This year, ‘Blue Monday’ falls on January 16, less than one week away. We’re here to help you navigate the saddest day of the year, as well as the dark days of winter when we are forced to spend a lot of our time in the saddle within the confines of an indoor arena.
Here are some indoor activities you and your horse can do to make the most of these winter months.
1. Try a new activity with your horse in the indoor arena. Set up trotting poles, try long-reining, at-liberty training, practice ground manners, anything that will be a challenge, or a change will create a more positive attitude for you and your mount. Working equitation, anyone?
2. Ride with a buddy. No reason you can’t still be social even if it’s too cold or too icy to hack or trail ride. Set up a time to ride with your favorite barn buddy and “hack” inside. Not exactly a riveting ride, but you’ll have plenty of time for catching up and gossip, and your horses’ muscles will get a nice long warm-up and stretch from all that walking. And in colder temps, horses (and humans) do require a longer warm-up before schooling.
3. Give your horse a spa day. January is a great time of year to trim manes and tails, oil hooves, or have a hot-towel ‘bath’, as well as give your horse an extended grooming session.
4. Set up an Instagram-worthy photo shoot for you and your friends and their horses. This is social and fun, and who doesn’t like to play dress-up?
5. Practice braiding your horses’ mane and/or tail for the upcoming show season.
6. Learn some equine massage techniques. Your horse will love you for it!
7. Do carrot stretches in the stall, grooming bay, or aisle.
8. Teach your horse a trick such as counting by pawing on command or bowing.
9. Invite your non-horsey BFF to the barn to get acquainted with your horse.
10. Clean your tack and organize your locker or trunk.