Equestrian Medical Safety Association

Health & Fitness

Tips for Maintaining Your Health

Athlete Development

This document sets out a multi-year program for long-term athlete development for riders, drivers, vaulters and their parents and coaches. It is a serious discussion of what it takes to develop, train and maintain an elite equestrian athlete over a 10 year period and 10,000 hours.


Drugs and Alcohol

When riding don’t use any drugs that would get you arrested for DUI. Any unnecessary substances (such as alcohol) increase your potential for avoidable injury around horses. Anything which could potentially alter one’s reaction time (alcohol, barbiturates, pain medications, marijuana, etc.) should be avoided.

General Health Issues

There are a number of excellent books on the issue of rider fitness. Among these are:

  • The New Total Rider: Health and Fitness for the Equestrian (Tom Holmes)
  • The Rider’s Fitness Program (Dianne Robin Dennis)
  • 50 5 Minute Fixes to Improve Your Riding (Wendy Murdoch)
  • Rider Fitness: Body & Brain (Eckert Meyners)
  • Yoga for Equestrians: A New Path for Achieving Union with the Horse (Linda Benedik)

Nutrition and hydration, environmental factors tips, both for the horse and rider can be found on:

In general, fluids and electrolytes need to be maintained. A human may need to consume some form of electrolyte solution such as Gatorade. Eating is best done frequently and in small amounts. It is preferable to avoid fat loads (such as fried food) when possible.

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Information concerning how to maintain your physical health to be displayed here. Be sure to follow all safety guidelines for equine safety and consult our Resource section should you need health and fitness information.

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Heat Stress

Heat StressIn general, fluids and electrolytes need to be maintained. Water is most important. With prolonged exercise consume some form of electrolyte solution or sports drink. To stay hydrated, drink fluids at regular intervals during exercise (about every 20 minutes), rather than in response to thirst, which isn’t an accurate measure of hydration status. In fact, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Consuming cool fluids during timeouts and breaks protects your health and optimizes athletic performance.

Studies show that fluids containing sodium such as sports drinks increase voluntary drinking by 90% compared to drinking plain water because the electrolytes like sodium in a sports drink help maintain the stimulus to drink (thirst) and help complete hydration – a major factor in keeping athletes safe on the playing field. In addition, water lacks the carbohydrate energy needed to fuel working muscles to help athletes perform at their best.

To find information on a sports hydration topic, click on a topic in which you are interested. You will be sent to a list of articles, videos and blogs on that topic. If you are unable to find the sports hydration information you are looking for on the topics page, please e-mail us your request or pose the question to Equestrian Medical Safety community of horse people and experts (of which you are an important part) by clicking on the Forums tab at the top of the page, finding a forum in which to ask your question or start a new discussion thread.

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Training for basic riding and equine competitions starts with a basic cross-training and riding lessons. Long term training ideas and goals are documented in Long Term Athlete Development.

Be sure to follow all safety guidelines for equine safety and consult our Library for more information.

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