Equestrians: How To Stay Sane During COVID-19
COVID-19 has had an impact far greater than any of us could imagine, and on all aspects of our lives. From having to adjust our working habits, to adapting to home-schooling our kids, to the impact it has on our personal interests and passions. Some of us may not have the flexibilities we once had, or the accessibility to be able to ride as freely as we had before things shut down. Don’t let this discourage you – we’re all in this together! The riding community is strong and many have adapted to support each other in this difficult time. For those feeling lost and unsure of what your options are, we’ve put together a few recommendations for how to keep some level of normalcy during this time.
Staying Active and Healthy
We take for granted the muscles we use when we ride, and when we don’t use them as frequently, it can impact our ability to recover and perform. Keeping active will not only keep your mind calm and stress levels down, it will also help you to maintain your strength for when you’re ready to get back on your horse. If you’re not sure of what exercises and strength training activities are right for you, there are a number of resources available that can help. YouTube has many free videos you can view, for example Paula from Greenhawk. We’re happy to help provide recommendations as well, feel free to reach out to the Success Equestrian team!
While most of us equestrians prefer face to face training, virtual trainings are a great alternative when social distancing requirements prevent in-person meetings. There are many professional trainers offering their services via video chat and riders are gaining valuable feedback. If you have the time and a helper, you might consider videoing sections of your ride and sending them to your trainer for feedback. There are lots of options available. For those with a smart phone, you can video straight from your phone. In other cases, video platforms like Google Hangouts and Zoom are great alternatives. Use bluetooth headphones while you ride to be able to hear your instructors feedback for any live-streaming trainings. Technology is there to help you make the most of your virtual training sessions.
We all have those things we put off just because we either don’t want to do them or they require more time and effort than we normally have. Now is the perfect time to dust these off and tackle the things you’ve been putting off most. For example, take the time to address any holes in your training or things you’ve been meaning to work on with your horse. Perhaps your horse detests poles on the ground, or you have a really spooky horse you want to desensitize a bit more. Maybe you cannot sit the trot very well, or you are struggling to see your distance to a fence. Use this time to really practice and hone in on those areas that need improvement. Again, sometimes having the time is all you need to be able to tackle any bad, lingering habits you and your horse may have.
Enjoy Time With Your Horse!
For those of you who own horses, many of you do enjoy your horses and love your horses dearly. There are also many competitive riders who live to go to events and shows and would never dream of taking their horses swimming in a lake, or river, or riding bareback, or going on a group trail ride every weekend. Maybe you do all these extracurricular activities with your horse, or maybe you’ve always wanted to do these things. Well, now’s a perfect time! Even if you don’t currently own your horse, spending time with the horses you usually ride and helping out at the barn can go a long way to building rapport with the owners and the horses.
No matter what your circumstances, there are always options for you to make the most of your situation.
Riders, please chime in with any additional insights or guidance you may have! Regardless of the discipline you ride, we want to know what you’ve been doing with horses, if anything, during this time. Videos and photos are greatly appreciated. We hope everyone stays healthy and well!