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There’s been a lot of talk about the weather this weekend, thanks to hurricane Isaac’s landfall in the Gulf and it’s march up toward the Mid-South. Trinity Farm has no indoor arena which, unfortunately, means that riding is rarely possible when it rains. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing horse-related to do when the thunderclouds gather overhead. So, in honor of the potential gloomy weather this weekend, here’s a list of some of our favorite things to do at Trinity Farm when it rains*
  1. Give your horse a bath (temperature permitting, of course). If he’s already wet, what’s a little more water?
  2. Give your horse a massage. You’ll both enjoy the contact (hello lower blood pressure!), plus the more you handle your horse, the less resistance you’ll have if you need to handle him in an emergency situation.
  3. Give your horse the full “spa treatment.” Take the time to groom him well–pamper him like you’d like to be pampered at a spa–and do those little things you may not have time for every day: extra currying, hoof treatments, conditioning his mane and tail, and the like.
  4. Work on desensitizing your horse to something he may be unfamiliar with–velcro, plastic bags, silk flowers, a bright yellow rain slicker, an umbrella. Try to find something he will find different or unusual.
  5. Help your horse learn to lower his head. Teach him to give to pressure on his poll–the top of his head.  With time, he will automatically drop his head when you apply pressure.
  6. Practice pulling your horse’s mane or brush up on your braiding skills, even if you don’t have to braid your horse for shows. Both are good skills to have and aids in teaching your horse patience.
  7. Work on his ground skills. This includes standing patiently, backing up, pivots or any kind of movement that can be done in small room with his halter or bridle.
  8. Teach your horse to move away–backwards or sideways–with a very soft touch.
  9. Do carrot stretches and belly lifts and tummy tucks to improve your horse’s flexibility and core strength.
  10. Practice standing your horse squarely and keeping him squared until you tell him to move.  If you show in halter or showmanship classes, practice your “quarters” – moving cleanly as the judge inspects the horse.
  11. Thoroughly clean and condition your tack!
  12. Go for a short hand walk. If the weather’s been gross for any length of time and your horse has been cooped up in his stall, take him for a walk up the and down the driveway or up and down the aisleways of the barn. This will help keep him from becoming stall sour and will help his blood circulate, preventing stiffness and/or swelling in the legs due to lack of exercise.
  13. Teach him a new trick, like to give a kiss or how to bow.
  14. And my favorite: Just hang out with your horse and do nothing at all. The one thing most horse owners fail to do is simply be with their horse.  Horses are social creatures; they like to hang out together.  As horse owners we are all too often rushing the time we spend with them and rarely just sit with them and do nothing.  It was a wonderfully peaceful way to spend time with your equine friends.

Armed with this handy list, rainy weather will never leave you feeling bummed that you can’t ride; there’s still plenty of ways to bond with your horse out of the saddle.

*You don’t have to wait until it rains! These exercises can be done at any time and are particularly useful on a horse who’s been confined to stall rest.