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5 Tips to Stay Motivated to Keep Riding and Training This Winter

The dark and deary days of winter are fast approaching, whether we like it or not. It can be hard to motivate yourself to bundle up in countless thermals and layers to head to the barn when the cold snap hits. Here are 5 tips to help you get to the barn this winter.   

  1. Get grooming! There are just some days that, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get yourself in the saddle and that’s okay! Just spend time with your horse and show them some extra TLC. It helps breaks up the routine and tells your horse you’re not always there to do work. Maybe there is a new message tool you can try or even a braid you always wanted to learn. You can also incorporate some stretches on the ground for your horse which is great when they get stiff from the colder weather. Now is a great time to do it!  
  2. When your hands are too cold to tack up then bareback might be the solution! Bareback will help develop balance in your seat while keeping you warm because without a saddle, you can feel your horse’s body heat. Already a strong bareback rider? Maybe take it to the next level and try yoga on horseback  
  3. Pole patterns are another way to keep things different and interesting (not to mention carrying poles will warm you up!) This will also help to keep your horse in shape during the off season. The nice thing is that pole patterns can be as simple or as an elaborate as you want. You can adjust based on weather, keeping it short and simple on those freezing days and on decent days putting out an intricate pattern for you and your horse. There are plenty of books to give you inspiration and you can also check out the Facebook group Equestrian Pole Club for more pattens as well as fun challenges! 
  4. Creating, building, and setting a trail course could also be a great way to introduce something new to your riding routine this winter. Working on going over a tarp, walking over a bridge, or even opening a mailbox and carrying some mail could be great goals to help you get through a tough winter while also keeping your horse conditioned. It could also be beneficial your horse’s brain by breaking up any ring boredom that can occur. You can even work towards entering a virtual trail riding competition which offers classes for a variety of skill from novice to extreme. Check out Trail Rider Challenge for more information!  
  5. Teach your horse something new! Learning something new is a great way to keep your mind off the cold and it is good for your horse’s brain to change things up. Some new activities could include trick training, ground driving, or evening simply learning a new movement such as side passing. Maybe now is the time to work on trailer loading and unloading for the upcoming show season. There are plenty of tutorials you can find on YouTube or maybe you can talk to a trainer about introducing something new. Set a new goal for you and your horse to learn something new during the winter!  

By: Alycia Skye Bardon 

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