No matter what part of the world you call home, chances are you’ve been affected by the coronavirus pandemic that has swept its way to international notoriety. We’re in the midst of some uncertain times, but we can take solace in the fact that for now at least, the barn remains a relatively safe haven.
By now, the term “social distancing” is presumably a part of your everyday life. The concept is simple: keep your distance from other people by staying at home or at least away from large public places, and help stop the spread of viruses such as COVID-19.
While this practice has been shown to help reduce the spread of viruses, allowing time for science to catch up, the fact is that social distancing, no matter what your opinion on it, is one thing: lonely.
Many of us take solace at the barn when we feel lonely, and while it’s safe to do so we encourage you to take every opportunity you can to be with your horse during this period of lockdown.
Not only is it important to enjoy time with our horses, it’s important also not to disrupt their routine. Sudden changes in horses’ daily schedules or diets can be harmful to their health. If you are having to adjust your riding schedule, be sure to use your Hylofit to check in on your horse’s heart rate regularly. If you haven’t recently, take a Baseline ride to ensure you have an updated reading. This will allow you to track changes to your horse’s fitness that may have resulted from unexpected impacts to your schedule and training.
While we’re stuck in coronavirus limbo, we thought we’d share some ways you can take advantage of any extra time at the barn or a delay in your competition plans.
Go back to basics. Surely there are some areas in your riding or your horse’s training that could use some elbow grease. Now is a perfect time to slow down and go back to perfect the foundational skills that we so often forget about. Work on improving your horse’s walk or responsiveness to your leg and seat. Practice your own independent seat and core strength.
Put some elbow grease in. A bit of extra TLC never hurt anyone! Horses who are happy and healthy will also reflect this in their physical appearance. Spend some extra time on each grooming session. Spring is the perfect season for dapple cultivation!
Learn about your data. There are many ways to continue your education about your horse. One way is to take a deeper dive into your Hylofit data. Want some help with yours? We're accepting rides for review by our team for those wanting more in-depth feedback or help understanding their data. To participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Give your equipment a good cleaning. Proper tack and equipment care helps things last longer, but it’s easy to get in a rush when there are a million deadlines to meet. Now’s the time to take a breath and get that spring cleaning started. Then, whenever show season does return you’ll be organized and ready to hit the road. While you're at it, be sure to take proper precautions, even at the barn, regarding hygiene. You can brush up on the CDC's guidelines for reducing risk here.
Brush up on your mental game. Sport psychology plays a huge role in the success of any athlete. Whether or not you are a competing rider, you’ve likely had to overcome some sort of adversity at one point or another. Resources from experts such as Daniel Stewart, who specializes in equestrian sport psychology, are great for filling time and implementing into your own program.
Get yourself fitter. While the gym might be closed, there is plenty of content available for simple at home exercises and workouts. Riding at your best requires a strong level of fitness. Here are two examples of some exercises you can work into your day from Coach Sando on Instagram:
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☀️Happy Hump Day 🐫, Coach Sando fam‼️ ✨Today we are bringing you a great 𝐅𝐔𝐋𝐋 𝐁𝐎𝐃𝐘 𝐒𝐓𝐑𝐄𝐍𝐆𝐓𝐇 𝗪𝐎𝐑𝐊𝐎𝐔𝐓🏋🏻♂️ ✨This workout can easily be done at home🏡 or on the farm🐴 with limited equipment. Ideally, you should be getting this full bod workout in on days you ride. ⚠️Exercise caution when performing these strength moves🏋🏻♂️. Please watch the above videos 🤳🏻for tips on how to properly execute each exercise so that your form is on point👌🏻 💡Don’t forget☝🏻‼️... Now more than ever it is important for us to continue taking care💙 of our bodies🧘🏻 and minds 🧠. Please reach out to us if you need any extra guidance or help sticking to your routine💪🏻 📝As always, we want to hear from you‼️Comment below 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 and DM us with any questions you have🤗 #equestrianlife #equestrain #athlete #coachsandotraining #flatwork #dressage #USEA #horses #showseason2020 #training #lunge #hipstability #strengthandconditioing #horserider #equestrianproblems #eventerproblems #ridersofinstagram #equine
Above all, just spend time with your horse. We all know how important our connection with our horse is for calming ourselves and reducing anxiety. During this time, this connection is even more important to help us stay positive and ready to handle the challenges ahead, no matter what they may be. So just enjoy the time together — we are the lucky ones who have this wonderful “relationship to come home to”.