Winter Horse training ideas - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-05-2013, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Winter Horse training ideas

Well winter has set in, which means a hiatus from riding for me. I don't like the idea of leaving my horses untouched for months. So, I am looking for suggestions on things to do during these winter months. I can't really ride because I don't have an indoor or even a plowed area to ride in. The ice and snow make riding dangerous and none of my horses have winter shoes on. I live in that area where we don't really get snow we just get snow on top of ice. I often ride alone during good weather but bad weather + bad footing makes me nervous.

So I need ideas. I would try to lunge, but my horse fell over doing that in good weather (partially because he is clumsy as all get out and partially because he was an idiot who decided to rear, pivot and run all at once) and I feel that putting him on basically horse ice skates could end poorly. Which leaves me looking for suggestions.

right now I have worked on.
- being chill while saddled - saddling up, let them sit there and then unsaddling right away. - problem is that this often leads to the "oh I will just sit in the saddle for a few minutes" which leads to bigger things like walking around.
- stretches

now I am thinking of stupid tricks I could teach:
- bow
- backing up on voice and hand signal

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-05-2013, 05:15 PM
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I live in very similiar snow conditions. It sucks but sone of the things Im doing are: I like to practice halter show patterns (I dont even show but its good lead line practice) and am working on perfecting lead line cues, such as stopping when I do and not a step more, backing up when I back without having to tap on her chest or wiggle the lead (basically refining any and all cues to be as subtle as possible). Picking up feet for me on a verbal cue, also working on collection at the trot (More lead line practice). Standing still and being patient. Stretches, ground tying, trail walks (good exercise lol), desensitizing to any and all objects, lateral flexation (keep from getting stiff over our hiatus), backing through and around objects, and Im always mixing things up to keep us both from getting bored. Targeting is another thing we are learning too. Im sure there is more but thats all I can think of right now.
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post #3 of 3 Old 01-05-2013, 05:35 PM
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I'm not sure what stage of training your horse is at, but I take my green mare for walks around the neighborhood and on trails, so she gets used to seeing snowmoblies, dog mushers, vehicles, people, dogs, moose, etc. It's also nice to just get out for a walk when the footing to too bad to ride.

I longe her in different places along the way (an empty field, a clearing in the woods, my friend's yards, etc.) to get her used to working in lots of different settings. I only do this if the footing is decent, however, I don't require it to be perfect, since she needs to be sure-footed for her job.

I've also been looking into trick training (nothing too fancy) and I'm making sure that my horse will be as solid as possible with groundwork by the time spring rolls around, so I'm focusing a lot on that.

Maybe you could do things that physically involve your horse but don't require him to move around, like getting a solid bareback mount, etc. Or maybe make an obstacle course to lead him through?
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