Dec 24, 2019

Top 10 Tips for Fighting the Winter Blues with Carol Kozlowski

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

When the days get shorter and the temperatures get colder, it can get tougher to get out to the barn to ride your horse, whether it be because the weather is crummy or you're lacking the motivation to leave the warmth of the indoors. Former USEA President and rider and trainer Carol Kozlowski provided her best advice on how to keep your spirits up during the winter months.

  1. Go easy on yourself! Give yourself a break! Use this time to reconnect with your family and do things you don’t do when you’re busy – the rest of the season. I tell my students that it’s about giving yourself permission to have some me-time. It’s actually unfair to your horse to keep that level of focus 24/7/365. They need a break from us too!
  2. This is a great time of year for cross-training. When you’re on a very strict competition schedule you don’t take the time to do it. Put yourself on the lungeline, or play with obstacle courses, do desensitization training, etc. You can do these things mounted or unmounted too!
  3. This is also the time that you have to broaden your education. Watch videos, read books, attend seminars. Learn all you can! There’s plenty of stuff on the internet – go surfing.
  4. Gather your friends for a testing of your knowledge. In my neck of the woods, our local club puts on a hippology course. It’s a fun time to socialize while you see how much you really know. It’s like the horse version of trivia!
  5. On those cold days when you don’t want to put your breeches and boots on, ride bareback! It’s a good way to find out just how good your balance is!
  6. If the footing is safe and not frozen or slick, hack in the snow! It’s not only good exercise, but it’s also incredibly therapeutic – to be outside on a beautiful snowy day is good for the soul.
  7. “Play” with your horse! When the weather is really bad, do things like turn the horses loose in the indoor and play tag, jump over jumps, etc. That way, if you need to keep your snowsuit on, you can!
  8. Even if you’ve not been serious about it before, set up a jump chute and play with your horse in the jump chute. Free jumping can teach you a lot about how your horse moves when left to his own devices. Plus your horse will learn about footwork – it’s amazing to see what they learn when they’re in the chute.
  9. If you’ve been putting off a medical procedure, this is the time! If you’re doctor’s been after you for something to improve your physical well-being, take this time to get it out of the way. That way you have three months to recover and you’re not missing the heart of the season.
  10. Back off on the beautification. Let your horse’s mane and tail grow out. Let them get their feathers. Clipping is dependent on how much work your horse is doing, but your horse doesn’t appreciate having his mane pulled in 10-degree weather.
  11. If all else fails, go south! Seasonal affective disorder is real. Even if you can only arrange a week or two where you can ride outside and have a learning vacation, it will help make the winter pass quicker and it gives you a goal to work towards!
Aug 10, 2020 Education

How Strong is Your Novice Game?

How competitive have your Novice results been? What’s a good final score? What’s a good dressage score? What does it take to win? In our third installment of this series, EquiRatings showcases the Novice level. Use these graphs and statistics to help evaluate your Novice game.

Aug 09, 2020 Education

Conditioning the Event Horse at the Novice and Training Levels

Conditioning makes the horse fit and increases his endurance performance with less wear and tear on feet and legs. The idea is to work his heart and lungs in short intervals, let him recover a bit, then work him again. The following schedule for Training level horse provides an introduction for the horse and rider at the lower levels to the principle of interval training.

Aug 08, 2020 Future Event Horse

How to Prepare Young Horses for the Show Atmosphere with the O’Neals

Within their first few years of being born, young horses have the opportunity to get a taste of U.S. Eventing through the USEA’s young horse programs. The USEA Future Event Horse Program (FEH) evaluates the potential of yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds under saddle to become successful upper level event horses while the USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH) evaluates the potential of 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds to become successful upper level event horses.

Considerations for Building Cross-Country Jumps at Home

If your farm has the space to set up a cross-country schooling course, it can be to your advantage to have cross-country jumps available for schooling purposes. Safety should be the number one priority when designing and building cross-country jumps, and an expert should be consulted whenever possible.

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