Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of Downtime

Many farms have been closed to only essential staff, forcing many horses to take time off from their regular work, training, and competition schedule. This has left many riders and horse owners wondering not only what to do during this time, but how to move forward as restrictions are slowly lifted and we adjust to the new norm.

As equestrians, we are naturally used to adjusting to the unexpected. How many times have we gone out to load the horse on the trailer the morning of a show and they are now missing a shoe. You make plans for a big event or show at the end of the year and suddenly your horse has an injury from playing too rough with his pasture-mates and needs six months off. We adapt, adjust, and make the best of any situation that heads our way, it is just what we do.

So, why not make the best of the current situation the entire horse-community is facing, together!

Here are our top ten ways to take advantage of this downtime with your horse:

Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of this Downtime - Go through your Tack

1. Go through your tack, equipment, and blankets laying around.

Are your winter blankets still dirty, piling up, and you are losing track of how many blankets you have that are truly useful? Start washing them or coordinate to have them professionally washed and repaired locally. With the winter season over, it is a great time to replace old blankets for next year as many are on sale, from sheets, coolers, stable blankets and turnout blankets. You can likely donate your old blankets to local horse rescues for a great cause.

Go through your tack room, trailer, and tack trunks and make a pile of things you no longer use or need. Clean them up, take photos, and list them for sale on local sites and virtual tack swaps (bonus, you won’t feel guilty when you go on a shopping spree for new tack and equipment with the extra cash!). Schneider’s has so many new products from apparel, tack and equipment, surely you will find something to enjoy more than that pile of old tack sitting in the corner of your tack room! Have you checked out the latest spring arrivals yet?

Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of this Downtime - Make 30 Day Goal

2. Make a thirty-day goal to improve one aspect of your riding.

We all have something we wish we could improve on with our riding, or with the performance of our horses. Give yourself a 30-day goal to improve one aspect of your riding. Have a friend record you from their phone to track your progress.

You can even share it online and social media to inspire your fellow equestrian friends for encouragement along the way. Schneider’s has the latest trends in riding apparel from riding shirts, breeches, riding tights, western jeans, and western shirts and hats to make sure you look the part. You never know, you could become Instagram-famous! Be sure to tag us, we would love to cheer you on!

Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of this Downtime - Find a Fun Exercise

3. Find a fun exercise online such as gymnastics or pole work.

This is a great time to find useful tools on the internet to keep your ring work exciting. From grid work and gymnastics for jumping, cavaletti and pole work, to trail and ranch riding patterns to practice. Not only is this something you can enjoy, but others are the barn as well as lesson students will love the challenge!

Schneider’s has everything from Jump Blocks, Easy-Up® Adjustable Training Cavaletti, Burlingham Sports Li’l Stacker pairs, Rail Razer’s, training cones and dressage training letters. Get creative and share your photos and videos with us!

Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of this Downtime - Do something just for fun

4. Do something just for fun, like a trail ride or set up obstacles.

Being stuck in the arena can get boring quick, especially with horse shows, rodeos, events, and clinics on hold these days. This is a great opportunity to have some fun without feeling guilty! Go on a trail ride, ride in a pasture or field, find things around the farm and set up an obstacle course. The Jolly Mega Ball is a great way to have fun in and out of the arena with your horse, and your friends, from a safe distance. Anyone up for a game of horse-soccer!

Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of this Downtime - Break in a New Pair of Boots or a New Saddle

5. Break in a new pair of boots or the new saddle you’ve been wanting.

With horse shows and events on hold, this is a great time to finally break in a brand new pair of riding boots, tall boots, dress boots, or cowboy boots. If you have been wanting a new saddle, why not find that perfect saddle right now while you have the time. Schneider’s has English saddles, Western saddles, youth saddles, and Dressage saddles, for the casual rider to the serious show rider. With free shipping, easy returns, and financing available, this is a great time to go for it!

Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of this Downtime - Spring Cleaning around the Barn

6. Spring cleaning around the barn.

This is a great time to make your spring-cleaning list and get to work. Not only does it give you an excuse to be outside and spend time with your horse, but cleaning and completing tasks on a list can help with that anxious feeling many of us are dealing with during COVID-19.

Clean your fans and check the wiring, inspect pastures and fencing, do a deep cleaning in the tack room and feed rooms. When is the last time you checked your medicine cabinet and vet supplies at the barn? Go through anything that may need replaced and coordinate with your veterinarian for necessary medications that may require a vet-visit or telemedicine call with them. If you need medical supplies from vet wrap, first aid supplies and materials, standing wraps and bandages, topical wound care, and more, Schneider’s has you covered from nose to tail!

Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of this Downtime - Learn Something new from an Online Resource

7. Learn something new from online resources and videos available.

Many organizations such as the AQHA, US Equestrian, and more are offering various online learning opportunities and excellent videos from top experts and professionals in the industry. Instead of watching Netflix, why not learn from the best at no cost!

Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of this Downtime - Thank your trainer with a DIY Project

8. Thank your trainer with a DIY project they will appreciate.

Coordinate with your fellow barn friends and work on a project that your trainer or barn owner can appreciate. Maybe you want to build some DIY jumps or re-paint existing poles and jumps at the farm. Plant flowers or make a new mulch bed by the barn entrance. Has your trainer been commenting on cobwebs? Grab a broom and surprise them with a spider-free barn when they walk in!

Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of this Downtime - Learn About Supplements

9. Learn about supplements and equine nutrition.

Is your horse getting all the nutrients needed to look, feel, and perform their best? This is a great time to learn about equine nutrition and look at your horse’s diet and see if there are any gaps that an Equine supplement could fill. Do they tend to be spooky and distracted? Maybe they would benefit from a calming supplement. Losing shoes? A hoof supplement may be just what you need. Hard keepers or cranky when you tack them up or groom? An ulcer and digestive aid supplement could help them feel better. Maybe you want to make sure they can perform their best for years to come and add in a joint supplement. Schneider’s has something for every horse from the brands you can trust!

Ways for Equestrians to Take Advantage of this Downtime - Spend some quality time with your horse

10. Spend quality time with your horse, but don’t forget the treats!

Take this time to appreciate your horse for who they are. Without the pressure of competition or training, enjoy their presence. Spend extra time grooming them, take them out for a long walk without asking them to work hard, or give them a change of scenery with hand grazing around the farm. Schneider’s has a variety of treats that will surely make sure you are their favorite person, better yet add an edible stall snack or horse toy to their stall, too!

If the flies and bugs are out, make sure you are prepared with fly spray and other fly gear. If you are riding around the property or on the trail, we have Cashel Quiet Ride Fly Mask, or Dura-Tech® Quiet & Cool Ear Bonnet to keep the bugs from irritating them during work. Our assortment of fly sheets are great not just during turnout, but for those hand-walks and days relaxing in the sun for some hand-grazing, too!

We are all eager to return to normal, from horse shows, clinics, events, and rodeos. Make the best of the time we have until then by spending more time with your horse, enjoying your time at the barn working on things you may have been putting off, and appreciate the opportunity to try new things during this time.