Difficulty: Hard (but we’re here to help)
What you’ll need: Patience
Think back to when you first started riding — the barn was a joyful place and every ride ended with a kiss on the muzzle. But as we get older, balancing work, home life, and barn time is tough, and setting riding goals can add in a little extra pressure. So we SmartPakers put together some of our favorite tips, tricks, and smart solutions to help both you and your horse keep your cool all year long.
Tips for you
“Breakfast on show days is tricky because I never feel like eating but I know I need to, so I always have a drinkable yogurt. It makes me feel full (but not too full) and calms my stomach.”
–Susan, Barn Sales
“Whenever I take my horse somewhere new, I make sure to leave plenty of time for him to adjust and relax. Plus, this helps my nerves because I don’t have to rush.”
“Sometimes making it to my lesson on time, or making it to the barn at all, can be a source of stress. When that happens, I take a deep breath and remind myself how lucky I am to have such a wonderful horse, and that this is supposed to be fun!”
“Understand that your horse has a unique personality, just like you and every person you know. Don’t expect him to change who he is just because you want him to.”
Tips for your horse
He’s occasionally nervous and tense, looking around and fidgeting as you get on. Slightly on edge, he is sometimes unfocused on the job at hand.
“I establish as much of a routine as possible with my nervous guy. Amazingly, he also seems to like it when I sing to him, perhaps because it helps me breathe and relax!”
She’s cranky and irritable, kicking out and pinning her ears. Thanks to her roller coaster of mood swings, you never know which attitude you’re going to get.
“I pay attention to whether my sensitive mare actually wants to be groomed. When she’s not into it, I respect that and let her be dirty, and she’s much happier for it!”
He’s over reactive and excitable, dancing in the aisle and jigging in the ring. A bundle of nerves and energy, he’s always looking for a “monster” to spook at.
“I lead my pony around the ring first and let her look at everything. That way I can gauge how focused she’s feeling and adjust my plans accordingly.”