My mare is bored of the same old routine we do. Either I take her for a trail ride, or we walk down the road to the pasture and let her run. The stable she's at is kinda not doing so great. The indoor arena has seen better days. There's mud patches, it's hilly, and VERY dry and dusty. Outside is not much better, many holes and such. I've seen the Hill Therapy thread, and thought that's a great idea. I was wondering if anyone else had some ideas or things that like to do with their horses?
I always tell people when they want to shake it up make up obstacle courses. It makes the horse think, it's fun for both the horse and person. You can either walk them through or ride them.
You can also set up some barrels in odd patterns and work around those. Like backing figure 8's or side passing a square (side pass down a line of cones then do a haunch/forehand turn and go down the other side.
Tons of ways to shake things up!
Do you have a trailer or know someone who does? Is there a riding club in your town? Joining a trail riding club is great for mixing it up and riding on trails that you might not be able to otherwise.
We have a trail riding club and a rodeo club in our area. If you find one and become active, you can always hitch a ride in someone else's trailer.
Get a toy! XD I just got a Jolly Ball for my horses and will hopefully be able to test it tomorrow. I love romping (safely!) about with my guys, it's just fun. Loki adores peppermints, it's just flat out fun to show him one, then make him give chase around the shade tree in the paddock :D
If she's kept in the stable during the day they also sell things like treat dispensers (or you could make one yourself) and licking devices for bored horses.
There are lots of things that can be done to entertain a horse during a ride and also make it more amusing for the rider. You can walk over poles, create patterns to ride, try counting steps forward and do the same amount backward, just switch things up a bit.
Obstacle course is a great idea. You could do some barrels, poles, keyhole races.... start a little dressage - it's really fun, and incredibly useful on trail too. Maybe a little jumping? Or, you could teach your horse a few tricks. As long as they're learning something new, the horses don't care what it is, generally.
While I think all horses (even high level competitors) can benefit from trail rides, I think the same can be true for a bit more challenging arena work. If the arena is not suitable, you can move these exercises into the paddock or pasture, provided the footing is safe.
Many horses thrive on the challenge of learning side pass, turns on the forehand or haunches, leg yields, shoulder/haunches in, etc.....
If you have poles available, try setting up some trot poles. You can set them at slightly uneven distances so your horse really has to focus on her foot placement. If she jumps, try grids with varied distances (i.e. bounce to a 1 stride to a bounce, etc.) You can also vary canter poles and work on your horses adjustability at the canter.
One of my favorite exercises is to set up a line with 5 strides in between: see how many strides you can fit in there.... the record at our barn is 11; that is a seriously collected canter!! :)
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