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Helpful Tips???

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  • Helpful Tips???

    Well, it looks like I'll be moving to a barn with very little "action"... especially this time of year. So I will be riding alone pretty frequently. It has an outdoor sand ring and lots of grass areas to ride. But no indoor. Will probably move sometime in February... March 1st at the latest.

    Any helpful tips for safety? Things to do during the crummy months (aka. Winter) when the ground is harder? Interesting exercises so we aren't bored out of our minds since we probably won't be able to do much more than walk?

    I've always boarded at a facility with an indoor so kinda at a loss here on what I'll be able to do in cold weather w/o one. And I'm used to more traffic at the barn so never really rode alone.

    Though I'm a little hesitant, it will be nice not having to worry about the young riders (where steering is optional) run into us all the time. And I mean, literally... run into us. Thank goodness my horse wasn't rattled by it. I will miss my riding friends and I hope I don't get too lonely.

    I'm not sure I'll know what to do with all the space to myself along with the peace and quiet. I've heard the traffic picks up in the warmer months but it is very quiet this time of year. And a friend of mine lives down the street and comes over to ride frequently so I can ride with her some.

    I guess most give their horse's the winter off since there isn't an indoor. But I prefer to at least keep my horse in light work in the winter. The barn is really nice and the care will be phenomenal (which means the most to me... I've boarded with the BM before) so I can live w/o some of the perks but I'm just not sure what to do regarding safety in riding alone and exercises to keep us from getting bored in the colder months.


  • #2
    I ride alone a lot. I wear a helmet at all times my horses are tacked, ALWAYS have my phone strapped to me in an armband. Get a text buddy to be your safety net. So text before mounting estimated ride duration and text when dismounting.
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    • #3

      Ditto petstorejunkie


      • #4
        Additional Safety equipment (e.g. vest, safety stirrups)...check!


        Winter is the time to just relax and have low stress fun with your horse. Dress warmly, take your time and go for a mosey with friends.
        "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


        • #5
          You sound sad to be leaving the big barn behind. Perhaps a brief respite is exactly what both of you need. In a few months the ground will soften and you and Dobbin will be back in business!

          I prefer a small, quiet barn to the hubub of a large one. I couldn't care less about an indoor. Regardless of where I am, I usually pick out a winter project and use the winter months to expand my own knowledge of horses. If you end up giving Dobbin the winter off, this will keep you busy and allow time for re-evaluating your horse keeping and/or planning a really good spring training/workout program. You may even find yourself changing directions completely for a little while!

          There are some great horse conformation, training and history book/DVD collections out there. Massage is always a great thing to learn--that is where I want to head next! Pampering your horse could always use a brush up (The Ultimate Guide to Pampering Your Horse, and The Original Book of Horse Treats, for those who love to bake and make things at home!). Sewing classes to make your own horse clothes and pads (another path I want to take--I also want to learn quilting). Equine Art is fascinating. That will take you to museums and into art books. I spent some time gluing and assembling the Visible Horse (which some think as beneath them, but use the wrong glue, and you will get the joy of assembling it again! )

          I spent many winter hours at seminars for horse owners (with dinner with friends beforehand, of course!), and took courses in equine first aid, hoof care science, etc. There are online courses in these things as well. There are winter Expos just begging for your attendance. Or pick another subject entirely and dig in!

          I would suggest making two living lists (I hate the term bucket list): one for you and your horse, and another just for yourself. Let your imagination run on each list, put your ultimate heart's desires down as you build the lists, and you may find something fun and wonderful to do, or begin building towards a goal later down the road.

          Good luck with your lists and your horse!
          "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



          • #6
            What I would do is post the times and dates you will be riding for other people at the barn who also don't want to ride alone.


            • #7
              Just so that I'm not repeating what everyone else said...here's some other thoughts.

              1 - Ground work. Get a book or DVD or look stuff up on youtube. It could be anything such as lunging, natural horsemanship stuff, brushing up on ground manners, hand grazing, general bonding stuff

              2 - EVen if all you can do is walk and trot, work on small things like getting your horse more sensitive to leg or seat. When it's mucky, I like to take my horse out bareback and walk around, working on listening to my seat since I'm barbeack. Also, practicing my horses western jog which is great for him because he's a hunter (we usually are jumping when weather is good) and it's nice to see him have to really shorten and collect so that I can actually sit his giant stride. It's beneficial for the both of us and doesnt' require a lot of space or dry ground.

              3 - exploring the property/going on trail rides if you have access.

              4 - Setting up ground poles or raised cavalleti and lungin your horse over those at the trot.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Chief2 View Post
                You sound sad to be leaving the big barn behind. Perhaps a brief respite is exactly what both of you need. In a few months the ground will soften and you and Dobbin will be back in business!
                Yes, I am sad. I've always boarded at barns that were a bit busier. I really do enjoy the social aspect. Unfortunately, in this case, I'm not leaving by my choice (long story).

                Thanks to everyone for all the tips. I'm not too concerned about riding alone in the ring. But I'm not 100% comfortable hacking out alone. And since my hubby works out of town during the week, I can't use him as my "back up". But writing a note on the white board sounds like a good idea. And I'll try and find someone else that I can call/text as my safety net.

                I am a little excited since I will have a ton of space to ride.... and won't have to worry so much about getting in anybody's way! Most of all, I know he will be well cared for and that means more to me than my own comforts.

                Will carry my cellphone and drag out my iPod to listen to tunes so I won't get too lonely. I think once I get there and establish a routine, I will probably enjoy it. And hope to make some new "barn friends" once they start coming back out.

                My horse and I are starting to slow down (he's getting older and we are both a little broken). So it will be an interesting adventure!