Here's something interesting...Most horsefolk have this in common: We tend to take top-notch care of our horses, and not-so-great care of ourselves. Case in point, all the competition horses at Sioux River receive some sort of therapeutic treatment a couple times a year...chiropractic work, massage or acupuncture. I can't remember the last time I did anything like that for myself. The horses all get their teeth done by the equine dentist every spring, too. I am YEARS overdue for a cleaning myself.
Many horse people eat like crap but obsess over their horses' diets. Many horse people suffer from back pain or other physical affects of years of riding, giving little to no TLC to their bodies. Meanwhile we inject our horses with glucosamine to maintain their joints, feed them vitamins and minerals, stretch them out after rides, rub them up and down with liniment, and–if you're lucky enough to live near one of these "equine spa facilities"–pay for them to have UV and salt-water therapy treatments.
Doing all that for our horses is wonderful, but what about us? If horse and rider are a team, and we understand that the horse part of that team performs better when they are fit, healthy and pain-free, then why in the world would we ignore the rider part of the equation? Certainly the rider's weaknesses, pain, stiffness and a-symetries impact the horse and the performance of the team.
Yesterday I was riding, and as I trotted past the mirror in the area I noticed that my shoulders were uneven. My left was higher than my right. I stopped in front of the mirror and concentrated on pulling my left shoulder down and back to match my right. When I did this, the opposite side of my lower back became stiff and I felt my right thigh poke off the saddle a little. Wow, I am crooked. I think I have always been (most people are), but carrying a heavy baby around in my right arm has made it more pronounced. Hmmm, maybe this is why our right-to-left lateral work is not as good as our left-to-right...
I definitely don't want to be the weak link in the team, and I also don't want to have to quit riding at too young an age due to a worn-out, abused back. So, I'm resolving to take better care of myself and find ways to support my body so that it can keep up with the demands of this sport and not hold me back. Tell me, what are some of the things you do to take care of yourself?