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  • Virginia Shaw, BTB Trainer

What to do when there is nothing to do

This year has certainly brought its challenges to the entire horse community. Many things we planned for have been cancelled or postponed and the future of our competitive sport could look very different when it returns. The good news is, even with all the changes, training continues and some fun new adventures await!

Let me give you a little back story on my horse: in February 2019 he blew a suspensory at WEF; in March 2019 he arrived in Maine; in September 2019 he began under saddle rehab; and in June 2020 he led a group of fourteen horses on a Maine Trail Riders trail

ride. My point? On that trail ride my horse proved to me he could do things I never thought possible. I learned more about his patience, stamina, and competitive edge (hence why I wrote he led) than I could have ever learned in the show ring.

Getting out and trying new things has been a must for my clients and I during this time. It has ranged from taking our show horses on a trial ride, to visiting different facilities, schooling over various jumps and exposing them to a variety of settings. We do this so when things go back to normal we are ready.

Right now is when we can get some serious training done. We can push ourselves outside of our comfort zones (trust me going on that trail ride was slightly terrifying to me) and learn more about ourselves and our horses. Each time you create a positive outing for you and your horse you are creating a solid foundation that will only continue to grow. So, what can you do when there is nothing to do?

1. Expand your horizons - call up other facilities in your area and ask if you can trailer in and rent their ring.

2. Hit the trail - join the Maine Trail Riders or get together with a groups of friends and go on a trail ride.

3. Stay local - go to a local show you wouldn’t normally go to and support.

4. Book a clinic - getting feedback from someone is always a good idea.

5. Take a virtual lesson - many trainers have gone virtual. You can send in some videos and get feedback via a conference call!

6. Try something new - look up some fun new exercises to try in your training. You can learn a lot from YouTube! (Make sure whatever you pick is within the ability of you and your horses!)

Even though 2020 hasn’t been all we had hoped for, we can still create fun and educational experiences our horses. Any time spent with our four legged friends is a good day in my book!

Happy Horsin’


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