Five Benefits of Time at Home Between Horse Shows
After a great winter season in Ocala, FL, our True North Stables team has spent the last month back at home in Zion, IL.
While it’s so easy to get caught up in point-chasing and going from horse show to horse show, our team believes incorporating good stretches of time at home into our schedule is valuable for a large number of reasons! Here are just five of those benefits:
1. It allows your horses to rest and repair. This may be the most obvious of the benefits, but it’s also what we consider to be one of the most important. While our horses are all given different weeks off from the show ring throughout the HITS Ocala winter season, it’s not quite the same as their time off at home.
In the first few weeks back in Illinois, we really reduce the intensity of the horses’ training schedules and let them enjoy more turnout time, as we’re fortunate to have beautiful, large pastures!
2. It allows the humans on your team to rest and repair too! We’ll say it: horse showing can be exhausting! Our team works hard all of the time, and at horse shows, the hours and list of tasks are both even longer! Some time at home allows all staff (and clients) the time to refuel, reenergize, and feel good and excited to head to the next show instead of tired and worn down.
3. It’s a good opportunity to do inventory of your tack and equipment. Once we get home in April, we take spring cleaning seriously! We take the time to go through absolutely everything to ensure that all tack and equipment is in good repair and to do a thorough cleaning. We take stock of what we have and of anything that may need to be replaced or purchased. Two of our ‘spring cleaning’ suggestions include:
Deep cleaning your tack trunks – When was the last time you took everything out of your tack trunk and scrubbed down the inside? While back at home is the perfect time to do so!
Cleaning and sanitizing brushes, boots, bits, and more – While we clean off our horses’ boots and bits after every ride, now is a great time to also thoroughly sanitize them. Also, take out all of your brushes, hoof picks, combs, and curries and soak and scrub them in soap and water. You can’t keep healthy, clean horses without clean brushes!
4. It provides a chance to re-evaluate where each horse is at in regard to its training and fitness. The Florida circuits are a great opportunity to develop our horses and to advance both horses and riders within our program. Once we get home, we like to assess the progress that has been made and evaluate if there are any areas that really need work. Based on where each horse is at, we determine if they are on track for the plan that we made at the beginning of the year or if the plan should be re-evaluated, including changing their show schedule or their training program.
5. It’s a time to make improvements. Based on our evaluations mentioned above, we used the time at home – after some initial down time – to focus on specific training exercises and programs that allow each horse to continue to progress or that address any areas where the horse may need improvement. We do a lot of grid work, extra lessons for our riders, and some course work – all tailored specifically to each horse and their needs.