Many horse owners are very good at looking after their equine friend. If you look in a tack and feed shed, there are many items and supplement on offer to make sure the equine friends are well cared for.
But, how well are you looking after yourself?
Anyone who does prolonged exercise, especially if it involves sweating, knows we have to drink water. However, there is also the need to look after your mineral balance in your body – also known as electrolytes.
As a rider, if you spend a couple or more hours in the saddle (especially at a faster pace, or in hot conditions), as a hoofcare professional, if you trim longer than a couple of hours, you need to ensure you replenish your electrolytes lost in that activity. If we keep pushing on like this day after day, you simply start putting your health at risk.
Electrolytes are important for our muscles to function properly, they are needed for the nerves that make the muscles contract. Keeping them balanced in the body will allow you to function for longer, but also leads to a faster recovery, so you can function well again the next day.
Here is an example of an electrolyte product that I use when out trimming horses, but also for other activities like mountain biking. In the past I should have used it when I was endurance riding, but I didn’t. What I like with this drink is that the base is effectively freeze-dried fruit juice that is ground down to powder. Freeze-drying is a process that preserves the original product as much as possible as it extracts the water so rapidly.
Many sports electrolyte drinks, just as this one, are what is called isotonic, this means that the electrolyte and sugar concentration is similar to that of the human body.
On the other hand, be aware of the energy content in such sports drinks. They are formulated to be used while doing physical activity for a prolonged time. If that is not what you do, then you should stick to water and ensure your base diet provides you with what is needed. If you are weight conscious but need to top up your electrolyte levels, then you can use a product that is low in energy but just provides the electrolytes.
Have you ever exercised at high intensity and tried to eat something? That is not an easy task. Many endurance athletes use energy gels as a source of energy for this. This is something an Endurance Rider could consider as well. While their work out is not as intense as that of an runner or cyclist, it is not that easy to eat something solid while cantering your horse. Ripping a gel sachet open and sucking it out could be a real prospect. Also the trekking rider who is out for many hours and is limited with how much space they have, might enjoy a “pick-me up” snack like that.