It is difficult to keep motivated at this time of year. The weather is damp and cold and the nights are drawn out. Mud is the horse owners best friend and everything you touch seems to have mud on it. Below we have 5 points to help you get through the darker damp days.
We take comfort in the fact that it is only 17 days to the shortest day and then the evenings will be getting lighter. For some reason, this year horses have grown their coats thicker and clipping has been a lot more necessary. We are thinking about Christmas just around the corner and then the new season will pull us along and allow us to get going.
Quite a few competition horses will be having a rest, the hunters will be out and about and other horses and ponies will be ticking along and keeping their hoof in work. Dressage and jumping horses will still be out and about, with hopefully several qualifying for different regional finals and second rounds. The thoroughbred mares starting to get ready for their foals not long after the beginning of January next year.
Things used to calm down around Christmas time, but now several of the equestrian sports have a small break and keep going. With a wider group of owners and riders, there are longer seasons and not all horses get such a long break. It depends on the sport but some like the event horses manage a break at this time of year.
If all depends on the owners and riders and the different sports they are involved with. So whilst some are having a slower time at the moment, other horses and ponies are getting ready for the Christmas holidays and children home from school.
If you are thinking of getting your event horse fit for the beginning of the event season you might be looking at starting this side of Christmas if your horse needs to be fit for earlier events and the weather could hinder you. If you are just ticking along it is a time of year where you can try and keep your horse or pony going with four or five riding sessions a week.
Some of these could be a lunging session and if possible a ride out at the weekend or a day in the week you are around in the daylight. If you have to stay in the school, working over poles on the ground, flat work, grid work, and jumping can be different ideas through the week
Whichever you decide to do keeping it different allows the horse not to get stale and he or she will be happier. Spending some time working the horse or pony from the ground also helps and allows you to get a better bond with your horse.
Remember to Be seen be safe when you are out and about, it is amazing how the weather can change. Also, do not be hard on yourself. Here are some points to remember:
- Give yourself time to get yourself ready in the damper, wet and muddy weather.
- If possible change around your schooling and riding, so that your horse doesn’t get bored and remains happy and enjoying his or her work.
- If riding out make sure you have some fluorescent and reflective kit on.
- If at all possible give you horse chance to dry out and check legs for lumps and bumps in the daylight.
- Enjoy yourself! we are only 17 days to the nights getting lighter.
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