Equestrian life is unlike anything else. Training, competing, and staying in shape so you can compete in different events takes a lot of time and effort. While you may be thinking about how to exercise and how often to get on the horse, what many pros forget to tell newbies is how important your feet are. Riding is hard on the body, your feet included. If you want to do better at events and feel better at home afterward, here are the best ways to support your feet.
Invest in Quality Sandals
Too many people throw on cheap sandals when they go swimming or head to the beach. They don’t realize that the foot pain they are experiencing may be related. Invest in a great pair of women’s flat sandals if you want to mitigate this problem. Better quality sandals give your feet more support and keep you from swelling or getting microtears that can cause pain. This will mean less pain when you’re on the horse training or competing.
Wear Supportive Sneakers
Ankle support is critical. The average person doesn’t realize how physically demanding equine sports are. When you’re on the horse, wearing the right boots helps to mitigate these issues, but when you’re doing everyday things, a good pair of supportive sneakers goes a long way to improving your foot health. Good arch support is also important and can help prevent plantar fasciitis.
Do Foot Exercises
You might exercise your arms and legs, but when was the last time you did foot exercises? You can do exercises to strengthen your foot muscles. A calf raise for instance not only helps your legs but also helps your feet. You can even pick up small objects like marbles to improve the strength of the tiny muscles in your feet. A tennis ball roll exercise will also help your feet as well.
Stretch Your Feet
Think about including your lower leg in some of your foot exercises. Doing stretches against a wall that stretches your calf will also work your feet. You can also do toe splays, big toe stretches, and ankle circles to help your feet loosen up and feel better as well.
One of the most important parts of working out and building muscle strength has more to do with how well you stretch afterward. So, when you get off the horse, take time to stretch your body, including your feet, if you want to minimize pain in between training and competing.
Warm Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt is a form of magnesium. When it is dissolved in warm water, magnesium has incredible benefits. Bathing your feet in Epsom salt water can relieve muscle pain, promote healing, and improve your bone strength all at once. The warm water will also improve blood flow to your feet.
When you’re riding, your feet have to stay in the right position to maneuver the horse and keep you from falling off. This is no easy feat. After you exert yourself, give your feet a relaxing warm bath to thank them for all their hard work.
Keep Your Feet Dry
Dry feet are critical. Warm moist environments are the perfect place for bacteria and other organisms to grow. When your feet are constantly damp, you’ll be more likely to experience athlete’s foot and other foot fungus issues. These are not only smelly, but they can also cause foot pain and other problems along the way. And once you get a foot fungus, it’s even harder to get rid of. Be careful if you buy used equestrian gear for this reason. While it’s a great way to go green, you need to be careful to kill off any bacteria or fungi before you wear hats and shoes that have been used by an unknown source.
Riding is hard, but it’s incredible. The power of the horse underneath you as you direct and guide movements and push the limits of not only their abilities but also yours is very satisfying. To ensure you can enjoy equine sports as long as possible without injury, take good care of your feet. You’ll appreciate it when you’re doing activities on and off the saddle.