Horseback riders are some of the toughest athletes out there. We get dirty and muddy, sweaty and sore. We get scraped up, broken, and tossed on the ground. But we keep coming back to do it again. After many years of riding I can now make a compilation to show you my 7 rules (or hacks) to be a comfy rider.
1. Dont eat too much before riding
There is nothing worse than the feeling of a bouncing belly trying to keep up on the sitting trot right after a meal. Everyone loves to eat, who doesn't! It is one of the biggest pleasures of life - BUT - if right after lunch time you have a riding lesson scheduled or you have planned to go ride your horse try to eat just what you need. You will thank me later!
2. Wear the right riding socks
This are the characteristics that you must look for in riding socks:
- Easy washability provides extra care and increases hygiene level
- Rapid transpiration for maximum breathability and support
- High elasticity and resilience offers ultimate fit and compression feeling.
- Reinforced heel and toe for a comfortable and long lasting experience.
- High-quality materials
Riding with socks that do not meet these properties can lead you to the worst riding time of your life. Socks that rub and wear in the toe and heel can in a matter of seconds irritate and peel off your skin, leaving the leather boot in direct contact with your skin. Who can keep the heels down in the stirrup with such pain?!
3. Compeed, your new ally
No matter how careful you are, it may happen that the skin rubs due to brand new those boots you've been waiting for weeks to arrive, a bad fit of the riding breeches or simply because the saddle that we have used today rubbed especially on the knee. As soon as you notice a small rub on the skin (From the knee down), first of all disinfect properly. The best natural way to heal them is to let them dry. In case you are planning to get back on the saddle in the next 24 hours, use compeed blister plaster. It protects the skin perfectly against future friction while helping the regeneration of the skin. Don't take them off to shower! Ideally, leave it on until it falls off.
4. Take care of your nails
A split nail is characterized by a crack forming in your nail. Nail splits can be horizontal, across the nail’s tip, or vertical, splitting the nail in two. If one of your nails split and you still have to spend the day among horses, it is probably gonna get stuck in everything you touch. From the mane and tail of your horse while brushing, in the saddle numnah, your own clothes, the gloves... and cross your fingers so you don't knock that already sensitive area! Believe me, two eyes are not enough to watch over that d**n nail!
While there’s not much that you can do to fix a split nail, there are ways you can prevent your nails from splitting in the first place:
- Keep your nails clean, healthy and not too long.
- Refrain from keeping your hands in water for long periods.
- Use moisturizer on your nails and cuticles.
- Use nail hardening products if needed.
- Don’t bite or pick around your nails.
- Abstain from using nail polish remover.
- Don’t rip or pull your hangnails.
- Take supplements such as biotin with recommendation of a doctor.
5. Stick to your tack
Slip saddle gripping products are no replacement for proper equitation, training and fitness in the saddle. (Yes, you still have to practice your sitting trot.) But these products do have their place, and that's because they work.
My favourite sticky product is from Effax , it comes in convenient push-up tubes that resemble a deodorant tube. Apply it to your saddle before your riding time and feel the diference!
6. Use padded underwear
It improves the way you sit on a horse
"As soon as I started wearing MRU, I stopped sitting in a weird way to avoid pain or friction burns. So I started sitting much more upright, being able to feel the horse’s movement. Not having my own horse, I am constantly dependent on what horse owners think of me – using MRU to improve your posture is just such an easy win!" Jasmin from @teampupenkiste
7. Ease muscle soreness naturally
Getting back in the riding routine can literally be a pain in the butt. Achy muscles after a hard lesson, or the first few riding hours after a long break, is normal and can even be healthy.
Good muscle soreness is a sign that you are pushing your muscles to their limits. Anyway horses are unpredictable and they can make an unexpected U-turn or even buck because they're feeling particularly fresh. The body is gonna try it's best to stay in the saddle and is common to feel some cramps or muscle pain after that.
While no single food or nutrient will prevent muscle soreness, eating a well-balanced diet, including some of the following foods, may help with muscle recovery after an over effort:
- Wholegrain bread
- Ricotta or cottage cheese
I hope these tricks help you just like they help me. Stay healthy!