Well, the world today is a much different place than earlier this year and the time that the pictures where taken in this post. The Government has asked us the general public to not go out unless it’s for medical reasons, food, exercise once a day or essential work. This has left the equestrian world in many different scenarios. Due to the virus Covid-19 you could be on isolation, either unable to see your horse as your livery yard has shut it’s gates to outside visits, able to see your horse once a day, or if on private land the only person able to see and look after the horse/horses.
There is also the question of whether to ride or not. We do not want to put burden on the NHS (National Health Service) and this gives you the added welfare issue. Both my horses are older and need the exercise to keep them moving. So, I have been riding on the flat, in an area they know and also working from the ground. Using lots of different exercises to allow them to stay supple and keep their body moving.
Everyone will be in a different scenario, what is safe for one rider, might not be for another. Each rider and horse is different and you need to work out what works better for you and your horse in this time. What we need to do is look for the future and keep a plan in mind of what you would like to do when this is all over. So, if you are unable to ride, you might be able to do different exercises at home and keep your body fit, so when you return to riding it is not such a change. There are a lot of different exercises and fitness classes on line now and everything from Joe Wicks to a Pilates class to keep you supple and ready to get back in the saddle.
So, where are we 4 weeks in? You have properly been through a roller coaster of emotions, not knowing when to go out, what to do and where you are allowed to go. 4 weeks in I am now in a routine, self-isolating whilst looking after the horses. I know that I only go to private land where only one other person is and we wash hands a lot, have all areas washed down, in fact the same procedures as if you have ringworm, strangles or any other contagious disease on your yard.
If you are able to look after your horse or pony and you can still safely ride, it is a good idea to get into a routine and have different days for different exercises. If possible ride on the flat, have a day you can use poles on the ground, do some ground work and lunging. This is also a great time to go through all your tack and different items to see what you really need and wash and get around to all those jobs you haven’t done i.c. cleaning out your tack room and going through all your rugs, ready to take to the cleaners.
It is also a good time to give your tack a deep clean and double check all those keepers and buckles. What was also great to hear last week was that vets are not able to come out to sort out your horse’s annual vaccinations, so they can keep up to date. All welfare issues can be kept up so horses that need shoes can still have their shoes done and also any trims on bare foot horses.
Tips for getting though lock-down.
- Keep a routine, make sure you have different things to do at different points in the day.
- Exercise, allow yourself time to do something that you enjoy and/or find something different to do. Make sure you start a new type of exercise genitally and allow your body to get used to it.
- Keep your time for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then you will not feel the need to keep going to the fridge. I hear a great idea the other day, Paul McKenna said his wife has put a large question mark on the fridge door! Something visual to help you to stop going to the fridge.
- Slowly allow yourself to go through all those jobs you never get the time to do. Also, if possible allow yourself to do some of the ones you don’t want to and give yourself a treat after for doing them.
- Allow yourself to do something that is fun, and make sure you allow yourself time to do things.
- Look into the different courses that are on-line, find a new challenge and get stuck in.
- Where possible use some of the local services to help deliver food to you and support local businesses.
Everyone, lets keep to the lock-down and help all the essential workers keep us safe. We will get though this and there will be life at the end of the lock-down.
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