If you keep your horse at home and don’t have an indoor or covered arena on your property, it’s getting to be that time of year again when saddle time goes drastically down. As you are probably well aware, this is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
7 Creative Ideas to Keep Riding All Winter Long
1. Call or visit local boarding facilities to see if they allow haul-ins
Many boarding facilities will allow use of their indoor arena to haul in riders for a fee. Sometimes this is a per use fee (typically $10 to $25) or a monthly rate. Call around or visit local boarding barns and equestrian centers to find one that’s a good fit.
2. See if your local fairgrounds will do an open ride night
The winter is usually a slow time at the local fairgrounds. Especially weekday nights when the indoor spaces aren’t being leased out for events. Some will offer an open ride night in their large competition arenas once a week with low admission costs. If yours doesn’t have an open ride night, volunteer to coordinate one!
3. Take lessons with a trainer that operates at a facility with an indoor arena
Many boarding facilities that don’t offer a pay-per-use haul in to the general public, will allow riders to haul in for lessons with their trainer. This is a great way to focus on some training goals and make some progress for next show season.
4. Join a drill team
Equine drill teams and quadrilles are becoming more popular. Riders of all disciplines can join a team and they will often host weekly winter practices, usually at a covered arena reserved by the team captain.
5. Sign up for clinics
Riders who show during the summer typically reserve winter for clinicing to advance their skills. These clinics are hosted at various farms and offer a great chance to ride with a top trainer at a nice facility. They can be on the pricier side, but you can extend the value by having your ride filmed to watch later.
6. Use weather alerts on your phone
There can be beautiful outdoor riding in the fall and winter if only you can catch that rare hour of sunshine between the showers. Try using a weather app on your phone or configuring alerts so that you can plan your indoor tasks around a quick ride. Look for one that offers frequent updates and hourly forecasts. The Dark Sky weather app ($3.99) is specifically focused on when it will rain next. The Minutely weather app (free) offers crowd sourced updates and a 2 hour rain forecast.
7. Go into work early, leave early
In many areas, it gets dark as early as 4pm in the winter. This can make it very hard to catch the last light for a quick ride outside. Find out if your job offers any flexibility on in and out times. If so, you may be able to wake up early a few days a week and put in your 8 hours before 3pm. You will have time to ride before dark and will miss rush hour both ways!
Good luck and have a great ride!
Liked any of these ideas? Share this infographic on Facebook or Pin it on Pinterest! Have any other ideas to share? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.