After reading a great article “The Smart Equestrian’s List to Brightening the Winter Blues” from The Horse, my attention turned to winterizing sessions and equine activities here at StableStrides. During the summer we hold most sessions outdoors and instructors will incorporate every inch of Latigo Trails, Bear Creek Park and the hidden pasture into sessions. Only with the last ray of sunlight will we turn back indoors to the arena and barns, and even then, we stand by the open barn doors to enjoy the cool darkness.
But winter has arrived, and volunteers can be seen wearing upwards of three coats and insulated boots. The Keurig runs almost continually supplying everyone with warm drinks. In the morning the ice must be broken off the water tub.
As an instructor, I am constantly developing new lessons plans and session activities for my clients and horses to enjoy indoors. I observe my fellow instructors and equine specialists doing the same and I realize- winter is an incredible time for learning and it’s cozy. Harley and Sunflower grow coats so thick you practically need a snow shovel to groom them, and the cold air keeps everyone feeling refreshed.
Many of my co-workers incorporate horse care into their sessions. Clients discover what it takes to help build a horse’s diet and maintain appropriate boundaries during feeding time. Stall care and writing special messages to the horses adds color and life to the barn. Many clients will bundle up and go explore the outdoors with their horses observing the change that seasons and time has brought to the world.
In my last class before the Holiday Break, my young students helped me prepare their arena space for class. They drew a detailed layout of the arena and then with their volunteers’ help they set up their own obstacle course. Later, during class we paid special attention to sharing space and proper arena etiquette to prepare for the winter months ahead.
Let this winter be a season of learning and observation! We would love to hear your ideas for enjoying time with your horses during the winter.
By: April Phillips, Marketing Manager