If you are stuck at home due to the current Coronavirus epidemic, you might enjoy some ideas and inspiration for horsey things that you can do from home. Horsey people are used to be busy and on the go, and it will take some adjusting to spending more time at home, so I hope you find these suggestions helpful.
1. Try a vision board – you might be missing out on some key horsey events this Spring but why not make a vision or dream board of things that you would like to achieve, places you’d like to visit in the future. It is also the perfect up-cycling activity for any old magazines.
2. Find your inner artist – There are so many video tutorials for drawing and a great activity if you are home schooling at the same time. You might not turn into Stubbs but it is relaxing and a great distraction. Or you could simply print off some horsey themed mindful colouring.
3. Become a budding photographer – we all have fantastic cameras in our pockets with modern phones but I’m sure most of us aren’t making the most of the features that can really improve the look of your pictures. Certainly worth investigating.
4. Exercise – if you feel well perhaps you could look at improving your fitness and flexibility during this time. Improving core strength and flexibility in the hips and hamstrings can be extremely helpful for riding. I’m a fan of https://reduxdefinition.com and you could try Joe Wick The Body Coach on www.youtube.com both offer some great home workouts. The Dressage Rider Training has some great articles and videos, and they send out a helpful weekly email https://dressageridertraining.com with exercises to try as well.
5. Understand – maybe there is a riding exercise you’d like to understand the theory of more, or perhaps an equine health condition you are struggling to wrap your head around. You could try http://www.mary-wanless.com/Articles.html, or https://www.horseandhound.co.uk and you’ll find lots of horse first aid articles here on my website
6. Learn – stuck at home could be the perfect opportunity for some more in depth online learning. I have signed up for some new online courses this week, and I will be revisiting one I haven’t finished. You can find online resources for virtually every topic (horse related and otherwise) and why not use this time to update your horse first aid knowledge or equine nutrition know how with one of our digital courses. These start from £9.25 per month, and will offer you an excellent distraction.
7. The House – Most horsey people have beautiful tidy yards, with immaculate stables and often the house doesn’t quite match up. If you are on a lock down at home it is a great opportunity to ‘muck out’ the house, so find the rubber gloves and get cracking
8. Magazines – have you got a stash of horsey magazines lying around? I think every horsey person probably has. Why not cut out and keep any interesting articles and the rest can hit the recycling, or be used for creating a vision board.
9. Wardrobe – be honest have you got clothes that you literally never wear? Socks that never found their partner, jumpers that are too old even for mucking out the horses in. It is a perfect time for a Spring clean of your wardrobe
10. Make a plan – yes it is upsetting and disappointing that Riding Club, Pony Club, Eventing, Showjumping and Dressage fixtures are cancelled for the next few months, but don’t lose sight of your horsey goals for the year. What are you hoping to achieve with your horse this year? With sensible social distancing it should be possible to still ride your horse throughout this time (although of course advice on this may alter), and via video you can probably still organise some training of sorts.
Get clear on what you would like to do with your horse, and then when you are able to ride again you will have some direction and motivation.
11. Horsey appointments – what can be rescheduled and what is essential? Chat to your vet/ physio/ farrier on the phone. With sensible steps and hygiene precautions many equine professionals are still ‘business as usual’; they just might prefer to see the horse without any humans if possible. If you are homebound find out if some of these appointments can still happen in your absence.
12. Emails – why not clear out your inbox while you are at it. Unsubscribe to emails that you find annoying or aren’t relevant to you, and if you have time for some further reading get on some other email lists. I love emails from https://dressageridertraining.com, http://www.sophiecallahanblog.com, and HiHo Silver. If you’d like a weekly email on horse care then do please sign up to my mailing list here.
13. Photos – we all have a million pictures on our phones but why not have a sort through and delete the fuzzy ones, or the ones where you can’t see your head or your horse’s ears (or is it me who just takes iffy photos?!). You could even get some of the good ones printed out, or made into a gift for a friend.
14. Become a bookworm – you could use your time at home to enjoy a re-read of some horsey classics. My personal favourite horsey books include a childhood classic ‘Six Ponies’ by Josephine Pullen-Thompson (I don’t even know how many times I have read it), and anything by Jilly Cooper. I couldn’t not mention some other classic horsey books including Black Beauty, The Silver Brumby and National Velvet, and if like me you were a horsey child in the 80s you might even remember the Saddle Club Series.
15. Thinking of you – with many friends and loved ones also having to stay at home, a card or letter might be very much appreciated. I absolutely love these gorgeous eco cards from the talented Jen Winnett Art (the donkey is my favourite) good for the environment and a lovely way to reach out to anyone feeling isolated.
16. Remember Buckaroo? You could ditch the screen in favour of a board game or puzzle and playing Buckaroo a second time around with my daughter is just as fun as when I was a child.
17. Clear round? If you have small children to entertain, or you want to use up some energy, building an obstacle course in the garden is a favourite in our house. Yes it is basically an excuse to pretend you are riding round a course of jumps, see if you can get yourself on the correct canter lead.
18. Have a listen – I couldn’t finish this roundup without a shout out to one of my favourite resources, podcasts. If you fancy a horsey podcast try The Horse Hour Podcast or the Pony Podcast, and I love country and business ideas from Rhea Freeman’s Small and Supercharged Podcast
I hope that these ideas help you and give you some inspiration for your time at home. I would love to hear how you get on, and which suggestions you tried out.