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We Ask the Industry: Tips on Staying Healthy at Congress

Say the word “Congress” to any horse person, and several things come to mind – crisp Fall weather, fantastic horses, fierce competition, eating, and shopping. Also, add long hours, physical labor, midnight rides, and no sleep to that list.

With the COVID pandemic in the mix, it’s not surprising that trying to stay healthy is a top priority for everyone at this year’s Congress, more-so than ever before. So, we asked some veteran competitors some simple tips on staying healthy at the show.

Vanessa Froman – I’m huge on daily vitamins and supplements already to support my immune system and have been for years. However, Congress crud is real and something I prep to avoid each year now. In addition to my many vitamins, with D, C, and zinc being my focus, I always do a couple of extra things starting the week before we arrive in Columbus and through our time there. Here’s my list of extras I take/do: Silvercillin Spray, Elderberry, Xlear nasal spray or a Neti pot, Ener-C, Thieves essential oil. My favorite thing, though, is making my own or going to Starbucks and getting a Venti “medicine ball” with two shots of peppermint. If I make it myself, I will add a drop of each young living essential oil; thieves, lemon, and peppermint. It is my favorite and so good. I drink them every time I travel.

Christa Baldwin – I used to get sick every Congress…the Congress crud, and it was terrible. My doctor told me a few years ago to start taking Vitamin D3, so I did, along with C, and the past two years, I have added zinc and a multivitamin. I have always washed my hands a lot, so I don’t think that hurts either, but I swear by the Vitamin D3 and the other two. I have never gotten sick at the Congress since I started taking Vitamin D. We had COVID after the Gold Coast, but it was not much more than a cold for us and didn’t last long either. I believe the vitamins had a lot to do with us not having a bad reaction to them.

Emma Garcia – I’ve thankfully never gotten sick at the Congress, but I think this year it’s even more important to focus on staying healthy now that COVID has been thrown into the mix of potential illnesses to get at the Congress. My #1 tip is to always, always, always wash your hands. I also make sure to pack cold and flu medicine, just in case. It helps too that my parents are doctors and can set me up with everything I’ll need, and I’m conscious of what I should be doing not to get sick. While I know the Congress makes this next tip hard, try to nap whenever you find the time. That always helps.

Juliana Arora – To attempt to stay healthy at the Congress, I drink lots of water and eat properly to fuel my body. I also pack as much variety of clothing as possible because we never know what weather we will get. It will be 70 and sunny the first week and snowing by the last, so I try to come prepared.


Anna Katherine Stone
– This will be my first year back since 1994 to watch my horse go in the three-year-old trail with my trainer. Nonetheless, I will get an IV infusion before I leave that includes Vitamin C, B’s, and other nutrients to make sure we are super pumped with all the good stuff.



Travis Born – I’d have to say I try and stick to the basics and don’t start behind. I try and make sure I’m well-rested before I get to the Congress. Plan accordingly for travel and set up days, so I don’t start exhausted. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The more healthy I am when I show up, hopefully, the fitter I can stay. So, while I’m at the Congress, I try and get as much rest as possible and eat as well as I can. If I can maintain some normalcy to my diet, then that’s one less thing my body needs to be worried about.

Adrienne Dickerson – The Vitamin C and Zinc Airborne gummies are the best. Taft and I both take them two weeks before Congress.




Katie Grossnickle
– Well, for starters, get as much sleep as possible. I know it’s so hard there, but even a 30-minute nap when you can, will help. Take vitamins before, during, and even after. Also, eating healthy can play a significant role in staying healthy as well.




Alyse Roberts
– I’m probably the worst one to ask because I get sick almost every year from lack of sleep, living in the barns when they are all closed up, and sometimes experiencing all seasons. I’m hoping this year, with it running a bit earlier, maybe we’ll have better weather.


Margaux Tucker
– Take your Emergen-C and all the vitamin C you can get. Making your food, meal prepping, or whatever works for you. Even though it is hard, get as much sleep as possible. Sneak in a nap during the day when possible.




Brister Shum
– I dose up on Emergen-C two weeks before Congress to prevent the Crud. It’s worked for me for 27 Congresses. Also, take naps whenever you can…3 A.M. practice is grueling.




Scott Reinartz
– Tips to stay healthy during the Congress – pack for all four seasons,  wear layers, take Vitamin D and C, eat healthily, get your sleep, and use a nasal flush.




What do you do to stay healthy at the Congress? Let us know in the comments.