Nutrition For Dressage Riders

All to often I talk to riders who know so much about their horses nutrition and will spend all their pennies on making sure their horse is on the right supplements. Everything from enough magnesium, selenium through to b vitamins and toxin binders which is fantastic. However that same rider is then loading their own body up with white breads, pastas, muffins, cakes, alcohol and biscuits. Everything that is pretty much void of all nutrition. They know inside and out what their horse needs dietary wise, yet they never put the effort into their own body.

As a dressage rider it is just as important that you take care of your own body as you do your horses. The food that you eat builds every single cell in your body. You are what you eat, every single food you eat has a reaction in your body. Food can either enhance you or do the opposite.

Most riders  will also know exactly the way the time of year the grass changes can affect the behavior of their horse. Food has the same affect on your body, but often we ignore it and disguise it with more sugar, caffeine and what ever else is quick and easy to grab.

Riders will also understand the quality of the feed your horse is getting determines how he looks, feels, and performs. If you feed your horse a high grain diet it could have a couple of different reactions. One could be positive and make him more athletic and the other could create quite the explosive spooky temperamental experiment to ride each and every day. That same rider most probably then to knows the supplements then and feed that can counteract that and if they don’t, they will do everything they can and ask everyone they know what they recommend and also change his diet.

Dressage riders wouldn’t dare to overfeed or underfeed your horse and often keep a super close eye on his weight, temperament and work load and you adjust everything to suit.


So why is it then that I see all the time riders do the complete opposite for their own health?

Dressage riders are intelligent people to, you have to be to be able to train an animal. So I don’t think that its intelligence that is lacking here. I think it is just an unclear picture of priorities and goals. You see if you want to shine as a dressage rider, no matter what your level. You need to put as much effort into your own nutrition and fitness as your horses. You don’t after all want to hold back your horses abilities due to the fact that you aren’t fit enough or healthy enough to keep up or to be able to put in the hours to train your horse well. It takes energy and vitality to ride horses each and every day and hold down a job to pay for that hobby of ours. Its rather expensive you know!

The honest truth is I want to see you really succeed and be the best dressage rider you can be, so in order for that to happen its time for you to also take care of yourself. To put yourself and your health first. Health is wealth and lets face it those horse feed bills need you to be healthy enough to be able to work and ride productively and effeciently! You cannot do those things if you are dragging your feet each and every day due to the rubbish diet you are feeding yourself. You simply wont have the energy to put in the effort to that sport you love at the end of a long days work.

So lets start to pay attention to our own health and start taking care of your amazing body at the same time as your amazing horse.

Here are some tips to help get you started with what you should be eating.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink 2+ litres of water per day.
  • Eat intuitively. Meaning only eat when you are hungry and allow yourself to feel hunger and don’t just eat because your bored or its that time of day. Then don’t overeat and stop eating once you feel fueled
  • Base your diet around vegetables and eat as many green vegetables per day as possible. Try adding a green smoothie to your diet daily as a great source of nutrients and nourishing energy. Here is a great smoothie recipe I use often
  • Add good quality protein to each of your meals
  • Cut sugar out of your diet and only eat sugar from whole real foods such as fruit and honey
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine
  • Eat three good meals per day with one of those meals being a great breakfast by 8am, this helps set up your ghrelin and leptin hormones which control cravings and satiety. Important to help you avoid cravings later in the day.
  • Avoid processed foods and eat whole real foods only. Look at the ingredients, if you can’t understand, pronounce or read it the words. Leave it. Ingredient lists should be real food only, not chemicals, additives and preservatives.
  • Stop eating 3 hours before bed. Melatonin is produced in your gut, this is your recover and repair hormone and helps you sleep. If you are eating to late you can disrupt this and effect your sleep quality, therefore your energy the next day, not to mention your waistline.
  • If you get cravings try having things like herbal teas. Peppermint is great for helping to reduce cravings.
  • Aim to get 8 hours of sleep per night.


For more information on rider nutrition and performance, check out our dressage rider training program. Fine tune your diet so you can let that dressage athlete shine within you. Become fitter, stronger and leaner in the comfort of your own living rom with this program.  Get access to nutrition questionnaires, menus, meal plans and nutrition information with this program inside the online gym. All the tools to see you succeed! Learn more here.


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