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Winter Weather Tips

As the show season winds down and colder weather begins to set in, many riders are left wondering how to keep themselves and their horses active and in-shape. While it's important to give your horse both a physical and mental break from showing, it doesn't mean you should abandon training all together. Below are some resources on how to ensure your horse doesn't lose any progress during the off-season and stay safe while doing so.

  • Practical Horseman has a great article on de-conditioning your horse safely and effectively while preserving fitness. It's easy to focus on the next spring after show season end, but did you stop and think how hard it is on your horse to go from high activity to low activity and back again? It's even harder on older horses. The Horse also goes into great detail in an article about how to wind down after show season. 
  • Think about any new skills you'd like to build with your horse. The winter is a great time to change things up and build or work on something new! A change of pace is great for both horse and rider. Planning on trail riding? Work on desensitizing to new objects like umbrellas, plastic bags, or even work on mounting from the opposite side (definitely harder than it seems). 
  • Take time to bond with your horse. We get busy and fall into a routine during show season - when was the last time you just spent some quality time with your horse? During the two or three winters I didn't have access to an indoor, I spent the chilly days just brushing my horse and taking walks around the property. Just sitting in the barn listening to music, drinking hot chocolate and giving my horse some much needed love was perfect when I just needed to get out of the house! 
  • Properly cooling out your horse after a winter ride is critical - The Spruce Pets has a great article about how to cool out your horse after a ride. It's also important to spend time warming up as well. Aim to spend 10-15 minutes walking and flexing before moving to trotting or cantering
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