Submitted by Deanna Stoppler, Team Easyboot 2015 Member
Farriers burn through a large amount of calories when working under horses. I consider the workout of farriery akin to wrestling. It's a slow kind of effort, sustained, like holding a wall squat until your quads spasm and you slide down to the floor. On average a wrestler who weighs 150-160 lbs burns between 200-300 calories per hour of wrestling. After a big day of trimming and shoeing my body feels pummeled, my quads heavy like wooden stumps, hands slightly swollen and stiff, and at times I suffer from an overall sense of malaise.
If I have ingested adequate calories and proper hydration, perhaps followed by an Epsom salt bath, I will most likely feel like a superhero in a matter of a day. If, on the other hand, I failed to snack, worked through lunch, and slurped only a few gulps of water, I will suffer undue stress and most likely get delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
DOMS occurs 12-72 hours after an intensive load on the muscle. If a farrier is not accustomed to being under horses all day for a day or more, DOMS is likely to occur.
Before becoming a farrier I was an ultrarunner—a runner who completes foot races over 26.2 miles. The longest race I ever ran was a 72-mile trail ultramarathon. Through trial and error during races, I figured out how to best fuel myself during a run and how to recover afterward. And even though I no longer race or run, the same techniques that helped me as an ultrarunner work for fueling as a farrier.
Proper hydration and fueling are two ways for a farrier to stay happy and healthy while in the field and after a long day.
Proper hydration. Ultrarunners need to be in tune with their hydration and electrolyte balances, particularly on super hot or very cold days. Hydration isn’t just about ingesting water, it’s about ingesting water and electrolytes together so the body can absorb the water rather than flush it away.
Dehydration and hyponatremia (drinking more water than the body can absorb) are serious concerns in hot AND cold weather and if you are under any kind of physically challenging stressors.
My go to electrolyte replacement product is the Nuun tab. Sugar free (stevia is used instead of sugar) and portable, Nuun tabs are easy to use and less likely to upset the stomach as a sweetened electrolyte fluid such as Gatorade.
Another option for those who don’t like the flavor of electrolyte drinks is ingesting an electrolyte tablet, such as Succeed! S Caps. S Caps are taken at a rate dependent on water loss and need to be taken with water. As with any supplement, it is very important to follow the label instructions and listen to your body.
Fueling. Don’t forget your meal, and if you do, no worries. When running 10+ hours it was very difficult for me to fuel with solid foods. I became very good at setting my watch and keeping track of when it was time to take an S Cap and when it was time to have an energy shot.
Energy shots are compact products that provide a burst of easily digestible calories. Perfect when crunched for time or feeling a sudden lull in stamina. My favorite energy shots are GU Energy, which provide 100 calories per packet. Another option is GU Sport Beans, jellybeans infused with quick energy and electrolytes!
Nuun tabs, Succeed. S Caps, GU shots, and GU jellybeans are a few of many energy items on the market.
As ultrarunners tell each other, You are an experiment of one. You need to figure out what works for your digestive system and how much to fuel depending on your activity, sweat rate, and body size.
American College of Sports Medicine (2011). Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Retrieved from https://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/delayed-onset-muscle-soreness-%28doms%29.pdf.
Health Status (2015). About the calorie burn calculator. Retrieved from http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc.
Mayo Clinic Staff (2015). Diseases and conditions hyponatremia. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyponatremia/basics/definition/con-20031445.