I may be a bit late with this blog - we seem to be having an early Autumn in the UK at the moment! However, I live in hope that the weather will improve again so that we can get out and about more.
So here are some suggestions for things you could do either with your horse or pony or someone else's in the sunshine.
- Take him on a long hack. Get a few friends together and plan a route. Look at an ordnance survey map and see if you can link some bridleways together. Maybe even take a picnic if there is somewhere safe to tie your horse (take a leadrope). Alternatively, most riding centres also take people out on hacks. So as long as they have seen you ride eg: in a lesson, you will be able to join a hack. These are great fun and a great way to increase your riding ability as you are out of the confines of a school.
- Try some in-hand schooling. I have been doing a little bit of this (in the yard) with Tommy and it is definitely improving our relationship. You can make it as simple or complicated as you like. Practice walking on, turns and halts. Walk over some poles, raised or on the ground. Try walking between poles, use the time to get your horse more used to plastic bags, umbrellas etc!
- Organise a trip to the beach. I live about as far from the beach as is possible but many people could easily box their horse or pony to a beach - take some friends and try to have a sensible, reliable horse as one of the group. You can't ride on all beaches and some have seasonal restrictions - also don't forget to take the tide into consideration! The British Horse Society have some good advice about riding on the beach and finding somewhere suitable. http://www.bhs.org.uk/~/media/BHS/Files/PDF%20Documents/Access%20leaflets/Riding%20on%20Beaches.ashx
- If you don't have your own horse or can't take him to the beach there are lots of riding centres where you can go and join one of their rides on the beach. Obviously, the horses then are used to the sand, sea and waves so you would really be able to have fun!
- Hire a cross country course. Again, do this with a group which will make it cheaper, safer and more fun. You can jump the smaller jumps, the big jumps or just hack about and enjoy riding somewhere different. It will give you the chance to walk or trot through water and really can be great fun for you and your horse.
- Join a summer camp. Many riding centres run short camps for children, teenagers and adults. These can be great fun, give you an opportunity to learn more about horses and to meet some new people with the same love of horses!
- Give your horse a summer makeover. When the weather is hot it is a great opportunity to give your horse or pony a bath. They will dry quickly and not get cold. You will either need someone to hold your horse or to tie him up. Use a horse shampoo to ensure that it will not cause irritation and it is useful to have a rubber curry comb or mitt. You can do this with a bucket and sponge or if your horse will allow you to use a hose it is much easier to wash all the bubbles out that way! Start at the shoulder to get him used to it and do not get shampoo in the eyes or nose. The rubber curry comb or mitt is useful to massage the shampoo through the coat. If your horse is not used to being bathed then use a bucket and sponge and perhaps just do the shoulders and chest to begin with. Many horses are nervous of water on their backs and near their heads! You will most likely be as wet as your horse by the time you have finished but it is a great way to get them all clean and sparkly!
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Until next time!