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8 Winter Distraction Ideas When You Can't Ride?

I've reached the "fourth stage" of Winter Grief- depression. After denial (continuing to ride despite the cold), anger (my trailer being in snow jail), the bargaining (do I have the money for a trip south or a covered arena), and now this...depression. It's been 4 weeks since I sat on my horse, and I'm running out of things to do. What do YOU do when you can't ride?

The depression really hit hard this week. After sustaining myself for 28 non-riding days with work, workouts, socializing, and new art projects, I was bound and determined to get on a horse this week. I loaded up "ol' trusty" with her winter cleats and headed to the local trailhead only to find an unplowed parking lot- see picture below. Even my snow-confident husband agreed I'd get stuck if I attempted to pull a horse trailer into it. The next day I loaded up to drive 30 minutes to the local indoor only to find the parking lot icy enough to host the next skating olympics. It felt appropriate to call the vet BEFORE leading my horse across the ice and inevitably pulling a tendon. So, I'm stuck at home writing this post and wondering what everyone else is doing to stay busy when they can't ride. Please share by commenting below.


1. Socialize with people who don't own horses. Lunch, dinner parties and dog walks are nice, but you don't get to talk about horses.

2. My local horse friend group had a marvelous time one Sunday afternoon cleaning tack, munching potluck snacks, exchanging our favorite "how to" riding books, and making summer riding plans.

3. Organize a virtual get together with horse friends to plan next season. The same group hosted a virtual get together where we celebrated a birthday, met a new arrival, and talked about next season's schedule.

4. Fill up your 2022 calendar of weekends with horse events. Search and share 2022 dates for mini events, clinics, and horse shows. Figure out how you're going to pay for said horse shows.

5. You could always workout...- Some of my favorite workout programs include Dressage Rider Training 1 + 2, "Yoga with Adrienne" free YouTube videos, indoor cycling on a trainer while listening to horse podcasts, and walking the dog. I've also reacquainted myself with Goodwill cross country skies, and plan to head out with friends this week.

6. Explore what your town has to offer, because you're gone all spring/summer/fall for horse shows! Andrew and I checked out our city's new fancy library and got ourselves some library cards. It was a fun evening capped by cocktails and my favorite ramen restaurant!

7. Learn new skills. My new skill is sewing, and it's been taking up a lot of dark winter down time! I'm a little embarrassed to admit how much I've spent at Joann Fabrics in the last 6 months, but it's produced some fun stuff including a capelet for a cousin's 2 year old, traveling jewelry bags, and now a onesie for myself with the coolest fabric EVER (see pictures below). Just bought a new heavy duty sewing machine so that I can, hopefully, repair all the bite marks on the horses' winter blankets.

8. Work hard now so you don't feel guilty at horse shows later! There's lots of exciting new things coming from OCEN, LLC in 2022; new Rate My Horse Supplement Reviews, new Mule Mondays with a Nutritionist, a full-length equine nutrition course, and guest lectures. I'm currently searching for fall guest lectures around the topic of equine immunology and allergies if you have any speaker ideas!

The final stage of Winter Grief is "acceptance", but I'm not there yet! Fingers are crossed for an early, dry spring and no equine injuries on the ice/snow. I hope that this short list inspires some creative, new "non-horsey" adventures, and thanks for posting about your winter distraction list!

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2 comentarios

Eben M. Haber
Eben M. Haber
18 ene 2022

Winter seems an ideal time for catching up on tack cleaning, not to mention going through your collection of random horse equipment and deciding whether you still need it (gee, I've never actually used that breast collar, but it was a real bargain!).

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Caryn Sappelli
Caryn Sappelli
17 ene 2022

Call friends and discuss horse training theories, research potential stallions for my broodmare, catch up on training podcasts, videos, and all horse content backlogged on my DVR, optimistically add all potential show dates to my calendar, and train the horses on Trail In Hand obstacles in the indoor until my hands freeze up.

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