No Saddle Required!
There was a time in my life when I rode nearly every day. Whether it was training a green horse, exercising a seasoned one, or competing at a show or barrel race, the only fun I knew how to have with horses was when I was on a horse.
But I’m older now and my life has veered off in unexpected directions. It’s not that I don’t have the time to ride—I could make it if I really wanted to—it’s more that I don’t have the desire. The wonderful thing is, I’ve learned you don’t necessarily have to ride in order to enjoy your horses. Here are five fun things you can do without getting in the saddle:
Thorough grooming sessions.
Okay, maybe this is more fun for the horse, but it’s actually rather relaxing for the person, too. Grooming can help to strengthen your bond, not to mention, it gives you an opportunity to check your horse over from head to toe.
Go for a walk.
Yes, exactly like you would do with your dog. You may get some strange looks if you live in town, but who cares! The good thing about walking is that it’s good exercise for both of you. It’s also a great way for your horse to practice ground manners.
If you have a creek or pond nearby, leading your horse to water and letting him play can be fun for both of you. If you don’t have access to either of these, a sprinkler or hose can work just fine, too.
It’s easy to make a short obstacle course with items such as hula hoops, logs, PVC pipe, cones, tarps, etc. and then practice leading your horse through it. This is an excellent ground-training tool and can also help to desensitize young or spooky horses.
Teach Your Horse a Trick.
With treats and a little time and effort, you can teach your horse just about anything. Examples include, standing (or partially standing) on a pedestal, picking up a hoof on command, giving hugs or kisses, or even picking up items such as hats or scarves.
These are just a few ideas, of course. If you have other ideas for non-riding fun, feel free to share in the comments below!
Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at www.casiebazay.com.