Whether you’re a fan of Valentine’s Day or prefer Galentine’s Day, we think it’s a fitting moment to celebrate your love of horses ‒ and your own horse in particular. We’ve created a fun list of things you can do to show your horse or pony or mule or donkey some extra love this Valentine’s Day.

1. Give a Massage. Massage therapy works just as well on horses as it does on people. It can increase range of motion, improve circulation, aid muscle tone, increase flexibility and ease stress. You can hire a trained and licensed massage therapist for your horse, and you can also learn some tricks to try on your own. YouTube has several DIY videos guided by the pros including all-over massage, myofascial release  and stretches.  Your horse will love you for it.

2. Acupuncture. If your horse has specific pressure or pain points, such as under the saddle or the SI (sacroiliac) joint, an acupuncture treatment can bring relief and relaxation. Like with human acupuncture, this involves the insertion of fine needles into the skin at particular points on the body. This is a veterinary treatment, so ask your vet if they do acupuncture or know someone they can recommend. Here’s a video of one vet performing the procedure:



3. Spa Day. Valentine’s Day is certainly a classic holiday to receive a spa gift card from a loved one. But why not spoil your horse the same way? It’s a simple and inexpensive way to express your adoration for your equine partner. Try an extra-long grooming session. This time of year, horses may be shedding and therefore itchy, so bring out the shedding blade or gloves and give them a good scratch! If you’re in a warmer climate, perhaps a bath is due. Polish hooves, trim or braid manes and tails. Whatever your horse loves, do it longer.

4. Homemade treats. Few things say I love you more than food. And if the way to man’s heart is his stomach, ditto for a horse of any gender. The Internet is full of horsey treat recipes, but we especially love the Farm House Tack blog with its multiple treats to try such as Mighty Sweet Oat Treats and EmpowerMINT Snacks.

5. Go for a Hack. This time of year, many horses (and riders) are arena sour. If the weather allows, take it outside! Dress warmly, and even if all you’re doing is walking, the fresh air and change of scenery will brighten your horse’s mood. And yours. If you can hack with a friend or two, it’s even better for safety and social reasons.

6. Create Content. Let your imagination run wild and create some fun Valentine’s Day horsey social media content for you and your horse to share. We loved this reel from @thepinkhorse.eq and this photo shoot from Young Rider Magazine.

7. Improve your riding. Riders are always learning in our humbling sport, and one of the kindest things you can do for your horse is improve your skills by taking regular lessons. If there is no instructor available, watch training videos with the pros or attend a clinic as a rider or auditor. There’s always something we can do better that will help our horse do its very best for us under saddle.

8. Clean up. Regularly cleaning tack is beneficial for the leather to ensure it lasts longer and is always safe to use, but it also helps create more comfort for your horse. Would you want a dirty bit in your mouth? Or a crusty bra strap or waistband? Thought not. If you’re not already in the habit, rinse your bit after each ride at the bare minimum. Then set aside weekly deep-cleaning time for the bridle and saddle.

9. Get Fitted. Speaking of tack, February is a great time to have your saddle fitted by a professional. As we ride and our horses train, build muscle, and age, their top line and other musculature can change, which means that your saddle could be pinching in places it didn’t six months or a year before. You should have a fitter check your saddle every six months, or at least once per year.

10. Spend More Time at the Barn. This last point is a no-brainer. As horse owners, being at the stable with our horse is our happy place. But life sometimes gets in the way, and we get busy with work, kids, school, you name it. Take stock of your schedule and find time to not just rush and ride, but to savour the moment with your horse. The turn in from the paddock, the grooming, the warmup, ride, and cool down. Every moment we have with our horse is precious.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Horse-Canada!