It’s nearly the end of March, and the world continues to issue either mandates or recommendations to citizens in an effort to control the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). In the USA, many states have issued either stay-at-home orders and/or non-essential business closures. As of 3/27, the outlook is as follows:
With the rise of stay-at-home, self-quarantine, and social distancing orders prompt further barn owners to make the difficult decision to temporarily close their properties to boarders. Many changes have happened at farms across the nation since my last post a few weeks ago, regarding what I would do if my barn did close. Other farms nearby have continued closing. We still aren’t out of the clear. If my farm does close to boarders (though we are lucky and only have a very small number of riders here, so we’re still open at this point), I compiled another list of activities to do at home to take my mind off the possibility of not being able to interact with my mare.
- Spring clean.
- If you keep any of your extra tack or equipment at home, take the opportunity to sort through it. Is there anything that is completely unusable or unsafe? Pitch it. Is there anything you don’t use, that could use a new home? Riding clothes, for example, can be sold via consignment at high-quality online shops such as The Tried Equestrian – I’ve personally sold show coats, boots, shirts, and more there.
- Review old lesson or show rounds.
- Sometimes videos of our show rounds or lessons can be difficult to come by, especially with show videos often not being free anymore, but it can be helpful to watch a “bad” round and reflect on what you may have been able to do differently. I have an old video of a combination I came into where we had a hilarious jump out over the “C” option (can we say “gazelle”?) and though my mare jumped quite big over it, I found in the video that it was because I picked at her face for some reason, and she was trying to make an effort to get us out of a pickle. Sorry, mare…
- Watch clinics and show rounds online.
- YouTube can provide a wealth of information. Search for your favorite clinician, pick out the rider or horse in the session that performs like you do, and “ride along.” In addition, a wealth of show replays are available on channels such as FEI.
- Learn about a new discipline
- Though I’m horrible at dressage (I used to event, and it was never my strong suit), I still try to watch Charlotte Dujardin or Steffen Peters occasionally to see what amazing connection looks like. Seriously, watch this freestyle test – it’s gorgeous.
- Read, read, read.
- It doesn’t have to be non-fiction! Catch up on books in your favorite series, or check out this one that’s next on my wish list by Laurie Berglie (@marylandequestrian) called Kicking On. There is a new horse trainer that comes to town, the category of the book is romance…you know this is going to be good.
- Catch up on your other favorite non-equestrian pursuits.
- I actually started ultra-marathoning (though of course, this spring’s races all are now canceled…), and on my days off from the barn, I use the time to get my long runs in that otherwise would be tough to squeeze in on top of work and other responsibilities. Do you have other activities that you enjoy? I’m sure the garden needs weeding, too, and there is vacuuming…Use this time to catch up so you won’t have to worry quite so much about your plate being extra full when you can return to the barn.
I do want to stress that if a farm owner does decide to close his/her property, it’s not a decision that was made lightly. The business will very likely lose income from lack of lessons or other means, and they are well aware that this decision can be quite upsetting to owners who want to ride or otherwise interact with their horses. However, please do keep in mind that a) the decision may be in response to state mandate, not a recommendation (so the decision is truly out of their hands), and b) they have made this decision for the safety of the greater good – so COVID-19 can be controlled sooner, and we can all begin the journey back to resuming our previous “normal” lives.
Stay safe, and hang in there.
If you have further suggestions on activities, tips, and tricks while you’re staying home, please send them to: email@example.com.
Feature photo: Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro by Kit Houghton/FEI.