During the summer, there seems to be lots of different things we can do with our horses. But when the days get short, and the weather turns colder, it may seem like you have nothing you can do. It doesn’t have to be that way! There are a lot of things you can do when you can’t ride. Some are with your horse, and some may be for your horse. But here are 10 different horse related things you can do when you can’t ride.
Clean Your Tack
When was the last time you really cleaned your tack? I mean REALLY cleaned it? If you can’t ride, why not take care of that really expensive investment you have made within your tack? Deep clean everything, your saddle, bridles, halters, everything. And once everything is all nice and clean, be sure to apply an oil to help keep your leather in good condition.
Groom Your Horse
Your horse could always use a deep grooming, at least once a week. Really pamper him. (or her) Give him a deep massage, or really work through that thick winter coat. This gives you a great opportunity to really look your horse over good. Run your hands all over his body and feel for any lumps or bumps. Work on getting him to pick up his feet easily. Maybe spend some time learning how to braid his mane or tail.
By taking the time to do some deep-down grooming with your horse, not only will you be spending quality time with him, but you will be training him. He will get used to your pampering, and in my opinion, I think they like it. Think about it, if every time you are with your horse, you are riding, wouldn’t it be a nice change if pace for him to not be ridden? You will give him something to look forward too and also you will keep it fresh for him.
Desensitize Your Horse
If your horse tends to be spooky, or flighty. Working with him on the ground is the best way to be safer in the saddle. If your horse is head shy, work on this. If he dances around you while you are grooming him, spend extra time with him tied. Get him used to everything from the ground and you will have a better horse. This is great if you have a new horse, or just a high-strung horse. I have found that by working with my horses on the ground, a lot, helps to make them even better when I ride them. It takes time and repetition, but it is so worth it.
Teach Your Horse Some Tricks
This kind of builds upon what I just talked about, desensitizing your horse. And this is taking the desensitization one step further, teach him to do tricks. You can do all of this from the ground. You can teach him to smile, or to lower his head.
You could teach him how to bow, or do a Spanish walk. You are only limited by your imagination really. But spend a little bit of time working with your horse every day from the ground.
Photograph Your Horse
If you have visited my personal blog, Budget Equestrian, you have probably seen a lot of photos of my horses. You might have even come across some of my blog posts about online horse shows. These are photo shows mainly, but they do have video classes as well.
But I like to take pictures of my horses. Ok, I take a LOT of pictures of my horses. I love my horses, and I love photography. So I practice, a lot. And then when I’m not riding, I play with photo editing software and come up with some photos I am proud of. Once I have some pictures I like, I enter them into online horse show photo classes. For me, this is a lot of fun. I can enter a “horse show” without leaving home. And if the judges like my pictures, I might even get a ribbon, or rosette, depending on where you live in the world.
I have even found a few online horse shows that accumulate your points over the course of 6 months. This means you can get larger ribbons (rosettes) if you continue to enter the shows.
For me, I love this. This gives everyone with a camera, and a horse, an opportunity to participate in a horse show and take home a ribbon or two. And over time, you get better and better with your photography. And your horse also is benefited, because you are spending more and more time with him grooming him, and just being with him to capture that special photo.
If you have never heard of online horse shows, but have wanted to show and couldn’t, this is a fantastic opportunity for you!
Bake Some Horse Treats
This is so easy, and fun. Just go to Saddle Box’s recipe page and bake up a batch of homemade horse treats. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and you probably already have all the ingredients. Your horse will be happy, and you will too, because you know what is in the treats you are feeding your horse.
Not only will you know what is in the treats you are feeding your horse, you can do something for your horse when you can’t ride, and they cost a lot less than it costs to buy fancy pre-made horse treats. So you can make a treat for your horse, and save money doing it. I call that a win-win-win!
Watch A Training Video
If the weather is holding you hostage from going to the barn, why not watch a horse training video? If you are lucky enough to have a DVR and cable, you can prerecord your favorite horse trainer television shows. Or, if you have the internet, watch some videos on YouTube. Or my favorite thing, subscribe to Giddy Up Flix. It’s like Netflix for horse owners. I have a subscription that allows me to have 2 videos at one time, so I always have a video to watch. I really like this for the wintertime.
When I can’t ride, I like to spend my time learning. With Giddy Up Flix, I can do this. Right now I am working my way through Clinton Anderson’s Fundamentals series. If I were to buy this set of videos, it would cost me about $500 because I am not a member of his club. But thanks to Giddy Up Flix, I will be able to watch the entire series of videos for about $60.00. I think that is a great deal!
I am always building something. And the wintertime gives me the opportunity to spend more time in my workshop (aka garage) without feeling guilty. I am currently working on building a massive set of horse jumps to sell so I can buy my dream horse trailer. By working on this now, when I can’t ride, I won’t have to juggle this project with my regular work schedule, and risk having it cut into my riding time.
But you don’t have to build horse jumps. You could make a nice saddle stand, or bridle rack. Or how about having your own wooden grooming tote? You could do these things and still have extra time over the winter. And when spring finally comes, you will have some great new items that you made!
Set Some Goals
This will hit me really hard in the next several weeks. I love planning, and setting goals. I will do this on an annual basis, as well as revisiting it monthly. I love to have a plan. And with the new year right around the corner, I am already focusing on my goals for the new year. Some are related to my job, some to my finances, and a lot of them are related to what I want to do with my horses in the next year.
Start small and build upon your goals. Think of one thing you would like to be able to do in the next month with your horse, and write it down. Once you achieve that goal, you will feel empowered, trust me, you will. And then when you have a little success, push yourself a little further.
Take Your Horse For A Walk
Even if it is snowing, you can take your horse for a walk. This has so many benefits. It gets your horse used to being led, and you can work with your horse without riding him. Even if it’s cold outside, you can take your horse for a walk with his rug on. It gets your horse used to things on your property, and off.
I really like to walk my horses through anything I plan on riding them through. But I always walk them through it first. For example, I have a trail system throughout the subdivision I live in. And the trail is right at the back of my property. I will often take my horses for walks down the trail, and even on the road in front of my house. I get them used to new things by walking them by hand first. Like many people take their dogs for walks, I do the same with my horses.
Using Your Time Wisely
Using your time to the best of your ability. Work smarter, not harder and make the most of the time that you do have. We all have the same amount of time available to us throughout the day. How we choose to use it is up to us. So put your intention into using the time you have wisely. Don’t squander your time, make the most of it. If you want to be successful with your horse, determine what success looks like for you. Then make a plan, and stick to it. I promise that if you have a plan, you will never be short of things to do with your time, and you will be more successful, no matter what success looks like to you.
About Lisa Goodwin
I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you.
You can find me over on my website, Budget Equestrian or catch up with me on my YouTube channel, The Budget Equestrian