Tips For Equestrians On Enjoying Easter Weekend Without Riding
Following the recent lockdown due to COVID-19, the world as we know it has hit a standstill. For those of us who are still able to visit our horses and care for them out of necessity, the BHA has urged horse-riders across the country to put a stop to non-essential riding, with the aim of relieving the NHS of further potential strain. Many Equestrians have conflicting views; some opting to carry on training, some turning to groundwork and lunging, and some making the decision to cease all exercise with their horses. One thing everyone is agreed on is that as a community we must be cautious and minimise the risk to our vital NHS.
Of course, if you are lucky enough to be able to visit your horse or have your horses at home, you should make the most of the time! Let’s be honest, cleaning out stables has gone from a chore to the highlight of the day – those with one horse only wish they had more to clean! Fortunately, since horses can’t spread COVID-19, you can spend time with your horse whilst adhering to social distancing rules too. To help you out this Easter weekend, we have put together some tips on how to enjoy time with your horse without riding.
Time for a make-over
All posh and nowhere to go, you must be thinking! Well, have you ever felt the satisfaction of a mane pulled to perfection or a freshly bathed gleaming tail? Spring has sprung and now is the perfect time to spend a little time grooming those winter coats away and tidying those manes and tails! You may not have any competitions to go to, but that doesn’t take away the fun of a pamper session with your equine friend!
Focus on groundwork
Now don’t roll your eyes, groundwork doesn’t have to be boring! In fact, groundwork is an essential aspect of a horse’s training and the foundations of proper education. Not only are you minimising the risk of injury by not riding, but you will find that taking time to establish simple groundwork exercises will strengthen the bond between you and your horse more than half an hour of schooling. Going back to basics can be incredibly beneficial and can strengthen the bond between you and your horse. Try focussing on lunging work, groundwork or free schooling this Easter weekend! While free schooling or lunging, introduce some pole work exercises to get your horse’s brain working.
At any given moment spent with your horse on the ground or in the saddle you are either schooling or un-schooling your horse, so don’t underestimate the power of groundwork. If you can’t do it on the ground, then you’re going to have trouble in the saddle! Start with the basics of training your horse to lead properly, stand still, soften and respond to pressure and move on a circle. All you need is a halter and a lunge whip and you’re good to go.
Have you been putting off cleaning your tack for months, with little intention of actually doing it? We’ve all been there. The one positive thing to come out of the current situation is that many of us have time that we didn’t have before, which means no excuses! If cared for properly, your tack will last you for years to come. It’s important to give your tack a deep clean every now and again to make sure that the leather is kept in good condition since riding regularly and even sitting in the tack room can damage leather over time.
The first important thing about tack cleaning is to ensure that you fully take your bridle apart and remove your stirrup leathers before you begin. Next, apply a damp sponge to remove any grease and dirt that has built up. Don’t use too much water, as you don’t want the leather to stretch, and equally, you don’t want any metalwork to rust. Allow your saddle and bridle to dry naturally, before applying the saddle soap. This is also a great opportunity to check the overall health and safety of your tack!
Enter an online showing show
In an increasingly digital world, online shows are on the rise! Now we know that an online show doesn’t present the excitement of taking your horse to a show, but while shows are cancelled they are a great way to have fun and get some all-important feedback. It’s also a great excuse to bath your horse and get them looking all glam! All you need to do is pay for the class and submit a photo or video of your horse – if you are placed your rosette arrives in the post.
Hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas and will help to give you a bit of enjoyment over Easter weekend – make sure you tag us in your posts (@capall_rock) and let us know what you get up to with your equine friend!