Riders tend to pay better attention to their horses' diets than to their own, according to both the Equestrian Medical Safety Assocation (EMSA) and "The Whole Horse Catalog." A rider's diet must support the energy and bone health required for riding and equestrian sports.
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Complex carbohydrates--from rice, pasta, cereals and breads, for example--provide lasting energy. Consider that marathon runners routinely gorge on pasta the evening before a race.
Because protein promotes growth of new tissue and healing injuries, EMSA recommends two to three servings of meat per day, from sources like turkey, fish, nuts, tofu and dairy products.
"Of all of the nutrients, none is more crucial to health and athletic performance than plain water," says EMSA. It helps a rider to regulate body temperature, and dehydration causes sluggishness and slow react time, which is dangerous to a rider. EMSA advises against diuretics like caffeine and high-sodium beverages like tomato juice during competition.
"The Whole Horse Catalog" recommends that maturing female riders alter their diets to include calcium (using supplements as needed) to promote bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
During a Ride
On the day of a competition or long ride, EMSA recommends constant hydration and carbohydrate snacks, to maintain energy and alertness.
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