Well, it looks like summer finally arrived-it’s probably rapidly retreated as I’m writing this isn’t it.
This got me to thinking about electrolytes. I bet loads of you have added these to your horses’ water or feed when out competing or doing hard work over summer.
What about you though? It is too easy as riders to forget about ourselves. We can happily spend all day at the yard mucking out, grooming, riding and barely take a sip of water. I know this because I am guilty of it too!
Firstly, what are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are salts that carry an Electrical charge. They are responsible for cell membrane stability and muscle contractions. They are messengers of the body and without them we are unable to function properly.
When we sweat we lose Electrolytes. One of the most common and obvious signs of electrolyte loss is muscle cramping, but it can also cause more serious muscle strains, along with dizziness, nausea (and the follow ons…)headaches and even fainting.
Before we even get to these more serious stages though a lack of electrolytes will affect your general performance. This could be yard jobs or it could be your riding.
I’m sure you don’t work all those hours to pay for your riding hobby only to perform at less than your best because you simply failed to hydrate adequately? Your concentration and your muscle strength diminish which of course means your riding will suffer.
So, what can you do?
Most obviously you can ensure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Take a large 2 litre bottle of water with you to the yard and make your way through it over the course of the day.
In normal circumstances unless you are doing extreme amounts of exercise I would not recommend sports drinks, however I think as most equestrians will be outside doing yard jobs and riding for hours at a time on hot days I think they are a simple way to keep your electrolytes in check. I use the sugar free versions to keep my calories in check and you can also get caffeine free versions if you need to drink them later in the day.
Although this may have sounded a little scary at the start it needn’t be a huge deal with just a little forethought and ensuring you and your horse are prepared for the hot weather.
Also, don’t forget your sun cream for you and your pink nosed friends!
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