When the temperature climbs over 90° and the humidity is high, sometimes it’s best not to ride your horse. And while not being able to ride is disappointing, the day doesn’t have to be a total loss. There are many ways to continue moving forward with your horse even when you can’t be in the saddle. Here are a few great ways to put a non-riding day to use.
Groundwork is the true foundation of how your horse responds under saddle. Working with your horse on the ground helps to establish your position in the relationship and can strengthen your bond with and understanding of your horse. Even if you’ve done groundwork before, chances are your horse could always use a brush-up and there are likely new groundwork exercises you could do. Consider buying a book of groundwork exercises and techniques to use on days when it’s too hot to ride.
Less strenuous than your average ride, ground driving can provide an alternative form of exercise and training when it’s too hot to really work your horse. Ground driving can help strengthen and develop your horse’s understanding of and sensitivity to your cues. If you have never ground driven your horse before, then be sure to enlist the help of an experienced horse person to teach both you and your horse how to ground drive safely.
Treating your horse to a massage has great health benefits for him, and it can also strengthen your bond with your horse. If you have never done equine massage before, it’s best to hire an equine massage therapist for the first session and to show you some basic techniques that you can do on your own. Massaging your horse promotes circulation, improves muscle tone, relieves muscle tension, and can improve your horse’s athletic performance and comfort. By massaging your horse regularly, you will also learn what is normal for his body and what isn’t. This knowledge can be very beneficial since it means you can more readily identify areas of muscle tension or injury in your horse in the future.
Don’t forget the benefits of a good grooming session. Grooming is important for the health of your horse’s coat, and a good currying is similar to massage in that it promotes circulation and helps improve and maintain muscle tone. Remember that the more time you spend grooming your horse now, the healthier his coat will be and the more he will shine in the show ring.
When the heat is oppressive, your horse will appreciate the day off from riding. Put some of these techniques to use so that you can continue progressing with your horse.
Image Source: flickr.com/photos/johanwieland/4827617611