No, it’s not spring yet, but don’t let the low temps get you down. Karlie Mitchell shares some ideas for making the most of winter.
Now that the Christmas and New Year’s buzz is gone things can become kind of dull waiting for spring. The snow has piled up and the cold weather has set in. Here are 10 things to do to keep busy until the snow melts and the horses start shedding.
• Set some goals: OK, now we just passed the New Year’s resolution time, but let’s set goals for the year on our own terms. Set three short-term and three long-term horse related goals. Short-term should be accomplishable in six to eight weeks (you can wait until spring to start them) and long-term can be accomplished throughout the year. They do not have to be all riding goals. They can be groundwork, equine stewardship or anything horse-related.
• Attend some events: They do not have to be shows — clinics, seminars, etc. also apply. I know in my area a couple equine veterinary clinics host seminars regularly (on colic prevention, foaling, weaning, demonstrations of procedures, etc.) They can be really interesting and informative.
• Plan and save for the spring vet tune up: Vaccines, teeth float, etc. Think about where you plan on going this year and which vaccines you will need.
• Learn some theory: It gets dark early so why not settle down in the evening and do some reading. Expand your theory and do some reading and research on equine science, training, or other horse topics.
• Work out: Why not try to keep some muscles around? Yoga, palates, cardio, strength training, and other fitness activities can help keep you in shape. With snow and cold I cannot ride much in winter. Working out keeps my muscles in shape so come spring I’m not as out of breath and tired when I hit the saddle hard again. Tip: Check out some equestrian specific fitness DVDs and books that target muscles we often need.
• Take inventory and restock barn and equine medical supplies. See what you have, what has been used and what supplies need to be restocked.
• Find some time to spend time with family and friends that do not get to see you much during prime horsing season.
• Repair blankets and other items that have been used and abused.
• Bring your tack in and give it a good cleaning and conditioning.
• Prepare yourself mentally and physically for spring, a.k.a. the time when the woolly mammoths let go of their coats, become covered in mud, and coat YOU in hair and mud every time you go near them.
About Karlie: I am from Alberta, Canada and live on a farm with my equine crew (a Paint, QHx Arab, and two OTTBs). I mainly ride English and jumping, but also enjoy western and trail riding. I love riding, training, learning about Equine Science related topics, and having a great time with my horses.