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Healthy Eating Is Possible Even As a Busy & Traveling Groom

Healthy eating tips for horse grooms

You don’t forget anything for your horses because they are so important to you. Treat yourself the same!

For almost 30 years, before I started my health and life coaching business, I worked as a groom and rider in different stables and countries in Europe, riding young horses up until the international level. So from experience, I know that days and weeks in a life with horses are never the same. That’s why I like to help you with some tips and tricks to get more structure and balance in your eating pattern. Because I know now that it is possible to eat and live healthily, even as a busy groom with long days and lots of traveling.

First Things First — Make Yourself a Priority!

One important thing that everyone, including every groom (!), needs to realize is that you can only take care of someone or something else if you take care of yourself first. When you leave for a show, you will ensure you don’t forget anything for your horses because they are so important to you. Treat yourself the same! You HAVE to make yourself a priority! This is the most important part of living and eating healthy, even as a busy groom. Life is much easier and nicer when you are the best version of yourself.

Tips for staying energized on busy days:

  1. You might have a checklist of what to take to a horse show for your horses. Do the same for yourself and make a basic food checklist. Count the days from leaving til coming back home and take enough food for all days. It prevents you from making unhealthy food choices at the competition grounds and at the gas stations during traveling.  
  2. Try to eat something six times a day. Three regular meals and three snacks. If you don’t eat for a long time, you are more sensitive to start eating junk food. This is what our reptilian brain does.
  3. Try to eat every three hours. As a traveling show groom, your life is so irregular that you never know when you will start and finish your meals. So, think in hours, not in the time of the day.
  4. Choose slow carbohydrates. This is fiber-rich food that gives you energy and keeps you satisfied longer. Whole grain products like whole grain bread, oats, brown rice, whole grain pasta, etc. 
  5. Bring enough fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain all the minerals and vitamins you need. If you have no place to cook, vegetables you can eat cold are recommended. 
  6. Eat protein-rich snacks. Protein is good for your muscles. It makes you strong. You can use this with all the lugging.
  7. Drink a lot of water. Keep yourself hydrated. Drink normal water as a habit. Drinks with a lot of sugar make you more tired at the end. That they make you go to the bathroom too much is no excuse! Your horses have seen enough; you can just pee in the stall. 😉 
  8. Do not bring too many candies, cookies, and snacks. If your horse would eat all this, he/she will never win a class. Why should you eat it yourself? Cookies and snacks are filled with sugar, salt, and saturated fat. It ‘fills’ you, but it doesn’t ‘feed’ you. 

A simple and healthy shopping list to prepare for work:

  • Fruits/vegetables (canned or fresh)
  • Beans and legumes (peas and chickpeas included!)
  • Milk, yogurt, or soft cheese with low sugar content
  • Whole grain oats
  • Whole grain products when choosing bread, pasta, rice, or wraps
  • Nuts without salt. Be careful; they add up fast since they contain around 600 calories for a couple small handfuls!
  • Canned fish or meat
A long-time equestrian, Herriët worked as a rider, coach, and groom in different stables and countries in Europe.

It’s Like a Circle

If I had had all this knowledge when I was working with horses, my horses would have been in much better shape than they already were. It is like a circle. You need good food, exercise, sleep, moments of relaxation, good times with friends and relatives, and passion to be the best version of yourself. If something is missing, the circle is not round anymore, and it can’t roll. I am convinced horses need the same to be happy and healthy.

Horses Taught Me to Be a Better Coach

I love my job, but horses will always have a huge place in my heart. They taught me to be a much better coach. Horses don’t speak. Through “body language,” you have to find out what they mean and what their problem might be. The connection you need to create is one without words. Sometimes people say one thing, but they mean something else. Horses taught me to recognize this by the look in people’s eyes or the reaction from their bodies. 

February 17, 2023

Herriët van Triest 🇳🇱

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