10 things you should do with your horse before it is too late!
Owning a horse is such a pleasure and a privilige but it is easy to get stuck in the same old rut or run out of ideas for something different to try. Life has an unfortunate habit of getting in the way and sometimes the fun things need to be postponed, permanently, in favour of the essentials. Here are 10 things that I believe everyone should do at least once with their horse. How many can you cross off? If it isn't all 10 get planning and don't let life get in the way.
2. Hire out a training gallops and have a nice, long gallop on your horse. Make sure your horse is fit enough to withstand fast work and that you are both wearing the appropriate equipment such as hat (for you) boots (for your horse and you) and correctly-fitting tack (for your horse).
3. Go swimming in the sea. Always ensure the place you are taking your horse for a swim is safe, with minimal current. You might want to take your saddle off first as well. Ride bareback as saddles and a thorough soaking don't mix! It is also best if possible to get hold of a weebbing bridle or at least use your cheapest one, not your favourite show bridle!
4. Try something different. If you are show jumping through and through, give dressage a whirl. If you like to stick to hacking, try horse agility or gymkhana games. You might be surprised by how much you both enjoy doing something a little out of your comfort zone.
5. Ride bareback. This can be really fun (or quite uncomfortable if you have a skinny horse.) If you are not used to it if possible ride in an arena just in case you do slide off.
6. Go hunting. You can go to the Master of the Foxhound Association Website to find out more about your local hunt: http://www.mfha.org.uk/ The next step then is to contact the secretary and find out when would be suitable for you to go, how much it costs and what you should wear. If possible go with a friend who has been hunting before and can help you with the ins and outs of hunting etiquette which can be a bit complicated. If not there are plenty of websites that give you the information you need. Try this one for starters http://www.osbwk.co.uk/hunting%20etiquette.htm and for any questions you still have go directly to the hunt secretary who will know the specific rules for that hunt.
7. Pack a picnic (for you both) and go for a really long ride. Take a map and a head collar and see what new bridleways you can discover. Contact your local bridleways association for suggestions of routes to try.
8. Go to a show. Even if you are not the competitive type and don't think you would really fancy it, give it a try. Aim for a class you think would be nice and easy for you, whether that is a small jumping class or in-hand showing class. You might get the bug!
10. Go to camp. You may think your Pony Club days are over but there are plenty of camps for adult riders offering training with good instructors plus social activities . Valley Farm Equestrian Centre in Suffolk runs regular camps check out its website. http://www.valleyfarmonline.co.uk/index.php?categoryid=69.