’t doing our horses any favors. Just like you do for your horse, work in ample warm-up time of your own before swinging into the saddle. A little bit of stretching can go a long way to improve your flexibility in the saddle and reduce tension.
“10 Stretches You and Your Horse Should Be Doing, Presented by Draper Therapies” is a great place to start, or if you’re a visual person check out this video from the FEI’s Fitness with Equestrians series. Ali and Mari share simple exercises to help jump start your new routine with “yoga-inspired” poses for equestrians. They target hip health in particular, which is important to improving the “balance between stability and mobility.”
Watch the video below to learn seven stretches you can do right there at the barn. You don’t even have to change out of your breeches!
Eat (and Drink) Like a Horse: Riding, if you’re really putting your back into it, is a legit workout! We sweat, we burn calories, and then what? We pick up a soda and Chinese takeout on the way home from the barn.
Would you feed your horse soda and Chinese takeout? Of course not. Gross. You know the exact nutritional breakdown of your horse’s grain, his SmartPak is the length of your arm, and the only thing he’s drinking is clean, fresh H2O like the good lord intended. So why are YOU eating and drinking garbage?
Oh right, because you’re busy and exhausted and don’t have the time or energy to whip up that precious paleo/vegan/whole-30 approved dish your friend posted on Instagram. Great news! The year is 2019 and a number of companies now exist that will deliver pre-measured, convenient, nutritious, delicious, ready-to-cook meals. It’s basically the human equivalent of SmartPak. Check out Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Sun Basket, Gobble, Freshly, Purple Carrot, Fresh Direct and there are many more out there catering to your own dietary needs just a Google search away.
As for the hydration bit, we get that the struggle is real, but just try to make better decisions every now and again m’kay?
Choose wisely (sometimes). Photo by Leslie Wylie.
Borrow Your Horse’s Stuff (Or Get Your Own Stuff!): You’ve done it, I’ve done it, we’ve all borrowed stuff from our horse and used it for ourselves. Ice boots, poultice, magnets, liniments, even maybe a laser thingee … I’ve taken them all from the tack room to the couch. Draper Therapies, whose products I’ve believed in since this saddle pad made a big difference for a sensitive mare I had several years ago, gets it. But they don’t want you using their cooler as a bedspread anymore.
In fact, they’ve come out with a whole line of products just for human therapeutic use. From bed liners and blankets to socks, support sleeves, t-shirts, hats and scarves, Draper has us covered, literally. Put that brilliant Celliant technology to good use, on yourself!
Is it a cute, comfortable, breathable t-shirt, or is it a therapeutic product that promotes quicker recovery as well as increased strength and endurance? Spoiler alert: It’s both. Images via Draper Therapies.
Take better care of yourselves, EN. Until next time …
Draper Therapies is proud to produce the highest quality products featuring Celliant®, the first technology of its kind to be designated by the FDA as a medical device. Celliant is shown to increase tissue oxygenation by eight percent, which helps the body recover faster from physical activity as well as increase energy, endurance, stamina, and performance. To learn more about Draper Therapies and Celliant, visit www.drapertherapies.com.