Seven tips for making winter weather a great time to get horsey

There’s so much to do at the farm on any given day, but when footing or blustery conditions cause us to choose to stay out of the saddle, there’s still an opportunity to spend time with horse scents and activities that allow us to connect with our companions (and get excited about the coming of spring). As you start to get frustrated about the weather and grumpy because you can’t seem to figure out how to replace the spiritual energy that comes from the equine connection, here are some ideas to get your mind right and your time well spent:

  1. Spend quiet time with your horse. Even if it’s simply watching them enjoy time in the paddock and/or observing how they spend time with other equines, hanging out in the stall or catching up on grooming or handling activities that you may have neglected a bit in active months, you can use this time to learn and bond.
  2. If you don’t already have one, buy a calendar or planner that records and tracks all care and issues with your horse. Include records and schedules for vaccinations, the blacksmith, worming, medical surprises and results, mare cycles and findings if you’re breeding, training schedules or objectives – whatever is important for you and your horse to ensure continued health, happiness and success.
  3. Start a journal. Really watch your horse and strive to learn from him. You might be amazed at how seemingly little observations can reveal patterns and teach you more about you and your horse.  Horses are great teachers when we let ourselves see what they try to say. There’s also a great opportunity to grow in quietness. Winter provides a time to watch, reflect and connect.
  4. Go through all your tack, brushes, equipment, supplies and tools.  Clean it, check it, fix it, discard it and replace or repair the damaged. Think about creating a good first aid kit and having it handy.
  5. Devote extra time to giving your horse attention he enjoys. This is a great time to learn what he really likes and grow in your knowledge by watching how he responds to you as a result. Use this time to try to better understand how horses communicate and find ways you can develop a language your equine can more easily understand.
  6. Explore new ideas for learning more about horses. This could include forum participation, books, conversations with trainers, finding blogs that appeal to you, going to equine conferences or demonstrations or even really listening to what your horse is trying to tell you.
  7. Get ready for spring!  Share all your plans and excitement about the coming season with your horse and you may be surprised how quickly he absorbs your enthusiasm.

2 Responses

  1. This is a great list, not only for winter, but if you are off riding due to a broken ankle or other extremity!

    1. Sarah – I can relate. Of course, there’s so much we can do to keep in touch with our horses even if we can’t be on them. Plus, just the feel and smell of of the stuff they’ve touched can pick up our heads. Of course, dreaming of spring (and mobility) as we get better organized and prepared for the coming season is also a great diversion.

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