I’ve noticed a few people on social media that have made the decision not to ride during this pandemic, while part of me sees the argument for it. I am not for it.
Horse riding is a dangerous sport, we can all agree on that. We are dealing with a large flight animal and that means things can go south very quickly if they take off, buck you off e.c.t. And this can land us in hospital therefore resources are needing to be used on you rather than those with covid19.
But do I think stopping riding completely is the solution ? No
From an animal welfare perspective, we have domesticated these horses therefore it our responsibility to keep them healthy and part of keeping them healthy is exercise. So while we could take the shoes off and let the horse loose in the field all summer, I dont feel like that is a good solution. Firstly not all horses suit having their shoes off and is making your horse lame really something you want to do in this situation? Secondly we are coming into the season where the grass is growing fast and I know for Eva that means she’s going to start putting weight on. Lunging every day will not keep that weight down therefore riding is something that is required to keep her a healthy weight.
Also how much of a risk do I pose when riding? Yes Eva does throw in a few bucks here or there and she can be quite spooky but I am confident enough in my seat that I dont come flying off when she does one little spook.
It also doesnt have to be that deep, during these times it is something outdoors that you can enjoy and as long as you keep your distance from others at the yard then it is your daily exercise. After all I think we all need something to enjoy at the moment. The beauty of horses is that you need to be in the moment with them, they don’t know that the world has turned on its head, they are an escape.
In saying that however, we shouldn’t be trying to jump the highest we have ever jumped before or head out to some xc or perhaps the youngster you are backing could do with a bit more ground work before jumping on.
To summarise I think we should keep riding and use the time to enjoy having our horses in the summer, head out for a hack and enjoy the brighter weather. But we should be sensible, wear your helmet and think before wacking the jumps up to heights out of your comfort zone.
I plan on continuing to ride, and focus on doing some interval training round the fields if they aren’t too solid, I also plan on getting lessons from an instructor at the yard. But I am also taking my foot off the pedal ever so slightly as we aren’t going out competing tomorrow or maybe even in the next few months so there is no need to be pushing ourselves too hard although I do want to maintain a level of fitness and progression.