Happy New Year! 2023 is officially here like a breath of fresh air. Do you have resolutions? Maybe horse show or training goals you'd like to achieve? Now is the time to establish those habits to set yourself up for success! Here are some winter riding hacks to make the most of this time of year.
Winter Trail Riding
Get your Wool Riding Blanket ready we are headed outside! On those nicer winter days going for a stroll through the snow is an excellent way to not only bond with your riding partner but keep them fit through the winter. Walking through the snow is an excellent workout for the horse, think about how winded you are walking through a foot of snow leading him out to the field! It also gives them a change of scenery so you aren't stuck in a boring, spooky indoor all winter.
Customer Service Representative Abby's favorite activity when the temperature begins to drop is to break out the good ol' ground poles! One of her favorite exercises is just a square made of 8ft or 12 ft poles, she then places one or one ground pole at the corners of the square each 3-4 feet apart.
This is a diverse exercise with many options that looks deceivingly easy for both horse and rider. You can warm-up walking through the poles or practicing turns on the haunches in the box. Maybe trot up through the box diagonally through the poles to get your horse to adjust their stride. How about cantering through the center, go for a long bounce or collect to fit a stride in the box! The options are endless but an awesome way to get you and your horse thinking without working too hard in the chilly weather of winter.
Out of the Saddle
Too cold to peel your horse's blanket off to ride? Don't worry there are plenty of productive things to do while you keep you and your horse cozy. On days that are too cold, focus on grooming and ground work! Our favorite chilly weather activity is to teach our horses tricks! Not only is fun for us but a great way to get them thinking without catching a chill. The easiest and funniest trick to teach is, to teach your horse to smile. Here's how we do it:
1. Hold a treat up above your horse’s nose.
2. Using the hand with the treat, tap your horse’s upper lip with your index finger. You should alternate between tapping their upper lip and pointing upwards. You should also say “smile!” while doing this.
3. When your horse lifts his upper lip to grab the treat from your hand, give it to him. You must wait for the upper lip to lift high enough before rewarding.
4. Repeat the above steps. Eventually, your horse will realize that he only gets the treat when he lifts his upper lip.
Snowed-in for the day and can't make it out to the barn? We've got you covered. We start our snowed in mornings with a bit of yoga to keep ourselves warm, strong and stretched! Here is a great equestrian based training to follow along with: Yoga for Dressage Riders. After getting a good yoga routine in we settle in to do some learning, grab our comfiest blanket and find a seat on the couch! Our favorite way to learn is to watch past competitions! Interested in Hunters and shooting to do the AO's next summer? Catch the replays from Devon 2022! Maybe you are training to improve your equitation this coming season, no better way to learn than to watch the 2022 USET Talent Search Finals - East. Even better catch the live action down in WEF with their Saturday Nights under the Lights, our office favorite is the Great Charity Challenge!
There are so many ways to have productive off-season! Be sure to try different things to find what works best for you, your horse, and your goals. We see blue ribbons in your future! To get you started, use coupon code BLOG for 10% off your next Saratoga Horseworks order.