Jumping through the cross-country course I noticed myself feeling weak and dizzy. I continued to tell myself all was okay as my horse made her way over the cross-country obstacles. I was almost at the finish line when everything went black.
I started to wake up in the ambulance. My mouth was very dry and I was extremely thirsty. Then it dawned on me; I had not had a drink all day. I did this to myself. I was so wrapped up with the duties of the day that I forgot to replenish myself. I was dehydrated to the point of falling right off my horse.
Riders participate in a large amount of physical activity around horses. I have taken notice that many equestrians experience dehydration symptoms at some point in their careers.
Dehydration is 100% preventable. Always have an adequate water supply available for yourself and remember to maintain a regular intake of water. Remember to include plenty of carbohydrates for endurance. Replenish those electrolytes and especially during those summer days, salt intake is crucial.
Equestrians take impeccable care of their horses. Equestrians need to take impeccable care of themselves as well! And if you are not feeling well do not mount your horse. I was fortunate that day. A fall on a cross-country course can be dangerous for both horse and rider. Dehydration can be one cause of a fall that can be prevented.
Remember to spread the word ‘Of Horse” audience! Dehydration is a topic that should be included in all aspects of the horse world to including clubs, 4-H groups, and barn meetings, and show committee meetings. Trainers and coaches need to remind their riders to stay hydrated as well as their horses. And riders need to remind their trainers, stable help, judges and parents. Pass around those water bottles at your next equestrian event!