We all know that to do anything well takes practice and repetition, but sometimes repetition can make your riding routine feel a bit boring. Chances are you’re not the only one feeling this way, your horse may also be getting bored with the routine as well. It doesn’t mean you have to do something wildly different from what you’ve been doing, you just need to get creative and mix things up a little.
One thing I have learned from watching many dog training videos is it’s important to provide mental stimulation in addition to letting them get plenty of exercise. Especially the working dog breeds, horses are no different. Much like if I go to the gym and do the same 4 exercises every time, it won’t be long before I get bored with that routine. But, if I switch it up a few times a week then my chances of getting bored with my routine, and ultimately dreading going to the gym, decrease. Adding something fun and new to your riding routine will make the exercises you need to do feel less like a chore, and help you and your horse look forward to your time together. Below are a few ideas to get you thinking.
A fun way to add a little challenge to your everyday riding routine is by creating obstacles. You don’t have to look far to find supplies to create obstacles, regular items that you have around the barn like feed buckets, or hay pallets can be turned into obstacles. Whatever you can find that is safe for you, and your horse is fair game. My personal favorite obstacles are training cones and PVC pipes. Training cones can be used to help with riding serpentines, clovers, straight lines, circles, and halts… Come to think of it I can see a benefit to using cones at the base of almost any riding exercise. PVC pipes can be used for your horse to step over, or to create aisle ways for your horse to walk through.
The great thing about obstacles is that you have multiple ways to take your horse through, over, or around them to bring a different perspective to your riding routine. Those being of course under saddle, on a lead-line, or at liberty. Working with an obstacle course will add something new to your routine, along with boosting your horse’s confidence and strengthening the bond between you and your horse, all while giving both you and your horse some exercise.
Change Of Scenery
Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to break out of the riding routine boredom. I know of several riders who will finish off their arena work by taking a short trail ride, or you can trailer your horse to a friend’s property and practice with them as well. Taking your horse to new places also helps to desensitize them to new sights and sounds, which is a huge plus if you plan on showing your horse anywhere.
Learn Something New
There are so many things we can do with our horses beyond the specific set of exercises in one discipline, or another. I am a huge advocate for groundwork, and liberty training, because it teaches your horse something new, and strengthens the bond between you and your horse. I am also a firm believer that the stronger the bond you have with your horse on the ground, the better the ride will be when you get into the saddle. Plus teaching your horse new things from the ground, as opposed to under saddle, can help your horse learn new maneuvers faster when you attempt them under saddle.
Another way to learn something new with your horse would be to try an entirely different discipline. Like I said before you don’t have to do anything wildly different unless you want to – in which case go for it! But there are many disciplines that complement each other; you may even find something that is an even better fit for you, and your horse in the long run.
I hope these have given you some ideas of how you can add something new to your riding routine. Leave us a comment about how you mix up your riding routine when you are feeling bored with it.
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