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The Horseshow Hangover

The weekend is done,

Ribbons have been won-

Time to relax and have some fun!

…said no one ever.

Seriously though, we all know that after an exhausting –albeit probably rewarding- weekend of showing, we all dread the devastating aftermath…the horseshow hangover (dramatic dundundun for effect).

Similar to a regular hangover, the horseshow hangover leaves you exhausted, sore, broke and wondering what drove you to such insanity. What makes it even harder is that often times our “Friday night” doesn’t end until late Sunday leaving us disheveled and feeling like a “hot mess” come Monday.

After a weekend of competition, equestrians still have a lot of work ahead.

Now unfortunately, there is no –cure- for the horseshow hangover, but by following certain steps we can manage the symptoms and probably even make it through the week!

So, without further ado…

1. Take care of your damn self! We all know that great horsemanship involves bathing our sweaty horses, cooling them down, making sure they have plenty to drink and a good stack of hay, wrapping and rubbing ointment on their legs, etc. But how many of us actually take that same care of ourselves?


Honestly, we work pretty hard too and we deserve the same care. So that means: staying hydrated, getting enough to eat, and our own “aftercare”. For human aftercare I suggest some of the same things we do for our equine companions: a warm shower or bath, a good rub down of arnica or a similar pain relieving spray/gel/lotion and warm tea (or glass of wine as needed) before bed. Also, I highly recommend vitamin C or whatever else you need to do to prevent a cold as an immunity boost the next morning.

What a pain in the… Take care of yourself now to avoid soreness tomorrow!

2. Wipe it down! Your leather. All of it. I know, I know, when it’s 8pm and you haven’t even left the show grounds yet the last thing on your mind is tack, or cleaning your boots… but consider the alternative. We’ve all told ourselves “I’ll just clean it –really- good tomorrow”, only to find that the next day we

haven’t the time, energy or willpower to give our equipment the love it deserves after being neglected all night. Moral of the story, don’t wait.

3. Hang it up! So this one I’m totally guilty of… getting home from a long weekend with my riding jacket shoved somewhere in the trunk of my car, or lining my groom bag where it sits until the day before my next show when I’m frantically searching for it hoping that by some miracle it’s clean [it’s not]. Now to be absolutely transparent- I have one of those “anti-wrinkle” jackets and my dry cleaner on speed dial, but you can still save yourself a lot of anguish and sometimes even some money by hanging up your show jacket when you get home.

4. Don’t get stuff wet! Haha, just kidding. We all know that between saddle pads, bandages, towels and on hot days- your helmet (eww), things aren’t going to stay dry. The real tip here is to avoid said moisture-ridden articles from mingling with dry things, or invading closed spaces with their stank. Yes, I said stank. This means hang up wet saddle pads where they can air dry, put wet laundry together in a hamper or basket, and by the love of Epona (she’s the horse goddess right?) DO NOT put wet things [gloves and helmet, I mean you] in your trunk- either of them! Seriously, I’m pretty sure doing so is

illegal- though I’m probably citing sanitation law or some environmental code. Point is: let it dry out, or keep it separate… your nose will thank you.

5. Make a list! Personally, I’m all about the lists. Grocery lists, to-do lists, playlists, heck- I’m making a list now! Enough about me though, lists are great because they can remind us of things; that means we can remember to do things tomorrow, which leads me to my final tip…

6. Don’t try to do everything! We all know that as an equestrian you can handle your badass self, but don’t try to be a superhero. Do what you can, but don’t be afraid to make a list of the things that can legitimately wait until tomorrow. Laundry can wait! I realize that often times we can get overwhelmed with the amount of stuff we have to get done, and often times that’s because we give ourselves too short a timeframe to do it. My rule of thumb is to make sure the horse is good, I’m good, and nothing is going to get ruined and past that I give myself some leeway as to what I get done and what I don’t.

Be sure to air out your dirty laundry… don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.

At the end of the day you need to do what works best for you and your situation, but hopefully my tips remind you to be gentle with yourself. Take care of things, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, and you’ll take that horseshow hangover in –stride-

Love your horse, and love thyself, the rest will all come out in the wash ;)

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