Given the current climate, some equestrians are experiencing more free time than usual, and you might be finding yourself looking for ways to stay busy. To combat your boredom, I’ve come up with five things to do at home or at the barn so that extra time isn’t just put to good use, but thoroughly enjoyed!
Please Note: When you do go out to the barn, make sure you are practicing proper barn etiquette for COVID-19. Click here to see some guidelines to keep you and your fellow barn mates safe!
Option 1: Clean Tack
That layer of dirt covering your prized tack - get rid of it! Get into the nooks, crannies, and everywhere in-between!
Usually a chore most equestrians, like myself, prefer not to do, cleaning tack can be quite therapeutic and rewarding- not to mention it lengthens the life of your leather. My two top favorite cleaning supplies are Higher Stands Saddle Soap and Sterling Essentials Conditioner. The Higher Standards removes the everyday build-up of dirt and grime from my leather without stripping natural oils. Once I’m done removing the excess dirt, I come back with the Sterling Essentials conditioner, which soaks so nicely into the leather for a brilliant shine that has no sticky residue. Best of all, the incredible smell of both products makes cleaning tack basically an aromatherapy session in my living room!
If that hasn’t convinced you, try putting on your favorite horse movie while cleaning. I find this not only makes the task go faster, but I get to enjoy movies from my childhood that I rarely get to see!
Option 2: Organize Your Tack Room or Tack Box
If you are anything like me, you have blankets, saddle pads, and standing wraps galore littering your tack room. Now is the time to clean and find a home for all those little items that somehow seem to always clutter your tack room or tack box.
Right now I’m battling with a lot of dirty horse blankets, from fly sheets to coolers to heavy winter blankets. (Because it’s totally normal for one horse to have 10 blankets, right?) Once I wash them all in NikWax so they’re ready to go for next season, I plan to store them in my Shires Storage Bags. These bags are really wonderful because they come in two sizes and are made of durable canvas material-which keeps out the mice that like to take up residence in my tack room. I find the small one actually holds quite a lot, so it’s perfect for multiple lighter sheets and coolers or a couple of my heavy winter blankets. I’ve even considered purchasing a few bags for my loose saddle pads so they stay nice and clean, and most importantly organized!
While you’re becoming an organizing queen or king, you can catch up on the latest Amateur Hour: An Equestrian Podcast, to hear how the girls are getting ready for show season with products from Riding Warehouse!
Option 3: Spa Day for Your Horse
As an ex-groom, cleaning my horse from head to hoof is one of the most satisfying experiences. If weather permits, I suggest spending a few hours beautifying your steed with a bath, clip, or even a mane pull. A few products I’ve been loving to keep my pony clean are the E3 Elite Argan Oil Shampoo, Car & Day& Martin Canter Mane/Tail Spray, and Farnam Laser Sheen. This cleaning trio is the perfect combination to get your horse not only clean, but keep them spotless over the coming weeks. The E3 shampoo gently removes dirt and smells so wonderful that I‘ve even considered using it on my own hair! Both the Canter Spray and Laser Sheen can be used as a detangler, however, I prefer to finish up the mane and tail with Canter as it not only leaves the hair silky smooth but improves the look and feel of the hair over time. Laser Sheen is perfect for finishing the body, legs, and head and doesn’t leave any silicone residue as some sprays can. It produces a great shine and I’ve noticed it even cuts down on the static electricity when taking my horse’s blanket off.
Even if you aren’t able to bathe, a deep grooming session is a great idea to help your horse get rid of their winter coat. The SleekEZ is one of my favorite de-shedding tools to use to get rid of loose hair and dirt left on their coat. I even use it on my dog - who thinks I’m basically giving her a massage!
Whatever you choose to do, spending some time loving on your horse is a way to bond and relieve stress at the same time.
Option 4: Get Your Stretch On
I know with some extra time on my hands, I will be getting my stretch on. All you need is a yoga mat (or even just a comfortable surface like carpet) and some space and you’re ready to go!
Typically, equestrians are so focused on making our horse’s lives better that we don’t set aside time to improve our own well-being. However, incorporating a little self-care into your day can actually go a long way. Even just a few minutes of stretching can increase flexibility, improve range of movement, ease aches and pain, reduce stress, and ultimately lead to happier rides.
Click here to check out my favorite stretches for horseback riders!
Option 5: Ride Your Horse
This one seems pretty obvious, however, what we need more than ever is the companionship of our beloved equines. Whether you are sitting on their back, working them on the ground, or just telling them how pretty they are, spending time with horses has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
If for any reason you cannot visit your horse, perhaps ask a fellow rider to take some videos or pictures of your furry friend so you can keep track of their well-being. With all the current uncertainty, we can turn to the comfort of horses because they will never fail to raise our spirits and keep us sane.
Thank you for reading this blog, I hope it gives you some "horsey" activities to fill the hours of the day!
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