If you’re like most equestrians your horse gets impeccable care including high quality feed, hay (&/or pasture) and supplements, a regular exercise program, and proper rest and downtime. Your horse has a team of people ensuring that he/she remains in top form. Their feet are regularly maintained, they are groomed regularly, and they may even have their own massage therapist, acupuncturist, or chiropractor. And if you’re like most equestrians, you have almost none of these things for yourself.
Many equestrians focus the majority of their time, money, and energy on the holistic health of their horse without considering the fact that the horse is only half of the equation. Imagine one of those old-time scales where it will tip one way or the other if unbalanced (like the scales of justice). Mentally load up the scales where one half is the horse and one half is the rider. Start with time; how much time is spent on the health & wellness of the horse vs. the rider? Then imagine money being placed on the scale in the same way. Finally energy; are you more concerned about ensuring your horse is in top condition and is mentally focused than you are yourself? Most equestrians tip the scale toward their horse with time and it only gets worse from there. In order for the horse and rider team to perform to their highest potential, BOTH partners must be in balance of body, mind, and spirit.
People underestimate the importance of the equestrian’s holistic health when it comes to their connection to their horse. They understand that a rider needs to be skilled, fit, and focused but often think that begins and ends in the ring. That’s not enough. You need to think outside the ring. Certain foods improve your focus, healing ability, and energy level. Water is critical for detoxification. Yoga strengthens the core and improves balance and focus. Positive thinking, affirmations and visualizations are vital for accomplishing goals. Proper rest (quality and quantity) aides healing, focus, and energy levels.
Here are a few quick tips to help equestrians to come into holistic balance.
- Eat Naturally – Avoid processed foods and be sure to eat 25-50% of fruits and veggies in their raw form.
- Heal Naturally – Drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day (150 lbs – drink 75 ounces) to aid in detoxification, reducing inflammation, and improving your energy level. Have some arnica gel on hand for sore muscles, bumps, and bruises.
- Move Naturally – Get some exercise beyond riding, grooming, and cleaning stalls. Consider yoga for its mind, body, spirit benefits.
- Act Naturally – Forgive others and forgive yourself. Regret and animosity are toxic , cloud your mind, and impair your health.
- Think Naturally – Incorporate positive self-talk and affirmations. No more “With my luck…” types of comments unless they are along the lines of “With my luck, I’ll accomplish my goals”.
- Sleep Naturally – Set a regular time to go to bed and get up each day. Be sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Keep the lights dim and get off of the computer at least one hour before going to bed.
- Live Naturally – spend some time connecting with your horse in a relaxed environment. Hand-graze them. Spend some extra time grooming and fussing over them. Go for a trail ride. Share an apple.
When the equestrian is in balance of body, mind, and spirit, the horse is better able to relax, focus, and connect with the rider so that the team can be stronger and better bonded. For a more complete look on getting the half above the saddle to come into balance, go to http://ShowRingSuccess.net.
Patti Bartsch, M.A., Ph.D. is a Certified Holistic Life & Wellness Coach who specializes in equestrian women. Her programs include individual and group coaching, and information products. She services clients worldwide via phone or Skype. Patti utilizes her experience as a scientist, nutritionist and educator to help individuals and groups to achieve their optimal life and health using natural methods.