If you and your horse have a strict schedule for training and competing throughout the year, the colder months can be a great opportunity to give your horse some time off to rest and recover. While some people feel their horse can’t mentally handle down time of more than a few days, giving your horse’s body time to rest is important in helping him to stay fit and healthy throughout his career. If your horse gets a little too feisty or destructive during time off, you can still use the winter months to give them a break from under-saddle riding and instead can focus your time together on other tasks.
For the equestrian who wants to keep improving over the winter months when riding isn’t an option, adding online training into your schedule can help. There are several options of places to watch masterclasses, clinics, and training videos online. You can also watch old videos of your own lessons or shows and note what you want to focus on in future rides.
Now is a great time to focus on your own fitness! Add a few days of visiting the gym to your routine or schedule in time to workout at home. So much of riding depends on the strength and fitness of the rider, and many exercises can be done off the horse to develop key muscle groups.
Throughout the year it can be difficult to stay on top of keeping everything tidy. When it’s too cold to go outside, use your spare time to clean tack, and organize your trunk, tack room, and trailer. You may come across items that you no longer need and can sell for income to put towards future lessons and shows! This can also be a great time of year to reorganize your feed room, tidy blanket storage, and clean/sanitize grooming tools.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Don’t wish away your upcoming show season by not preparing, especially when there’s extra time in the winter to set yourself up for success. Sit down with the show schedule for the upcoming season to plan what the next year will look like for you and your horse. If you’ve never planned out your season before, set up time with your trainer to learn best practices! Once you’ve chosen your competition dates you can easily plan backwards to establish a schedule for training and lessons! Don’t forget to add clinics and fun rides into your schedule to keep things entertaining and exciting for you and your horse.
Whether you manage the care of one horse or thirty, it’s important to have health records in order. Ideally, you keep records up-to-date year-round, but that isn’t always the case. Use the end of the year to update show records, add important veterinary and farrier information into your files, and to make any needed changes to contact information or notes on a horse’s care requirements.
If you run an equine business, the winter months often mean the start of tax season! While it’s key to keep your financial records in order year-round, spending the winter updating any relevant information is a good practice and will set you and your accountant up for success.
If you don’t already use StableSecretary for health records, scheduling, and financial reporting, the colder months are a great time to get set up! StableSecretary offers free demos online or by phone to help you customize the tool to fit your facility’s needs. StableSecretary is easy to use and can help you head into the new year prepared for whatever your horse, clients, and facility throw at you!
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