Most horse owners and riders are lucky enough to now be able to ride, and hey- perhaps lockdown quite suits us in a lot of ways? With unlimited sport and allowances for travel, we can enjoy the outdoors with our four legged friends (or enemies if you own a moody mare!) with the added benefit of not needing to fit in all of the usual madness that work or school may bring.
As long as we can apply a sprinkle of common sense, horse riding is one of the ideal sports for social distancing. But how do we keep our horses happy? Especially the older ones who love their job and routine, which has been thrown out of the window for the time being!
Daisy the Dinosaur, nicknamed purely due to our drastic size difference as a partnership, is my wonderful horse who loves her job of showjumping and thrives on routine. Keeping her happy recently has been a careful balancing act to make sure she’s healthy enough to return to competition when the time comes, but still being looked after in the meantime. Here’s how we’ve been keeping my dinosaur happy so far…
Both me and my mum always try to keep the horses happy by actually letting them be horses, Daisy loves this and seems to really appreciate it. With the beautiful weather it’s been an ideal time recently to let her have some sun, grass and a good chill in her paddock..with the occasional run around to remind us she can still throw some moves! When there are so many restrictions in other areas of life at the moment, seeing the horses enjoy the simple things in life really is enjoyable more than usual for us.
Daisy has been a showjumper her whole life, however since we moved to our current yard, Louis Stud, we’ve had access to the most incredible hacking right in the heart of the Lincolnshire wolds. Our yard is also a glamping site and people often bring their horses in the summer months to enjoy and explore the Lincolnshire wolds with their horses. There are 82miles of off-road hacking from our doorstep to be precise…yes it’s safe to say we’re well and truly spoilt!
The lack of exciting competitions that Daisy often enjoys just as much as I do (if not more) I really wanted to make sure she didn’t get tired of being in the school as that can get boring, hacking has been the ultimate way to keep her brain busy and entertained- especially as each time out is so different in the countryside even if you’re on the same route.
We can all relate to that satisfaction of having your back scratched or a deep massage when your muscles are in need of it- and horses aren’t all that different. Before and after each ride I try to spend at least a few minutes massaging Daisy with a rubber curry comb (any brush or tool with some pimples will work well though). I do this in circular motions working from her neck all the way through her body and finishing at her bum over the course of a few minutes to give her a mini massage and encourage some blood flow whilst helping to support her muscles. This works so well and helps keep her coat shiny and maintained too. Most importantly though, Daisy absolutely LOVES a good itch and massage so I’d say this is her favourite part of the day..other than feed time of course!
We’ve lowered Daisy’s feed slightly since there are no competitions and her work has been less demanding, but I’ve noticed some riders reducing their horses’ supplemental intake.
For us, Global Herbs Move Free Plus is essential to support Daisy’s needs and enable her to be the healthiest and happiest she can be- this is important all year round and not just when out competing. I still think it’s incredibly important to maintain the benefits these bring even during lockdown, especially as they make such a difference to Daisy’s movement and overall health. By starting with supplements that aid health and happiness for her, the additional benefits of agility, flexibility and condition are rewards that help us to excel in the showjumping ring.