Keep your edge while staying safe at home
Let's take on this challenge and make progress together, separately.
I know most of you are spending way more time at home right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic and for many that also means limiting your horse time or limiting trips to the barn. It’s easy to go into panic mode thinking that being away from your horse for a bit is sure to set back your goals and derail your riding but I want to challenge everyone to think outside the box. You’re not as helpless as you think. The riding season will return. There is still a great deal that you Can Do right now to progress and prepare for your next ride, whenever that may be.
Let’s take on this challenge and make progress together, separately.
Better Horsemanship From Home
1. Make self-care and restoring harmony a priority
Most of us have heard the line “my horse is my therapist”. Let’s take this opportunity to elevate them of that role. Rather than letting all your stress start piling up while you’re away from the barn why not learn new ways of de-stressing and rebalancing. Just think how happy the horses will be to see you coming out with positive grounded energy.
2. Stay fit and flexible
Stay fit and flexible. Staying at home doesn’t mean we have to camp on the couch all day. YouTube has some great free yoga for equestrians videos to try out, my balance board post also covers at home exercises and there a ton of exercise ball workouts out there that improve flexibility through the hips, core, and lower back so there perfect for improving your riding from home.
3. Take your soul riding with horse themed Guided visualization
Tapping into meditation can help to ease anxiety and give you a chance to connect with your horse even though you’re not physically together. If you need a little guidance, here is an equine guided visualization that I put together for you to follow along with.
4. Dedicate one meal a day to your horse
Okay, so this one might sound a bit weird but hang in there with me. I understand eating sustainable, animal-friendly, healthy whole foods can be tough especially with limited access to the grocery store but with a little bit of planning, you can create some pretty amazing dishes that can sharpen your mind and fuel your body while being kinder to the earth and the animals on it. Keep it simple, create one thoughtful meal each day that includes a beautiful array of colorful fruits and veggies. When you sit down to eat let yourself be filled with gratitude for your horse and the amazing planet we live on. If you need further meal ideas I would check out Forks Over Knives, Oh She Glows, or The Happy Pear for beautiful tasty recipes.
5. Reading horse-related books
I’ve never heard anyone say “I wish I knew less about horses”. Even if you’re not an avid reader sitting down to read just a few pages a day can quickly expand your understanding of horses and take your horsemanship to another level. If you’re looking for any recommendations check out my reading list right here.
6. Study riding videos/ videos of winning runs in your event of choice
Studies have shown athletes that utilize video and visualization out-perform their competitors even though they spend less time training. An easy way to find great videos is to search your discipline +championship, world show, nationals, or finals on YouTube and see what pops up.
For many riders journaling is hard to commit to. It’s hard to switch gears between all the physical activity and sitting down to mindfully write about your equine aspirations. But in the instance of being stuck at home thinking about riding 24/7 journaling, your thoughts can keep you from going stir crazy and can help keep the horse longing in check. Get it out of your head and onto the paper. Not sure what to write about? These ideas might help… If I could take my horse anywhere we would go… If I could teach my horse anything I would teach them to… My larger than life horse goal is to… By the end of the year, my horse and I will be able to…
8. Send a homemade horse treat care package out to the barn for your equine pal
So this one might not directly make you a better rider but it will help your horse feel a little extra love while you’re away. Here is a list of 50 horse-friendly foods if you need ideas to get started with the ingredients you have on hand.