10 Things to Do When You Can’t Ride


Can’t ride because the footing is too icy? Perhaps it’s too cold to ride but you still want to have fun with your horse? Don’t fret! Here is a list of 10 things to do with your horse if you can’t ride (or just don’t feel like it):

1.Practice showmanship patterns. Perfect your horse’s leading, backup, pivot and more. Patterns are a fun way to do this rather than constant drilling. The American Quarter Horse Association has a number of patterns listed on their website for rookies up to world class competitors. https://aqha.com/journal/blogs/2015/february/02112015-showmanship-patterns-for-practice/

2. Practice braiding your horse’s mane and tail. Not only can this save you money if you show, if you get good enough, you can offer your services to other riders. There are a number of fantastic books and YouTube videos out there to give you some inspiration and tips.

3. Get to know your horse’s vitals. Practice the equine health check. It’s always good to know what is normal for your horse so in the event you think something is wrong, you can perform a quick check before you call the vet. Equine Guelph has a great resource to help out with this: http://www.equineguelph.ca/pdf/facts/Health_Check.pdf 

4. Create costumes for your horse and dress them up. Show off your creative side! Host an in barn show with your friends or save them to enter in costume classes around Halloween. Costumes can be used whether you can or can’t ride.

5. Set up an obstacle course and lead your horse through. You can get many ideas for obstacles online. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, try the obstacle course with your horse at liberty!

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6. Audit a clinic.  Find a clinic in your area on a topic that interests you (tip: you can find a listing of some here: http://tricity.horseontario.com/events/category/all-events/) and go watch! Sometimes you can learn more from auditing than you would from riding in a clinic.

7. Practice wrapping and bandaging. This is a very important horsemanship skill to have as wrapping incorrectly can cause damage to your horse’s legs. There are many tutorials online to get you started but asking an experienced horseperson or coach who can watch you the first few times and offer help is most useful.

8. Trick training is always a fun thing to try when you are unable to ride. You can teach party tricks like bowing, counting, Spanish march or useful ones too! Imagine how much easier it would be if your horse could pick up a crop you accidentally dropped while riding or if he came when called!

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9. If you have access to a trailer, practice trailer loading. This is always a handy skill for your horse to have because you never know when you might need it. Your horse may never go off property for shows or trail rides, but it may need to get to an equine hospital in an emergency. Try and get to the point where a lead rope isn’t needed.

10. Write! If you can’t ride, you may as well write about it! It could be a story or perhaps a review of a clinic or show you attended this year. Send it to us as ashley@horseontario.com and we may publish it!

January 19, 2017 |

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