Many equestrians live an incredibly active life in normal times, so suddenly being limited to going out once a day during the Covid-19 England lockdown can take its toll.
Lots of us are lucky that we are still able to see our horses to keep us sane, but if you're searching for other activities to keep you busy, I've put together a list of equestrian related ideas to get you started!
From cleaning your tack, to putting pen to paper and writing out your equestrian goals, planning new hacking routes, and getting your horse fit ready for summer, there's plenty to keep you busy. Both in and out of the saddle.
11 lockdown activities for equestrians:
Riding-related equestrian activities to do during lockdown:
Use this time to learn
At the moment the pressure of competitions is off for a lot of us, so why not use this time to learn alongside your horse? Instructors are still allowed to work, so providing they're still allowed onto your yard, use this time to get in some extra riding lessons! If you don't feel comfortable having your instructor out to see you, there are lots of virtual classes taking place, or take to YouTube and see if you can find a video to follow during your next schooling session!
Now, before you skip this point let me just say that I know it's harder to motivate yourself to exercise at the moment, especially with the cold weather and gyms closed.
However, if our fitness dips then it has an impact on our horses too. Whether you get out for a brisk walk, bike to the yard, give a home workout or pilates session a go, or even turn on the music and dance around your living room while your dinner is cooking; any kind of movement is better than none. And you'll thank yourself the next time you get into the saddle.
Plan some new hacks
Use the time at home to dig out an ordnance survey map and start planning some new hacking routines to explore with your horse. It’s easy to fall into the same routines and never explore anywhere new, so now would be a great time to find some new places to ride. You don't even need a physical map anymore, as there is a fantastic OS map app that you can download to your phone!
Take part in some online competitions
I know I started this post by saying that the pressure of competitions are off, but if you're really missing the excitement of a competition day, there is still a way to replicate that during lockdown! Grab yourself a camera and enroll in an online riding competition - there are loads to pick from and it might boost your mood to have something to aim for again.
Lockdown activities for equestrians to do at home:
Sort through your magazines
How many equestrian magazines have you got hidden at the back of your cupboard? If you’re anything like me, the answer will be a lot. Gather them all together and then cut out the articles you actually want to read. You can then recycle the rest. This way they won’t be taking up as much room and you’re only left with the parts you’re actually interested in.
Create a photobook of your horse
How many photos do you have of your horse on your phone? I imagine the answer is a lot. Group them all together and get them printed. You could either put them into a scrapbook like I do each year or have them turned into a photobook - they'll make a beautiful keepsake of your horse.
Listen to some podcasts
If you’re a fan of podcasts, I've got a few fantastic, equestrian inspired ones to recommend!
- Olivia Towers Podcast
- Rhea Freeman's 'The Small and Supercharged' Podcast
- In the Country Podcast
Start planning for the future
I know planning ahead seems a bit daunting at the moment but it’s still good to have something to aim for. It doesn’t have to be specific competitions, instead you could set yourself a goal and then plan out actions to help you achieve it. It could be anything, from a decision to get back into show jumping, to do more in hand activities with your horse, or to learn a specific dressage move by the end of the year.
Organisational activities for equestrians to do in lockdown:
Have a tack room clear out
When was the last time you had a tack room clear out? I'm certain all equestrians have the habit of saying "I will keep this, just in case" and then years down the line you end up with a huge collection of items that haven't seen the light of day in far too long.
Even if you're not ready to throw away any of those odd bits of leather, or the head collar you had for your first horse that will never fit anything you own again (you should probably get rid of this...), use this time to organise your tack room so that the next time you're looking for that bit, you don't have to empty the contents of every single box to find it!
Clean your grooming kit
Now this is one thing I know that none of us do often enough. So, grab your grooming kit, grab some water and soap and get cleaning those brushes! After all, you can’t expect to do a good job of grooming your horse with brushes that are holding more grease than your pony is.
Clean your tack
We all know we should clean our tack more often, so why not make the most of the extra time that the lockdown has given us all to get it done. You could even bring your tack home so that you can clean it from the warmth of your house.
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