Posts Tagged ‘Winter’

Don’t Get Bored In Your Indoor Arena!

January 4, 2016

winter-1090649_960_720Winter is not my favorite season when it comes to riding my horse. If you’re like me, you get easily bored in your indoor arena. When asking an equestrian what their favorite season is, you’ll most likely hear Summer, or Spring, or Fall. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an equestrian say “I just love riding in the winter!” Shows and races start back up in the spring and continue into summer and fall. Sure the winter is beautiful to trail ride through woods that have a light snowfall, but once the snow hits a certain depth, we all are pushed into indoor arenas to ride. Indoor arenas can make both you and your horse feel confined. Riding a few times clockwise around the arena at a walk, trot, canter; then a few laps counterclockwise with the same routine. Not only are you bored at this point, but so is your horse. I pulled together a few different options for keeping both you and your horse from becoming bored in your indoor arena.

Start off by changing up how you ride around in the arena. Instead of doing the usual, riding on the rail around in a circle, try some different patterns. Work on riding in a big figure 8 in your arena. Place a cone directly in the center so that you have a visual of where your 8 should cross over. Be sure to pay attention to how you are bending him around the circle, and try to keep the circles as equal as you can. Another idea is to ride in a diamond shape. At each corner, create a swift turn to travel up the other side of the diamond. Be careful not to rush your horse. Start with a walk first, and then trot the diamond. One more variance to try is to be about ten
feet off of the rail towards the center of your indoor and ride in the same motion as you would if you were on the rail, a rounded rectangle. At the long sides, allow your horse to extend, but then collect him as you come into the corners and keep him collected or slower on the shorter ends of the rectangle. This will help you increase and decrease speed smoothly.

If you feel very motivated you can use various obstacles in your arena. Some obvious examples are setting up smaller jumps, or poles on the ground for you to work your horse over. But if you have long winters like we do in upstate NY, you have time to get creative. One example I read about is to set up various barrels around your arena and place a cone on a few of them. Work on walking to the barrel, stopping, picking up the cone and then walk to a second barrel and place the cone down. As you progress in this challenge, don’t stop at the barrel to grab the cone, make your horse move right past it while you grab the cone. A few other options are placing tarps on the ground and working with your horse to calmly walk over the tarp, even though it may make scary crinkling noises. I have also seen others use hanging noodles that you walk your horse through through. Walking through these various obstacles will build your horse’s confidence and trust in their riders. It is hoped that the horse will react calmly if they were to encounter something like these obstacles in real life situations.

Riding in an indoor arena can also be a hassle because of trying to deal with dust. Focus more on training your horse through various obstacles or different patterns than worrying about dust by switching to one of our dust-free footings. You will never have to water your arena again!

How do you stop from getting bored in the winter?

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Winterize Your Horse Barn

December 1, 2015

Here in Upstate NY, our winters are brutal. Being located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, we can get buried pretty quickly by lake effect snow. In the winter of 2015, we had 125.3” of total snowfall! As we start to batten down the hatches, or close the stall windows of our barn to keep the nasty cold out, you also should start thinking about how we are going to winterize your  horse barn. Here are a few tips!

  • Stock up on supplies you may need in the winter, such as hay or bedding. Some barns I know cut and bale their own hay, but if you purchase hay from someone else, stock up on it at the end of summer when prices will be the lowest. If you wait until the first of the year when you are running out of hay, prices can almost double. Be sure your hay is stored in a well ventilated area.
  • Take the extra time you’ll be spending in the barn to do a good dusting. Cobwebs in a barn can be a fire hazard and are not sightly. Use a broom covered with a cloth and go through your barn with a good cleaning. The cobwebs and dust that has collected over the summer aren’t good for your horses’ health or yours!
  • Walk around your barn and see where there may need to be repairs. Waiting until there are sub-zero temperatures to fix a gate is definitely not an ideal situation. Complete all of the repairs that you may see. Also be sure to know where everything is located around the outside of your barn. If you live in a climate like we do, snow can accumulate very fast and you may lose sight or forget where something was placed outside of your barn. Draw a map of your facility if you have to, so that you know where everything is located outside once the snow covers it up. Be sure that gates are all still accessible in the snow.
  • Although our first instinct is to close everything in the barn up for the winter to keep heat in, you still need to keep your barn well ventilated. During the winter, your horses are probably going to be spending 50 percent or more of their time in their stall. Mucking your stall daily, and keeping good ventilation throughout your barn will keep your horses breathing healthy air and keeping them happy.
  • Make sure you have enough space for your winter manure. A 1,000 pound horse can generate 50 pounds of manure each day. Even a barn with a few horses can quickly create a mountain of manure. Before winter comes, create an adequate place to store the manure for a few months, or construct a plan on how to remove the manure even with snow on the ground and how you’re going to dispose of it.
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Winterize your Horse Barn

The biggest issues that you may face in the barn in the cold winter months are spending additional time mucking out manure from the horses being inside more, and trying to keep the dust in your indoor arena down, without freezing your footing.  Both of these potential problems can be solved by installing our SuperStall Mattress System and our Dust-Free Arena Footing. Our one piece, wall-to-wall mattress system will eliminate deep bedding and cut down on time it takes to muck out your stalls. By installing our dust free footings in your indoor arena, you no longer have to worry about watering your footing in the winter and then the footing freezing from the moisture. Winters can be hard in a horse barn, but installing our products in your barn and taking some steps to winterize your horse barn
can make it easier!

Barn Hacks For Your Barn

September 8, 2015

Running a barn is a lot of work. Whether you have IMG_2205a lot of help or not. It can be easier with different tips and tricks that you can use around your barn. I’ve pulled together a nice list of a few “barn hacks” to make your life at the barn easier!

  • In the summer, freeze gallon jugs of water and throw them in your outdoor water buckets to keep the water cool for your horses.
  • Put your feed and hay in a central location in your barn so that you’re not running to one end of the barn every time you have to feed someone.
  • Mount a bucket horizontal with the opening facing out where your hose is, you can wrap the hose around the bucket for organizing your hose, and the bucket serves as a perfect spot to store your nozzles, brushes and soaps for giving your horse a bath!
  • If your horse likes to drag his bedding out into the isle, install broom bristles at the opening of his stall, it will keep the bedding in.
  • The most annoying noise to me is when you drop a cross tie and it clinks against the wall, I’ve even had horses scare from this noise. To help this issue cut a tennis ball on both ends to slip the cross tie through, it won’t make any loud noises when you drop it!
  • Install a PVC pipe near an indoor or outdoor arena to hold your various whips. If it’s outside just make sure to drill a hole in the bottom so that water can get out.
  • Colored duct tape is a great way to distinguish everyone’s supplies, just tape the handles of grooming supplies. Everyone gets their own color or their own pattern.
  • Use shoe organizers in your tack room to store all of your polo wraps and boots either in the barn or in your trailer. Grab a larger clothes hanging organizer to store helmets!
  • A pool skimmer comes in handy when trying to clean out your horses water bucket, quickly use it to grab debris that’s in both your outdoor water buckets and stall buckets!
  • During the winter time, hang your bridle around your neck, inside your jacket to warm it up for your horse, they’ll greatly appreciate a warm bridle and bit!

I would love to hear any other “barn hacks” that you may have in the comments below!


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