Seven Exercises To Develop Your Equitation Skills This Finals Season

Seven Exercises To Develop Your Equitation Skills This Finals Season

We have all seen the pictures of the technical and impressive courses that the top equitation trainers set up to prepare for equitation finals, but what are some of the simpler ways you can do this yourself? Here are some tips to get you and your horse at the top of your game even if you are staying home this fall.

1. Cavaletti Work

Setting up a line of cavaletti is a great way to practice collecting and lengthening your horse’s stride. Cavaletti poles are easy to set up in a gymnastics pattern, which can help the rider’s balance and position.

You can set up a variety of exercises, like trot rails, bounces, one-strides, or a combination of these.

2. Bending Lines

Almost every equitation final course has at least one bending line. Setting up a bending line and learning to ride both the inside and outside track by adding or taking out strides is a great way to practice for future, more technical, courses. Riders can also practice holding the lead their horse lands on through the bending line. If you are unsure of what types of lines to set up, check out some past equitation finals courses for reference here: https://www.medalmaclay.com/equitation-courses

3. Practice Your Leads

Riders are often asked to canter fences on specific leads or show a change of lead while in an equitation test. This is a skill that is perfect to learn and practice at home. Making sure that your horse is in tune with your cues is essential. Horses can sometimes get a little anxious about picking up the counter canter, so executing a calm and smooth transition is key. All horses have a stronger direction, but working your horse equally so that they are as comfortable and strong as possible on both leads is helpful.

Additionally, it is important to be able to ask your horse to land on specific leads after a fence. Having the ability to land on different leads may help you in a test where the judge has asked riders to counter canter the next fence. Knowing how to land on the correct lead in a bending line can reduce the chance of your horse doing a lead change in the middle of the line or swapping before the next jump.

4. Transitions

Another skill equitation riders are often asked to demonstrate in a test is a transition. This can include transitions between gaits and transitions within a gait. Riders may be asked to return to a walk in a test or show a change of lead through a downward transition. Practicing these types of transitions to make them as seamless as possible will definitely benefit you in the equitation ring as well as improve your riding in general.

5. Adjustability

Equitation riders have to know how to manage their horse’s canter stride while on course. For example, an equitation final course may have a short three-stride line directly to a more open three-stride line. Riders should make sure their horse is adjustable and listening to their aids in order to collect and lengthen strides quickly. Equitation courses often have tight turns where a rider must collect their horse’s stride in order to successfully follow the track. Some tests require hand galloping to a fence, in which case the rider must know how to lengthen and maintain their horse’s larger stride.

6. Fences on the Corner

Equitation courses often include fences placed on the corner or end of the ring, which are designed to come up quickly. These jumps are sometimes skinny fences, which adds an extra level of difficulty. Straightness and communication between you and your mount come into play with skinny jumps. Your horse may not always be expecting these types of fences, so practicing different tricky angles at home can help both you and your horse become used to them. Looking at past equitation final courses to get inspiration for where to place the fence is helpful here as well.

7. No-Stirrup Work

This tip goes without saying. Riding without stirrups can help build strength and improve balance. You never know when the judge will ask riders to drop their stirrups in a flat class or test! Although you may see the top equitation riders jumping without stirrups around a 3’6” course with ease, remember it takes time and practice to get there. Start by dropping your stirrups for part of your daily flatwork and then slowly increase the time. Similarly, begin by doing no-stirrup work over poles and then gradually start to add in small fences.

Even if you are not attending indoor finals this fall, these exercises are helpful in improving your equitation and getting you ready for the show ring!

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Time Management: How To Make the Most of Your Time

Written by Sisters Horsing Around

Time.

There are so many expressions and sayings about time, but most boil down to the fact that time is a precious part of life. Life is measured in the passage of time. But how do you “race against time” and “beat the clock” to get everything done, when there is so much to do, and so little time? Well, we wanted to share with you something that our Mom has talked to us about all of our lives and that is time management.

Our mom taught us a practice that she called “POD.” POD, in her mother wit, was a little acronym which stands for Prioritize, Organize, and Discipline. We call it a “practice” because it is something that we are always having to practice doing. She broke down time management like this:

P: Prioritize.

Prioritize the things you need to do in order of importance. Mama would always get on us for what she calls “doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.” The basic concept is to learn to take care of the most important things first. Prioritization can keep you on the right track if you maintain the mindfulness of what needs to be done in order of importance.

Evaluate your life, identify your responsibilities and the things that you need to do, and write these things down, listing them in the order that they need to be done. Making to-do lists is a simple and helpful way to gather your thoughts and focus your attention on the tasks at hand.  This is where you start with knowing how to manage your time. Prioritize first. That’s the P.

O: Organize.

After you have identified your priorities and listed them in order of importance, then organize everything needed for each priority. For instance, say you need to pack for a horse show that you know is tomorrow, but when you go to pack, you have everything everywhere. You are having a devil of a time finding what you need because everything is disorganized.

Being disorganized slows progress because you have to spend extra time trying to find things. Often this can result in getting stuck and not being able to move on to your next priority. Organizing can help you streamline and get right to what you need when you need it.

Additionally, organizing can also mean realizing when you need to get rid of clutter. Organize your life to transition smoothly between your priorities and help you get things done in the smallest amount of time.

D: Discipline.

Discipline simply means training. Just like in our horse world, where we have equestrian disciplines and train our horses for a specific activity, we must discipline, or train ourselves, to prioritize our lives and get organized. Do this until it becomes habit.

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. The best-trained horses can do their jobs without allowing themselves to be distracted. Be like that and stay focused. Then periodically reassess your life and decide the adjustments that need to be made. Perhaps something that was high on your priority list before needs to readjust to allow for something else to take its place because something else needs more attention at that time. Once your priorities change, repeat the process of prioritizing, organizing, and disciplining yourself to stay on target and make the most of your time.

There are 24 hours in a day, which equates to 1,440 minutes and 86,400 seconds to accomplish everything you need to get done. That time can disappear in what seems like an instant, so we have to make the most of the time we are given. We hope these basic tips will help you get everything done in no time!

If you are in charge of managing horses and seeking ways to better manage your time, BarnManager is a great time management and organization resource to help you keep your sanity and save your precious time. For those seeking organization in other aspects of life, there are tons of apps and online resources to help simplify your hectic life and organize things all in one platform, such as Trello, Todoist, and even the Reminders app on iPhones.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips for Keeping Calm Under Pressure

As we near the end of the year, although 2020 looks different than previous years, equestrian sports are in the midst of “finals” season. If you are participating in any of the finals this year, whether it be your first time or you’re a seasoned finals veteran, you probably know firsthand how easy it is to succumb to the high pressure the environment fosters. These only come once a year, they’re expensive to participate in, and most finals only give you one shot, which means if you make a mistake you’re toast. Here are some tips to help deal with the pressure that comes along with competing, no matter how high the stakes are.

1. Breathe deeply.

Have you ever heard about the breathing trick that helps you fall asleep faster? The science behind it is that it helps slow your heart rate so you can fully relax and fall asleep. Though you don’t want to fall asleep at the in-gate, breathing can still come into play with slowing your heart rate and thus calming nerves. Try taking a deep breath in for about four seconds, then exhale for eight seconds, then repeat a few times.

2. Imagine it going well.

Often our nerves are heightened by thoughts of everything that could go wrong. While it can be hard to push these things out of your mind, it’s much more beneficial to picture the experience being a success and to think through what is needed on your part in order to achieve that. Visualize yourself on the other side having succeeded. If you dwell on what could go poorly, you’re allowing space in your mind for failure. If you only allow positive thoughts and sentiments in moments like these, your stress will ease and there will be a higher likelihood for the event to go well.

3. Make a plan and focus on it.

If your plan is detailed and thorough, you won’t have time or space in your mind to let negative thoughts creep in. Talk with your trainer, walk your course, and make the most comprehensive plan for you and your horse, with appropriate back-up plans where needed. A strong plan of action is the best preparation for a big class or final, and if you place it top of mind, the stress will seem to fade.

4. Think of everything you’re grateful for.

In the moment, this class causing stress can seem huge. But in the grand scheme of life, it’s just one day and there is so much more to being a horseman than competing. Think of the horse beneath you and how grateful you are for what your horse does for you. Think of your trainer, who has put in countless hours to help you prepare for moments like these. Remember your loved ones who support this crazy dream we all share. When you think about things in life for which you’re grateful, you minimize the pressure from the situation and fill your mind with happy thoughts. Know that you will still have all of these things, regardless of the outcome of any given final.

5. Use positive affirmations.

You’ve put in the hours and hours of hard work to arrive at this moment, so you know, deep down, you are ready and capable. Echo that to yourself until you fully embody it. Know that you are strong and that you can rise to this challenge. Trust that your horse will be there for you and you will give it the best ride you can. Above all, go in determined to enjoy the experience, no matter the outcome.

 

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

6 Little Ways to Save Money Around the Barn

Anyone who’s ever owned a horse knows the last word to associate with them is cheap. But the pure joy we get from having these animals in our lives is worth the financial burden they put on many of us. Though there’s no magic recipe to make horse care suddenly budget-friendly, there are certainly small ways you can cut costs that will start to add up over time.

1. Homemade remedies for common issues.

Equine companies earn their profits from the convenience you find in buying bottled fly spray, thrush buster, and other wellness remedies. Save yourself the extra money and use basic household items to make these yourself. A simple Google search will tell you how, and you can find storage containers at a discount store or by recycling empty spray bottles from your home.

2. Go the generic route.

Many products made specifically for horses feature a steep price tag, but generic products can often serve the same purposes. For example, instead of paying a premium for equine anti-fungal shampoo, Dawn dish soap can often do the trick to eliminate fungus on your horse’s skin. Don’t overpay for conditioner for your horse’s coat either; instead, buy inexpensive human conditioner, or even coconut oil, during your next trip to the store and it’ll perform equally as well, if not better. Similarly, instead of buying the fanciest tack cleaner, use baby wipes to keep your tack clean.

3. Buy items in bulk.

Do you use supplements that you swear by? If you know you’ll continue to use them for a while, stock up in bulk. Many equestrian products are cheaper when you buy in large quantities, so do some research to find products that provide a discount when bought in bulk. Also, be sure to pay attention to when your commodities go on sale, because there is no better time to stock up. The best way to monitor discounts like these are to sign up to receive emails  from your favorite brands.

4. Buy used goods.

Obviously, some items for equestrians must be purchased new. You don’t want to purchase a used helmet, but you should consider buying some clothing items second-hand. It may save you big bucks down the road. There are plenty of Facebook groups that offer consigned riding clothes. There are also consignment shops if you want to try on the items or see them in person before purchasing. It may require some digging around, but you’re bound to find some gems that make your time worthwhile and save you from paying full retail price.

5. Recycle household items to use at the barn.

If you look around any given barn, it’s probably full of items that were recycled from a prior use. How about all those towels that live in the tack room? They were definitely someone’s personal bath towels at one point. All the old scissors used to cut baling twine and horses’ manes were once household scissors that became too dull. Before purchasing something you need at the barn, try to think about whether you already own it at home and then repurpose it.

6. DIY!

There are tons of things you can make yourself to help save money around the barn. If you are good with woodworking, make jumps for your arena or a sign for out front. If you know how to crochet, make yourself a fly bonnet. Do you or someone you know sew? Then you never have to worry about paying for repairs, since seams suffer from wear and tear more than anything around the barn. If your farm could use some landscaping, go to a nursery and plant everything yourself, rather than hiring someone to do it. Though there may be some YouTube tutorials involved, there are so many things you can do yourself to save yourself money in the long haul.

 

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

The Best Horse Treats You Haven’t Thought Of

There’s something so rewarding about the way a horse looks at us post-ride, eagerly awaiting their treats after putting forth their best efforts. We hate to disappoint them, so here is a list of ideas to give your horse as a treat if you’re looking to mix things up from the standard mints, carrots, and store-bought horse treats.

 1. Granola Bars

Granola bars are full of ideal ingredients for horse treats, and you don’t have to spend any time baking. Specifically, Nature Valley granola bars, which we all love to hate because of their crumbly consistency, are an ideal post-show or post-ride snack for your horse. An added bonus is, if you like them too, there is one bar for each of you to enjoy inside each packet. Horses don’t care if they leave crumbs in their stalls, and you can always let them lick the crumbs off your hand as an extra reward. If your horse really takes a liking to these granola bars, stock up on them in bulk at Costco!

2. Fruit

 

Everyone knows horses love apples, but have you tried offering your horse other fruit varieties? Many hors

es love bananas, and some will even eat the banana peel! Others

like oranges and some will even eat watermelon (including the rind on occasion). Be sure to check whether it’s safe before feeding your horse an unusual fruit, but in limited quantities most fruit makes for a great equine treat.

3. Pop-Tarts

Another snack you can occasionally share with your horse, Pop-Tarts are the perfect amount of sweetness without being overwhelming for your horse. They’ll provide a boost of sugar and the contrasting textures will give your horse something to think about, too. An interesting trick would be to determine if your horse has a favorite flavor of Pop-Tart. Try a few flavors and see how your horse responds to each one.

4. Potato Chips

Potato chips aren’t something commonly thought of as a delicacy for horses, but they pack in all the elements horses are looking for. They’re salty, flavorful, and have that nice crunch horses seem to love. Just beware if you give your horse one potato chip out of your bag, they may expect many more as you finish your snack. You may want to bring two bags of chips to the barn.

5. Popsicles

Save these for those hot summer days to cool your horse down with an extra pop of flavor. You can buy popsicles in any flavor or even make frozen fruit bars at home for an extra serving of fruit for your horse. Just be careful they don’t also take the popsicle stick if they try to eat it in one bite!

6. Doughnuts

Not every horse will go for a doughnut, but some can down a whole doughnut in one bite. Maybe start small by purchasing a bag of doughnut holes to see if your horse likes them and to avoid too much sugar at once. Doughnuts can be a fabulous end-of-show dessert to thank your horse for a job well done.

Of course, not all horses are going to like every treat you offer them. Remember to always keep your horse’s health as the top priority by staying on top of ingredient lists and monitoring for anything that may be harmful or that may upset your horse’s stomach.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Five Tips to Prepare Your Barn for Fall

1. Organize your blankets

Cold nights will start creeping in before you know it, so make sure each horse’s lightweight sheet is identified and cleaned, especially those who may be clipped. Keep tabs on the temperature lows each night as summer begins to turn into fall so you don’t lose sight of the nights when your horses may need light blanketing. Also have the heavier blankets ready to go so winter doesn’t sneak up on you and leave you unprepared.

2. Make a plan with all the students (and parents) at your barn

It’s back-to-school time, which means busier schedules for most families that may board or train at your farm. Make sure you keep in touch with those who may be heading back to school so you can help manage their horses and their riding goals despite their busier schedules. This communication will lead to more successful outcomes for everyone as many commitments are being juggled by all parties.

3. Inspect your farm for damage or deterioration

Winter is prime time for problems such as leaky roofing, broken fences, loose hinges, insulation problems, footing issues, and more. You don’t want to save these fixes for the middle of winter, when they’re hardest to repair. Survey your property for signs that things may need attention. Be sure your windows and doors are functioning properly to seal in the heat during the cold nights to come. Check on your water tanks and insulated pipes to be sure you won’t face any issues when freezing temperatures hit. If anything needs adjusting, the fall is the perfect time to make those repairs.

4. Have a severe weather plan in place

The fall can also bring with it the chance of severe weather in many parts of the country. The east coast may face hurricanes, so be sure to identify an inland location in case you need to evacuate yourself and your horses. Research how to prepare a farm structure for high winds and heavy rain ahead of time. Other parts of the country may see other severe weather risks, such as wildfires. If you find yourself facing evacuation, many horse show grounds and larger facilities will accept evacuees and offer horses a place to stay out of harm’s way.

As fall turns into winter, heavy snowstorms can put those up north at risk, limiting access to necessities for the horses. It helps in this scenario to have 10% more supplies on hand than you normally need to keep your stable safe and healthy in case of a weather shutdown. Above all else, stay tuned in to the news this fall so you won’t be caught off-guard if the weather starts to get dangerous in your area.

5. Decorate!

There’s nothing more fun than breaking out the fall décor as the leaves begin to change. The best part of decorating for fall is that decorations can stay up through November, so you can enjoy your efforts for a long time. Use horse-safe decorations to add some fall vibes to your barn, including pumpkins, string lights (out of reach of horses), scarecrows, and more. If you have jumps in your arena, add some hay bales, pumpkins, and colorful gourds to make them festive. You can even plan a socially distant Halloween party to get the whole barn involved in a fun activity.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Organizing and Spring Cleaning Your Barn During COVID-19

Each year about this time, we like to share a new barn spring cleaning blog post. This year though, things are a bit different, and the checklist of tasks that we typically recommend may not be entirely advisable.

Cleaning out your old riding clothes and taking them to your local tack shop to consign? Not an option during stay at home orders surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting your horses’ annual Coggins test or having their teeth checked? If it’s not an emergency, it may be best to wait another month or two.

However, with many of us finding ourselves with a bit more time on our hands as we stay safe at home and at our barns, there’s perhaps no better time for getting organized and doing some deep cleaning.

Here are our suggestions and ideas for maximizing this time and handling this year’s barn spring cleaning!

In the Barn  

If you own or manage your farm, live onsite, or are still able to safely visit while practicing social distancing, here are a few tasks to tackle.

– Scrub and disinfect all surfaces, particularly those that are frequently touched. – Now is the time to continually sanitize and clean common surfaces such as stall doors, doorknobs, light switches, sink faucets, gates, and crossties.

– Clean out gutters and downspouts. – Clear out any leaves or build-up that may have accumulated over the fall and winter months.

– Clean your fans and check the wiring. – If you live in a cooler climate, your fans have likely been packed away for the winter. Now is a good time to get them out of storage, clean them, and ensure that all is in working order. ProEquineGrooms suggests using a leave blower to blow any dust and debris out of the fan.

– Inspect your pastures. – Walk the perimeter of all pastures to check the fencing and locate any weak or broken spots. Thoroughly clean any run-in sheds, and walk your fields and fill in any holes.

– Send blankets out for cleaning and repair.By the end of the winter, it’s likely that your horse’s sheets and blankets are in need of a deep cleaning! There are many services available that allow you to ship your blankets to them for repair, and some local services, like Horse Duds & Suds in New Jersey, offer free pickup and delivery from your farm (while maintaining safe distancing!). If you’d rather clean or fix minor repairs yourself, check out this blanket care kit from Schneiders.

– Thoroughly clean your tack. – When was the last time you took your bridle completely apart? Or scrubbed your stirrup irons with a toothbrush? Now is the time to give everything a really thorough cleaning and conditioning.

– Scrub your brushes. – As with your tack, now is the time to really scrub your brushes, and, if you haven’t already, to make it a habit of cleaning them routinely. We shared steps and tips for cleaning brushes here.

– Check your horses’ medicine cabinets and restock your vet kits. – Go through any medicines and ensure that none of them are expired, and, if they are looking into getting them replaced or refilled if needed. Review your horses’ first aid kit (that you hopefully have on hand!) and make sure it’s well-stocked and any previously used items have been replenished. Not sure what should be included in your first aid kit? Here are a few of our suggestions.

While You’re at Home

– Go through your closet. – By cleaning out and organizing your riding clothes, you could turn your breeches that no longer fit (because they’re too big, and you lost weight, obviously! ?), into cash toward a new pair. While supporting your local consignment tack shop isn’t presently an option, there are lots of ways to sell your used riding apparel online, like the Grazers app.

– Eliminate paper clutter and organize your horses’ records. – If you currently store your horses’ medical records, farrier invoices, and barn paperwork in binders, folders, or in a giant stack on your desk, now is a great time to consider consolidating them and going digital! With BarnManager, you can snap photos of your records to easily add them to each horse’s profile, and you can sync each profile to the horse’s US Equestrian records to easily pull in other data. Setup a live demo meeting to see how it works, here.

– Order those horse show photos you’ve been meaning to hang in your house. This is also a great way to support equine photographers during this time. Check out a few other suggested ways to support fellow equestrians throughout COVID-19 here.

– Make your own horse treats. – This may not help with cleaning or organizing, but it will win you brownie points with your horse and provide you with a fun activity for the time at home! Check out a few of our treat recipe ideas here. 

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Five Ways to Support Your Fellow Equestrians During COVID-19

From competitions being canceled further into the spring to many boarding barns now closing their doors to customers, the non-health-related effects of the global coronavirus pandemic continue to increase.

For many within our equestrian industry, that means the loss of their livelihood, and for almost all of us, it means significant changes to our daily lives and less time spent in the saddle or enjoying our horses. While it’s important to remain physically distant from one another, now is a time to figuratively come together as a community.

Here are just five ways that you can support your fellow equestrians during this time.

1. Make purchases from equestrian professionals. – Your trainer has likely had to limit or entirely cancel teaching lessons or clinics; your favorite horse show photographer no longer has spring events to shoot, and your braider is temporarily out of a job (and that’s to name just three of the many types of equestrian professionals directly impacted by COVID-19). 

If you are financially able, now is a great time to pre-purchase training or lesson packages or gift certificates to gift a friend or family member with riding lessons. If your trainer or other professionals offer digital seminars, take advantage of them as you’re able. This not only supports their businesses, but it allows you to continue to learn and grow during this down time.

Have you been considering ordering prints or a large canvas of your favorite show photos? Now is the perfect time to place that order and support horse show photographers!

2. Give what you can to help those in need. – The cancellation of horse shows means a lack of work for the support staff that make them possible: the ring crew, grooms, ingate guys, stewards, judges, security, office staff, and more. We know many reading this likely have been financially affected by COVID-19 as well, but for those who are able, giving what you can to those out of work can go a long way. Check out the Show Jumping Relief Fund for one way to give.

3. Be understanding that many may struggle to afford their horses during this time – and don’t be afraid to seek help if you are among them. – Many people are struggling to figure out how to cover their own living expenses, let alone those of their horses.

4. Check in on each other and encourage group “hang outs.”   – The current circumstances can be stressful, and the reduced social interaction can be tough for anyone’s mental health. Check in on your friends and barn mates and come up with new ways to “get together.” Try group FaceTime calls or perhaps pick a horse book (fiction or non-fiction) and start your own virtual book club. Need some motivation and encouragement to workout? Why not do video workouts together virtually with your barn mates?

5. Stay home.  – One of the most important things that you can do for the benefit of not only the equestrian community, but the country as a whole, is to adhere to the advised social distancing guidelines. The sooner we can stop the spread of COVID-19, the sooner we can return to the horses that we love!

Wishing everyone health and safety during this time!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Handling Social Distancing and Horses: How Equestrians Can Safely Make the Most of It

This time of social distancing and quarantine can feel scary, confusing, and strange – but it’s also important to adhere to these measures in order to keep yourself and those that you love and care about safe and healthy.

By self-quarantining, we are able to help protect ourselves and others from the coronavirus, and it allows us to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases. However, self-quarantining can also lead to a far lesser problem: boredom. And a serious one for many equestrians facing cancelled shows, events, and lessons: financial loss.

In order to help combat both of these, we’ve compiled a list of five ways to help you safely make the most of this time.

1. Spend quality time with your horse(s). – If you keep your horse at home or if your boarding facility is still allowing visitors, take advantage of the extra time to ride, get outside in the sunshine, love on, groom, and care for your horse.

There is currently no evidence that horses can spread or contract CO-VID19, which Palm Beach Equine Clinic explains further in this blog post.

2. Implement new cleaning and social distancing protocols at the barn in order to allow operations to safely continue. – While we do advise spending as much time with your horse as possible during this time, we also recommend only doing it safely. Now isn’t the time to organize a trail ride with 10 of your barn friends or to plan a clinic since your spring horse show was cancelled. Instead, whether you’re a barn owner, boarder, or lesson student, it’s important to implement or follow some important new protocols.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Adhere to the CDC’s recommended six to nine feet of social distancing between you and others. That means limiting riding close together and not stopping to chat closely in the tack room or barn aisle. For barn owners or trainers continuing to provide lessons, Tara Swersie from Event Clinics recommends scheduling 15-minute blocks between lessons to help limit the number of people present at any time.
  • Along the same vein, group lessons should be limited to no more than four people – and possibly fewer depending on the size of the ring.
  • Clean and sanitize! Wherever you can, try to greatly reduce the number of shared items or surfaces such as whiteboard markers, pitchforks, and brooms. For places where it’s more difficult to reduce common contact, such as door knobs, crossties, light switches, or stall doors, incorporate frequent sanitization of these surfaces into your daily routine.

3. Try a new workout. – While going to the public gym isn’t advised (and currently in most areas isn’t allowed), there’s no reason not to work on your fitness during this time. Many fitness trainers and programs are currently offering free or greatly discounted online workouts, and YouTube workouts – like this Yoga For Equestrians routine with Yoga With Adriene – are always a great option.

If yoga is your thing (or if you’d like to try to make it your thing during self-quarantine), Yoga With Adriene has a great, free 30-day program, and CorePower is offering free yoga on demand.

If yoga isn’t your thing, Les Mills is also offering a 30-day free trial of all workouts on demand, like the program’s popular Body Pump class.

Here are a few easy-to-try-at-home CrossFit workout ideas, and the Fit Equestrian has programs specifically tailored to riders available for purchase here. The US Equestrian Learning Center even has a few workout videos!

4. Expand your equestrian knowledge. – While you may not be horse showing or riding with friends for a bit, now is a great time to expand your equestrian knowledge. Check out USEF Network to watch clinics and learn from experts for free, and go to the US Equestrian Learning Center for topics covering everything from horse care and breeding to riding a winning jump-off with Laura Kraut.

Order a new equestrian book to learn more about the sport, like the USET Foundation’s Riding for the Team, or about horsemanship and riding, like Anne Kursinski’s Riding and Jumping Clinic or Helen Crabtree’s Saddle Seat Equitation. Check out this great reading list, compiled by eventer Jim Wofford.

5. Tackle tasks that you’ve been avoiding. – Been putting off cleaning out that storage area or sorting through your old tack? Or maybe you have old show clothes to list for sale online? Now is the time to tackle these projects! For more ideas of these sorts of tasks and things to do during quarantine, check out My Equestrian Style’s list here.

Stay safe!

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