This is how I know I’m getting old: It’s the Monday after a horse show weekend, and my body is super sore from head to toe.
But it’s the good kind of sore. You know what I mean — every dull ache and stiff joint is a reminder of all the hard work I put in over the weekend, no matter the results. I’m literally smiling through the pain in my tender shoulders as I reminisce on a weekend well-spent with my horse.
Every rider is different of course, but I think many of us have our own unique routines for rest and recovery after a big event. This comes at the end of the weekend of course, after our horses have been expertly pampered, the trailer is cleared out and our tack is cleaned and stored away.
Rest and recovery is a vital part of any athlete’s routine, and as horseback riders, we are no different. I cobbled together some of my favorite tips for recovery from a few of my horsey friends.
Pamper yourself: I end nearly ever horse show weekend with a cold beer and a bubble bath. Epsom salts and many other soap-type elixirs help ease the raw muscle aches and stiff joints. It’s also a soothing way to rest (and get rid of horse manure stuck to your wrist) at the end of the day. A few friends say they’ll even invest in a professional massage the week after a horse show. Others just take it easy come the Monday “hangover” after a competition weekend, and try to work from home or sleep in a little later.
Share with your horse: After this last horse show weekend, I grabbed the tub of Mane & Tail Mineral Ice from my horse’s bucket and slathered the blue goo all over my lower back before getting in the truck to start the long haul home. It gave me a break from the aches and pains at least for a little while. There are definitely days when I’ve used my horse’s compression socks on myself. And maybe draped his Back On Track blanket over me, too… Other friends told me they even share their horse’s Bigeloil liniment.
Stretch: It might sound painful at first, but try to stay active after a horse show. Being immobile for too long right after a strenuous work out isn’t good for your body. So I start my Mondays after a horse show with some gentle yoga and pilates practice, just to keep myself limber and active.
Preventative practices: A friend said they take Ibuprofen during the show as a “preventative” to muscle soreness. Other preventatives could be more stretching before and in between classes at a horse show. And obviously staying hydrated. Sunscreen is a biggie, too.
Take care of your skin: We ride outside, in the heat, the cold, and the wet. There’s dust and there’s dirt. All of these elements can take a toll on your skin. So after a long horse show weekend, be good to your face. Whatever your skin routine is, invest in it and take extra care after a horse show. I’m big on hydration and moisturizing after a horse show, but a good exfoliating mask goes a long way, too.