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12 Things To Do When You Can't Ride

It's always a bummer when an unexpected injury to you or your horse makes riding impossible. Not to mention, those of us without access to indoor arenas probably find poor weather a pretty big setback. Whatever your reason, sometimes not being able to ride comes as a blessing in disguise. Being free from the pressure of working your horse under saddle allows you to focus on your relationship with your horse.

  • Work on Groundwork

Working on groundwork not only allows you to bond with your horse, but it also allows the horse to use both his mind and body while not under saddle.

  • Choreograph some new patterns/exercises

This is a great way for you, as a rider, to take time to consider your horse's individual needs and either organize a list of exercises appropriate for his fitness level, or create your own.

  • Try taking your horse’s vitals more frequently to get a feel for his normal.

Assuming your horse is in good health, try taking your horse's vitals several times to get a feel for his normal stats. This information can come in handy later on.

  • Teach him some new tricks. Teach him how to smile, or stand nicely on the ground, or teach him how to open gates (with your discretion)

Keep your horse happy and healthy: mentally!

  • In- hand work

Again, assuming your horse is healthy and capable of at least groundwork, in-hand work is a fantastic way to improve your connection with your horse. Both body language, reaction time, muscle, concentration are all benefits from properly conducted in-hand work.

  • Take him on a walk around your property, let him do some exploring. Additionally, you could…

Let your horse exercise both his legs and mind while you (hopefully) take a relaxing walk around the property. If possible, you could let him graze, or even use some of the surroundings to desensitize your horse.

  • Work on your fitness

In the case that your horse can't be ridden, take this newfound freedom to work on your fitness for riding. You'll come back a stronger, more precise rider for your horse.

  • Go to some clinics

Similarly, use your time to audit some clinics. This is another great way to come back with more knowledge and experience. On the plus side, auditing a clinic is usually much cheaper than attending one as a rider. If you want another way to improve your knowledge, see below!

  • Hit the books

Okay, I mean, what's been one of the best ways to communicate useful information since writing was invented? Yup. Books, y'all...books. Hit 'em up.

  • Make something for your horsey friend!

Try a fun DIY that will come in handy. Usually, you can make some things pretty cheap, so if you are tight on funds (let's be honest, if you own a horse that can't be ridden for medical reasons, this is probably the case!) this might be a great option for you!

  • Spruce up your stall/barn

Take your horse's time off and use it to spruce up the rest of your barn! Clean out the hay loft, powerwash the aisles, or do whatever has been on your to-do list for awhile.

  • Take this time to clean your tack and take inventory

Honestly, there's not much to say for this one.

If you are looking for MORE ideas, check out:

If you find yourself in a funk, or you can't ride, try some of these activities. You might be surprised by how many things you can do without working your horse under saddle! Have fun!