Hello and welcome! I’m so excited to finally introduce you to my blog, where I’ll be focusing on nutrition for YOU, the equestrian athlete.
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I feel so strongly about the powerful role that food and nutrition has on our health, athletic performance, and overall wellness.
I'm also a fellow equestrian with a showjumping background, and I've recently taken up classical dressage as a way to improve my jumping. I'll also be the first to admit that I get it. I know the struggle of finding balance between riding and work, and previously between that and school, let alone including a balanced diet in the mix.
I haven’t always prioritized my own health and well-being before that of my horse’s. As equestrians, we tend to put our horses needs first, and we can’t help but provide the best for our four-legged friends and teammates. We provide them with the highest quality feed, invest in our tack, schedule them for chiropractic work and massages, make sure they get all their supplements…the list goes on. After all, your horse is an incredible athlete and the best teammate you can ask for who will jump mountains for you, so it makes sense that we’ll do anything to keep them healthy, happy and performing their best.
Now, take a step back and ask yourself - when was the last time you took that kind of care of yourself? Quick poll:
(a). You occasionally scarf down fast food or a greasy hotel breakfast when you forget/don't have time to eat before schooling or showing
(b). You arrive to the barn with a coffee (and maybe granola bar) in hand, which may or may not be all you eat and drink until the end of the day
(c). You snack on chips, cookies and candy stashed away in your trailer/tack trunk
(d). All of the above
If you chose ‘d’, that’s okay! As an amateur or professional rider, all of the above is bound to happen, but it shouldn’t be the norm.
Since my career is in human nutrition, I can’t help but look at the way nutrition enhances or hinders our health and athletic performance. The lack of focus on human nutrition for equestrians is just mind-blowing. Nutrition plays a key role in optimizing performance in swimmers, soccer/basketball/football players, runners, yogis, and virtually every other sport out there, but typically, not ours. Just about every player in the NBA, NFL, MLB, etc. works with a Registered Dietitian to enhance their health and performance. It's time for our sport to recognize the power of nutrition and begin to prioritize it for its dedicated athletes.
We Are Athletes.
But you already knew that. You’re part of a team, and your teammates just happen to be 1200-pound animals with a mind of their own and the power of a freight train. We have high expectations of them, and sacrificing your health for theirs won’t benefit either of you in the long run. For all their hard work, they deserve the most physically and mentally fit version of their teammate (that's you!). Does this mean you have to be a certain weight, shape, or size? Not necessarily. This means you can and should use nutrition to boost your energy, improve your focus, and enhance strength & endurance to improve your riding. Just think of your own nutrition as another tool you can utilize to optimize your performance outside of, and in the show ring.
You may not be aware of what kind or how much of each macronutrient to eat before and after a ride, or how different micronutrients can enhance or hinder your performance. You may or may not know how to adjust your calories/macros depending on the length and type of riding you’re doing, but trust me when I say that prioritizing your nutrition will make all the difference in your energy and performance.
So, what can you expect to see in this blog?
Consider this your go-to resource for evidence-based, no-BS nutrition information. I'll be covering everything from the roles and recommended types of different macro- and micronutrients, busting nutrition myths, covering the latest diet trends, product reviews, to giving you quick and easy recipes you can count on for those long days at the barn.
Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll be breaking down one of my favorite macronutrients that plays a major role in your riding – the ever-controversial carbohydrate!
I hope you enjoyed this post, and I’d love to hear from you! Leave any comments/questions you have in the comment section below. Connect with GE on Instagram, too, by tagging @gavi.equestrian and #GaviEquestrian.