Here are 10 tips to spice up your schooling, if you need some inspiration to avoid the couch and get into the saddle in these darker evenings! – suggestions from equisearch.com.
However, I omitted # 6,7 – I thought they were boring! Keep in mind that every time you ride, you are “training” your horse – positively or negatively. So think in terms of quality riding, not just activity.
1. Pick a small goal and achieve it. How about stopping with your shoulders aligned with a certain fence post? Easy to do at the walk, but how about at the trot and canter?
2. Do something better, not faster. See if you can ask your horse to go from the walk to trot smoothly, without him raising his head. Now how about a beautiful stop, not just a crash landing by the post?
3. Improve your horse’s tolerance for “stuff” around him. Tie a towel to the end of a longe line and see if you can drag it from horseback. See if you can pick up a foam “noodle” from someone and carry it around. Try picking up a bottle of water from a fence post or barrel.
4. If you’re a get-on-and-go type of rider, work on teaching your horse to stand still for mounting, and to stay still until you give him the signal to walk. Maybe just standing still whether it’s for mounting or not is a big enough goal.
5. Cones, cones, and more cones. There are a zillion patterns you can set up, trying to see how smoothly or accurately you can ride. Ride around obstacles or barrels.
8. Ride with a loose rein. Put your horse into a perfect head position and speed, and then see if he can maintain his performance for a few strides without your reins.
10. Ride with a friend single file, keeping exactly the same two-horse length between the horses. Ride side by side. Try to stay stirrup-to -stirrup.. Work up to a goal like riding around with each of you holding one end of a polo wrap.