There’s this meme I see pop up on social media every so often, and it always makes me laugh because I find it embarrassingly relatable:
While the equestrian world certainly has its share of the yoga-doing, clean-eating types, let’s be honest. A lot of us are also guilty of neglecting our own basic health and wellness because we’re distracted by the daily care and upkeep of our horses and their habitat. Not to mention the other horse-related distractions that keep us away from proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise (eat ice cream while watching the livestream from a horse show three time zones west in the middle of the night? Don’t mind if I do!)
So, here I’ve compiled some of the body’s possible responses when an equestrian asks the question, “Why do I feel so terrible?” Feel free to add your own in the comments.
- You carried full water buckets, bales of hay, and 50-pound bags of grain across the barn with absolutely no regard to proper lifting technique.
- You spent two hours walking up and down hills, retrieving unwilling lesson ponies, while wearing the same falling-apart boots you’ve been wearing for eight years.
- You ate nothing from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. except two bites of an unwashed carrot, one gradually cooling travel mug of coffee that lasted all day, and a couple of those mystery cookies that have been in the barn fridge for months.
- You rode the laziest horse in the barn until your leg muscles literally stopped working.
- You rode the horse who jumps a 2’ crossrail like he’s Superman clearing the Empire State Building.
- You rode the horse who spooks so hard at his own shadow that you probably legitimately have whiplash.
- You rode all of these horses without ever once even considering doing a single stretch before or after to give your muscles a fighting chance.
- You’ve been playing tug-o-war with the resident draft horse as you lead him out to the field every day since the first blade of spring grass appeared.
- You are forever worrying about making sure your horse isn’t one-sided, but you can’t be bothered to switch your dominant side when mucking stalls or sweeping the barn aisle.
- There was almost no nutritional value in the fair food you ate at the horse show all weekend.
- Saying “I forgot to put on sunscreen again” doesn’t actually do anything to prevent sun damage.
- You spent 14 hours working at the barn and then ignored your desperate need for sleep, staying up until 1 a.m. watching sales videos for horses you’ll never buy.
Guess we’ll never know, indeed.
Back to The Near Side
Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com