Have you noticed it? This past week both my horses have been absolute .... well... I'll not write what I was going to say... but you get my drift! I always find February that awkward time of year. There's a hint of Spring as the mornings become lighter, earlier and the night doesn't draw in quite as quick. The weather turns from warm (ish) one day to positively arctic the next. Don't the horses know it! I've had my fair share of fun this morning with Crunchie and Erik and I can only thank my HUGE knee rolls on my saddle for saving my ass. So, what do you do when times are 'ard? Here are my top tips!
Tip no. 1: Keep your fingers crossed and have a safety net! I could only pray this morning that my ticking time bombs wouldn't explode. What's my safety net? My mum! Not that she could do much but her presence makes me feel a little better as I tackle the beasts. At least I know someone will be there if I do hit the deck!
Tip no. 2: Transitions! I know, all I've done is harp on about warming up all long and loose etc etc. However, when health and safety will NOT allow this I make the most of transitions. They are my friend, saviour and I do ALOT of them. Within the pace, out of the pace, on the circle, on the three quarter line, on the change of rein. Before they get comfortable, I've changed what I'm doing. Honestly... it's gold!
Tip no. 3: Lateral work! I'm not saying it's going to be any good, hell fire, I can't perform a decent leg yield on a good day but that doesn't mean I ain't gonna try! I find this works best in canter with my two. Asking them to move sideways from the track to the centre of the school helps me keep better control and works them that touch harder. Hopefully taking the fizz out!
Tip no. 4: Vary it! Sometimes it's because they're getting stale so make sure you vary what you do day to day. This morning I was all about the schooling, now they're a little more tired I'll probably hack tomorrow, maybe lunge the day after, school again then change it to some ground work like long reining... variation keep's their mind active! Do not under any circumstance let them get bored, or they will find their own entertainment!
Tip no. 5: Boredom breakers! Mix up their stable, make it interesting. Apple bobbling, carrots tied onto some bailing twine and hung from the rafters, licks, play balls! ANYTHING you can think of to keep them entertained! (Read our previous blog for some boredom breaking ideas HERE!)
Tip no. 6: Persist! I know, it's a rough patch! We all go through it, it isn't easy, but do not give up! Giving in and not riding makes it worse as their energy levels go through the roof! Consistent exercising and varying what you do helps to keep the lid on that can of worms! Before you know it Spring will be here and they can use up that extra energy in the new turnout field!
May the force be with you ....