Hurrah for this list, right?!? I thought I’d re-post, seeing as it’s March and spring really is nowhere to be seen! Why not take advantage of the winter months? Follow the photo shoot I did with my mom to get some fun and constructive ideas for your furry pony!
#1 Get your exercise!
Is your New Years resolution to start exercising more? Your horse can help you with that! Something me and Storm do is go for walks. Even though you have to be more coordinated with your ropes and sticks in the winter because of all the bulky winter-wear, walking through the snow actually makes working with your horse a little more predictable and (when you have a horse who likes to be fast) it really enables a slower pace, allowing time to think and observe your horse. Refer to my article about herd bound horses to begin safe and natural leading practices.
#2 Become explorers
#3 Find your feet
The great part about snow is that you can see tracks. We haven’t talked about healthy longeing practices yet, but when we do, you’ll see what I mean. With snow, you can tell if your horse is walking a perfect circle and if you’re walking a perfect circle. There is no cheating with the trail shows us ovals. This can be something you can practice all winter long until you get it perfect. You can always look down and see if your tracks are correct. Then when spring comes, you’ll be surprised at how accurate you are. Why are getting perfect circles important? Well for one, our horses will mirror the direction our energy is going, so if we push them out too far or draw them in too near while longeing, it could create an unbalanced horse who will turn out lopsided as a result.
#4 Make feeding time training time!
My mom has this really cool arrangement: she has convinced our herd of seven to line up within just a few feet of each other to receive their winter flax and mineral ration. It takes time and a lot of patience and confidence, but it’s actually not hard once you have a clear goal in mind. Regulating and directing your energy appropriately and specifically is really important so that you don’t scare away the fearful horses, but can keep the dominant ones at bay. This winter challenge is an ideal way to develop a safe and calm herd.
#5 Study a little
#7 Find your balance bareback
You have to trust your horse to ride bareback, but in the winter you know that there will be a soft landing if you fall. You’ll stay warmer and there’s less trouble because you don’t have to put a saddle on! Work on developing your centre of gravity and keeping your shoulders level. Think about your feet as if there are weights on them, and your butt like its full of lead. Then relax and drop your shoulders. If you feel unstable push your hands down on your horses withers. This actually has a calming affect on horses as well as stabilizes you.
#8 Pull things
Teaching your horse to pull things is a fun way to take advantage of the snow. Pulling barrels, toboggans, sleds, and the like can even be useful. Whether you want to eventually rope, or teach your horse to drive, pulling off of your horse can be a fun, no-pressure way to spend an afternoon. It’s also a great way to develop your tool expertise.