2 weeks ago, I had surgery on my right shoulder. This means no horse riding for 3 months. Total bummer. I had planned surgery for this time of year because I knew there would be an extended downtime and no better time than winter, right? But what I hadn’t planned on was wanting to work with my horse. And in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, let me share some ideas of working with your horse without actually riding.
How to Work Your Horse Without Riding
And I should include if you can’t do traditional groundwork either. So you can be with your horse, and with some help, you can get him tied. But think about only having one arm to work with. For whatever reason, think about what you would do if you couldn’t ride your horse for 3 months. What would you do?
For myself, I am living this right now. And I will be honest, a few days after surgery, I pushed it. I decided to walk with Timon, who has gotten the nickname Jesse. I’ll explain that another time. And while it was fun, later that night, my shoulder let me know that it was too much.
So that got me thinking, how can I work with my horse without causing pain or reinjuring my shoulder? And I came up with a few things I can, and have been doing.
Work Out Turn Out
For Timon to get some exercise, I needed to come up with a way to encourage him to move. This is where I got creative and capitalized on the separation anxiety that happens when he is separated from Al Ca-pony. Again another nickname I will share in a later post.
But when I separate them and put Timon in the arena, he does a lot of walking, trotting, and even a little bit of cantering. I know this isn’t the best thing to do. But he’s moving and getting exercised. So, for now, I’ll take it. I have learned that Al Ca-Pony is a bit of a bully. So keeping them turned out separately is the best plan for keeping them both safe.
Something I have been doing is just hanging out with my horses. In true Colorado fashion, the weather has been relatively mild. So I have been out in the barn, just hanging out with my boys.
There is no training in mind. I am just ‘with’ each of my horses. I have been doing this for the last week or so. Just spending time with them while they have the freedom to do as they please. This has been beneficial to keeping my horses company while also reaffirming that when I’m around, it doesn’t always mean work is involved for them.
Lots of Grooming
With my required recovery period, there is a lot of time. Which, honestly, is not a bad thing. Other than the fact that I can’t work my horses properly, I am very much enjoying being able to focus on myself, my husband, and our home without the feeling of being rushed. It has been very nice actually. I can’t believe two weeks have already passed since I had surgery.
And I am finding that I have the time to groom my horses without rushing. It has been very enjoyable. I think the horses seem to enjoy it too.
With their winter coats, I have been working through my different tools to see which works best for their full coats. So far, the best tool has been the Posture Prep curry. The flexible long rubber bristles make it possible to get down through the heavy coat.
Trying to come up with a solution to the static that seems to happen every winter has been something I have been working on as well. I loathe static in my horses’ coats. I have been using MTG Heavy No. 2 Oil as a massage treatment. It does seem to help some if I stay consistent with it.
And they stay nice and shiny too.
Working With Your Horse Without Riding
I hope this gives you some ideas of what you can do with your horse when you can’t ride, whatever your reasons are. It seems for many of us, during the winter, our riding time is limited. But just because we can’t ride doesn’t mean we can’t continue to train our horses, right?