As the nights are now drawing in it is easy to get downhearted at this time of year, I know I do. Although I love the beautiful autumn colours the thought of cold winter days ahead make me feel a bit gloomy. So I have been trying to think of things I can do with the horses.
- Teach you horse in the stable. If it is dark then why not try practising your horse's reactions to your commands and touch in the stable. Does he move away from the door when you ask him to? Can you ask him to move over so that you can get around the side? Does he back up when you ask? These are all things you can practice in the stable and if you can teach your horse to react to a voice command then it is often easier to teach them to move when you are on too eg: for gates!
- Spend extra time giving him a really good groom. As he is losing the summer coat and growing a long thick one he will appreciate this. If your horse is clipped and/or rugged up then this is even more important as he won't be able to access his itchy bits so well! It is often more difficult to spot new lumps, bumps and wounds in the darker months so spending a bit more time checking is a good idea. It will give you a chance to improve your relationship too.
- Look back on the year and think about what went well and what you would like to improve. This might be your jumping, your dressage or your horses reaction to plastic bags. Then you can make a plan for the coming weeks to tackle these. You can make sure that the more limited opportunities to ride are useful and that you achieve something. You can practise things in the stable too eg: voice commands or getting your horse used to plastic bags.
- Try some indoor shows. There are lots on around the country over the autumn/winter. If it is your first time jumping indoors you might want to try smaller classes to start with as there is generally less space than when jumping outdoors. The great advantage is that the going is usually pretty good and you don't have to worry about hard ground or slippery surfaces.
- Wash summer rugs and fly sheets. If you get these done hopefully you will catch a good day to hang them outside to dry. If they need fixing then get that sorted so when you get them out next spring/summer they are all ready to go!
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Until next time!