10 Things to Do with Your Horse When You Don’t Have Time
As horse owners we often juggle far more than we should. Unfortunately, this often leads to an overwhelmed feeling that there is never enough time. Between work, family and trying to get to the barn, we don’t always have time to ride. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do with your horse when you are short on time.
- Go for a Walk - This doesn’t have to be a long walk. Take your horse out to a new area, let them graze and use the time to decompress. Your horse will enjoy seeing something new and exploring with you.
- Play in the Water - If you live in an area with rivers, ponds, or lakes, take your horse there and let them play in the water. Many horses will walk in, paw, and splash around. Some will even try to roll! This will feel nice for both of you on a hot summer day.
Grooming - Quick grooming sessions can be a great way to bond with your horse when you are short on time. Take 10-15 minutes to remove mud and excess hair. Your horse will appreciate the extra rubs!
Mounting Block Training - Teach your horse to stand next to the mounting block quietly while you mount and dismount. This can take a bit of practice for green horses, but it will make mounting more pleasant and put less strain on your horse’s back.
- Ground Tie - Teach your horse to ground tie without being tied to something. In addition to building trust and patience, ground tying comes in handy when you are on the trail and need to dismount.
- Lowering Head - Train your horse to lower their head with gentle pole pressure. This makes bridling and haltering much easier and can have a calming effect on your horse in stressful situations.
- Brush Up Your Back-Up Queues - Most horses have been trained to backup with pressure on their nose, chest or mouth. Teach your horse to respond to a more subtle backup queue like pointing at their chest. It will make moving your horse much easier!
Cross-Tie Practice - If you have a young or green horse, take some time to practice cross-tying. You want your horse to stand calmly in the cross-ties without fidgeting or pawing. For young horses start with a few minutes a day and remove them from the ties when they are calm. Slowly build up the time until they can calmly stand in the cross-ties for grooming or tacking up.
Trick Training - There are lots of fun horse tricks. Start with some simple ones like head shaking and expand to more complicated tricks like bowing. Many horses really enjoy trick training because it can challenge them in new and creative ways. It’s a great way to improve your bond with your horse by building trust. Plus, they love working for extra treats.
- Desensitizing - Is your horse scared of a specific item or object? Take a few minutes each day to work with those specific objects to reduce the fear and reaction.