It’s great to see more and more equestrian people seeing themselves as athletes and this is particularly noticeable in the professional and semi professional riders. it is important that all riders look after themselves as well as they look after their horses!!! The difference in eventing of winning or being further down the order can be so minute that small adjustments and slight lifestyle changes can make all the difference.
This season I have been using High5 products to ensure that I am hydrated, have energy to keep performing and recover well. These products have made a lot of difference to my energy levels both on competing and very busy days over the last few months. I started using these products in May this year where High 5 were at Houghton Horse Trials and giving sample testers at the end of everyone’s cross country round.
This was perfect timing as it was the beginning of the hot spell and to be hydrated before and after the XC was excellent, also they had energy bars and gels for refuelling.
When you think about triathletes, swimmers, runners, and cyclists they all use these products to help them perform. You often see the cyclists getting a gel from their back pocket whilst cycling along in their races to give them an energy boost.
As athletes riders should do the same, particularly during really hot spells – we are all very good at focusing on our horses wellbeing – making sure they are hydrated and using salt or electrolytes with plenty of freshwater and wet feeds but we do not necessarily do the same for ourselves. I drink the High 5 – electrolytes products throughout the day to ensure I am hydrated and eat their energy bars or gel in between disciplines so that I don’t go out on the cross country tracks feeling heavy in my stomach from eating the wrong foods or the reverse feeling weak from not eating. All their products have very strict controls to avoid cross contamination and they work with the WADA guidelines.
I really feel this then keeps you alert and focused which can make a huge difference to the speed at which you can make quick decisions around the course. Your reactions have to be so quick and this can make a difference between clearing and not clearing a fence.
Fitter is better
In conjunction with this I have also changed my training programme since the end of last year. I used to do a variety of fitness classes which kept me cardiovascularly fit and to some extent strong but not necessarily in the right way.
I have been training with guidance and tuition from a personal trainer (White Horse Marlborough Crossfit) two or three times per week. This has made a huge difference to my balance and fitness. Particularly my core and getting my body equally balanced. I always used to collapse my core on the left hand side when jumping as my body was not equal in strength.This was mainly due to the daily mucking out as however hard you try to split the workload with each side of your body in reality it doesn’t work so your muscles develop differently. I have completely changed my training over the last 8 months and now work using a cross fit programme. This concentrates more on muscular strength without bulking out.
The benefits of being fitter:
Alertness – quick reaction to situations with your horse particularly xc – this could be the difference between a fall or not.
Muscular Strength – particularly core – which has a huge impact on control and balance and performance of your horse. Control through your core not your hands.
My own balance has improved – this therefore improves the horses balance and ability to perform in all disciplines and makes it less hard work for them and makes you more secure in your sea