Winter can seem all too long for horse owners, especially when you’re ready for show season and not a huge fan of riding in the cold. If you’re feeling the winter barn blues, these activities can help you to make it through to spring.
Attend an Online Clinic
More and more clinics are now available online. Consider auditing an online clinic with a trainer you haven’t worked with before. You can also find online clinics by sports psychologists and judges. You’ll be working on your show prep while learning something new, and you don’t even have to get on your horse to do it. Plus, online clinics are often much more affordable than the in-person version – another perk.
Compete in a Virtual Show
If you’re ready to compete and waiting for your local shows to start up, go virtual instead and you can start competing right now. Virtual horse shows have become more and more common this year, not only because of the pandemic but also because they’re low-cost and convenient options when you can’t go compete in person.
To find a virtual show, start by checking with your breed registry and horse show association. Your regional equestrian association and riding groups may also be a source of online shows. Don’t forget to also check with local barns that typically host shows, as many of them have embraced the online format.
Many virtual shows provide prizes and ribbons. Some also have special classes where you’ll received detailed feedback from one or more judges. These types of classes typically have slightly higher entry fees, but they can pay off in knowledge and suggestions that can help you to improve your riding.
Bring in a New Clinician
If you’re able to host in-person clinics, consider bringing in a new clinician to your barn. Hosting a clinic can give yourself and your boarders a positive new experience, and if you open it to the public, you can build awareness of your lesson and boarding offerings. Working with a new clinician can help you to see the challenges you’ve been facing with your horse in new light, and it can get you inspired and excited about your training in 2021.
Start Your Show Prep Now
While the show season may still be a way off, that doesn’t mean you have to wait to start getting ready. Instead, start your show prep now. Even if you don’t have a ring that’s usable for riding in the winter, there’s still plenty you can do. Focus on groundwork and perfecting your showmanship patterns. Practice your braiding and clipping skills now, while there’s still time for any mistakes to grow back.
Do a Deep Cleaning
Now is also a great time to deep clean your barn. Tackle all of those cleaning projects that you don’t have time for when you’re riding and schooling. Deep cleaning your tack room and feed room can help you to stay more organized. Dig into those tack trunks and boxes of equipment that have sat for years and get them cleaned up. Cutting down on the clutter in your barn can leave you feeling refreshed and excited for the coming season.
Which of these tips will you be putting to use in your barn this winter?