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Fall & The Equestrian: A Love-Hate Relationship

As a rider born, raised, and still living in New England, fall is my absolute favorite season. The temperature is perfect – not too hot and not too cold – and nothing beats a pretty fall picture of the trees changing colors. However, while there’s a lot to love about fall, it does have its downsides. Here are the top five things that I love (and hate) about fall as a rider. If I missed anything that you have a love-hate relationship with during fall at the barn, be sure to share it in the comments below!

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#1: Fall scenery arrives
What’s to love: There’s no scenery better than fall scenery, especially on a farm or out on the trails! There’s just something that feels right about taking your horse for a wander through a path lined with trees that are changing color.

What’s not to love: Heaven forbid that a gust of wind blows those beautiful leaves off the trees or off the ground and into the path of your unsuspecting horse! Fall isn’t “spooky” just because Halloween is coming – it’s a “spooky” time for your horse, too! (If your horse sees monsters on your rides, you’ve got to check out this blog!)

#2: It starts getting dark early
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What’s to love: To be honest, there’s not much I love about it getting dark early! However, I’m sure those dedicated early bird riders who get up early and ride before work are happy to be getting daylight a little earlier in the morning than usual, once daylight savings starts!

What’s not to love: Every working rider’s least favorite time of year is when it gets dark so early that you can’t ride outside after work anymore. While riding off into the sunset makes for a great movie scene (or a great Instagram shot), riding off into the sunset and into the darkness doesn’t make for a fantastic real-life scene.

#3: The weather starts cooling down
What’s to love: The arrival of fall brings the arrival of cool weather. That means that you’re no longer so hot and sweaty after a ride that you want to hose yourself down along with your horse! Plus, who doesn’t love a good fall #ROOTD? With all the tops, sweaters, and vests available to choose from, the layering possibilities are endless! (Ready to pick out a new fall #ROOTD for yourself? Check out our selection of apparel for every budget and style here.)

What’s not to love: The excitement over not sweating so much is balanced out by dread for what’s really coming: cold weather and (if you’re in an especially chilly area of the country like those of us at SmartPak) snow. There’s no temperature I love more than a good fall temperature, but it’s also a reminder that everything is going downhill from here.

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#4: Blanketing season begins
What’s to love: While blankets can be a hassle, there’s nothing cuter than a horse all dressed up in a cozy blanket that complements his coat color! If you’re looking to up your horse’s blanket game this year, check out our wide selection of blankets here and don’t forget to personalize it for a little extra style!

What’s not to love: Fall has to be the worst time of year for blanketing. The frequent temperature fluctuations mean that you’re often putting on blankets in the evening just to take them off again first thing in the morning. On the bright side, the SmartPak Blanketing App takes the hassle out of deciding which blanket to put on when (Don’t have it? Download it here!) so you never have to ask “Does my horse need a blanket on tonight?” again.

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#5: Show season is over (or almost over)
What’s to love: The end of show season opens another door: the opportunity to work on some of the “minor details” that may have cropped up as “minor issues” throughout show season that you didn’t have the time to focus on. For me, that means cavaletti, oxers so wide that my horse can walk through the middle of them, and bounces upon bounces upon bounces so we can work on everything from her listening skills to her jumping style.

What’s not to love: There is some sadness that comes with the end of show season. For many riders, show season is a time when you can spend your weekends with all of your barn friends, have fun, and show off the skills that you and your horse have worked hard to develop. However, as the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” so a break from horse showing means that you’ll be even more excited to start up again next year!

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