Lets Discuss: Riding/Not riding during Covid-19

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.

5 thoughts on “Lets Discuss: Riding/Not riding during Covid-19

  1. I like our thoughts. I recently posted something similar. I had previously told myself no jumping but have since added 12-18″ jumps here and there. Nothing cazy but something to condition the boys as they get back into work. I’ve been really paying close attention to my posture. My seat. and my balance. I hope this all ends soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it is very important for horses who are normally in work not to be just turned out and left. They are used to having a job and could get into difficulties if their routine is dramatically altered. Here we have very strict regulations about the lockdown. Some stables where there is no staff persons to ride the horses allow owner/riders in on a schedule and there are specific instructions about sanitizing everything before leaving etc. I am not able to ride my horse but my coach and her assistant are riding him.We are all hoping the restrictions will be eased in a couple of weeks and we can go back to riding even though there will be limits on the numbers of people at the barn at any one time, one washroom designated for the outsiders etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I agree routines are best kept to. At our yard there are specific times to come up -unless your are DIY – so that you don’t interact with staff. I think some form of restriction will remain in place for a while yet although eased from what they are now. Unfortunately no one can tell how long this will go on for and its a shame to see horses who are normally kept in a routine being put out to grass for the foreseeable future. When things go back to normal I hope people take time to bring them back to work and not expect to pick up at the same place they left off.

      Liked by 1 person

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