Sunday, November 23, 2014

What to do when it's raining? Make lists of course!

Does anyone else ever search for fun things to do with your horse when the weather is crap and you're stuck inside?  I do!  I found this list LINK.  In this post I'll share the things we've already done and the things we can do now.  I'll leave out the stuff we can't do right now. Check out the full list and see if there is anything you can do!  Note:  I'm leaving the numbers that correspond with the list in the link above.


1. Get the mail out of your mailbox on horseback.  I've done this several times.  I don't think I have any pictures.  I'll try to get some next time.  :)
24. For one month, keep a diary chronically any and all rides you have with your horse.  Hehe, I've recorded every ride on this blog.  :)  To read them all click here.
27. Find your horse’s favorite spot to be scratched.  Definitely the underside of his neck!
29. Use clicker training to teach your horse a new trick.  Hehe we started with clicker training!  I want to teach him some new ones though.  It's been too long.
42. Catch your horse without a halter (ie: let them catch you).  I do this every day.
63. Let someone else ride your horse.  Yep hubby and farrier have ridden him!

I was wearing my helmet and completely forgot to give it to him!!

87. Ride your horse in their turnout field.  Done this lots and lots of times.

93. Get on your horse from the opposite side.  I've done this, but I don't have pictures or video.
97. Try to touch your horse’s ears while sitting on their back.  Easy!  I've done this a lot.  It's fun to hold his ears forward for pictures when he's being grumpy hehe.

101. Take a picture or video while riding your horse.  I do this all the time.

Even did a video where he spooked lol.  Skip to the one minute mark if you don't want to listen to me talk.  I was bareback, filming with a camera and I dropped it, but I had the neck strap on so it spins wildly.  :)

104. Jump your horse over a small jump, then have them step over the same jump without jumping.  I did this when I jumped him over the trees.  You can see it at the end of the video in backwards order, but I did jump and then walk over too.

118. Give your horse a full body bath.  Done several times lol.

After a bath.

121. Ride with your stirrups two holes shorter than normal for two weeks.  I did this for a whole month for 2pointober!  Pretty sure it was more than two holes too lol.

124. Get your horse to follow you around the arena with no halter lead or reins.  We've done this all out in the pasture.
125. Ground drive your horse.  I have done this and probably need to do more lol.  Here is a video of his first time ground driving.  It is very long and potentially boring!  :)

127. Ride your horse double with another rider. Yep hubby got on double with me recently.  I didn't get pictures though.  Here is the post.
28. Laugh out loud.  I do that all the time, trust me!
130. Open a gate on horseback. I did this, but I was riding alone so no pictures or video.  I will try to get one sometime.  Here is the post.
148. Back your horse up on the ground using only body cues (no pulling or hitting).  I taught him to back without touching him with clicker training.  :)  It is at the 3:40 mark.

153. Hug your horse.  Duh all the time!!!
154. Unbridle your horse while sitting on them. I did this the day I rode him bareback and bridleless.

171. Make a Youtube video tutorial with your horse, teaching something that you have mastered with them.  I've done plenty of videos.  Here's one showing how I taught him to smile and one showing how I taught him to rest his hind toes to make it easier to pick his foot up.

192. Learn how to rasp your horse’s hooves.  I've been rasping my horses' hooves since I was a teenager.  :)  I love being able to clean up any chips between farrier visits.
200. Lunge or videotape your horse to see if their hooves land heel first, flat footed, or toe first. Heel first landing indicates healthy travel. I've done this and sadly he lands toe first in the front.  :\ We're working on that.

203. Close a gate on horseback. Uh.. duh.  See above where I shared the post of opening the gate.
12. Ride someone else’s horse, even if you have to pay to do it.  I ride my best friend's horses all the time because she's awesome!

95. Ride in the dark.  I did this recently!

 That is Chrome's head and neck.  Picture taken after dark.

175. Ride to a neighbor’s house or a nearby store or drive-through.  I've ridden to a neighbor's house, but I would love to ride to a drive through!
182. Choose one thing to never do with your horse, then never do it.  That's easy, I will never teach him to rear intentionally.
183. Let your horse lead.  Some of these involve a little guess work.  Does it mean letting them walk in front of you while leading them (i.e. ground driving, but letting them choose where to go), letting them lead a group trail ride or just dropping the reins and letting them go wherever they want?  I've done all three so I'm calling this one done.  :)
165. Teach your horse to come to you without ropes.  He does this.  I don't know if I have it on video or not.
189. Trot as fast as you can possibly trot without cantering.  Yeah we did this recently when he wouldn't canter LOL!

Okay the ones I'm not doing are these seven...

43. Live tweet your ride.  NO!!  I have a twitter account, I hate it and never use it lol.
60. Create your own Puissance and see how high you can jump.  I don't think I'll ever do this because I just don't think he should be jumping high and I don't have any desire to jump higher than a couple of feet.
173. Increase the size or the frequency of your horse’s turnout.  I can’t do this.  He's out 24/7 on five acres.  There is no land to buy adjoining the property if I could even afford it so this is impossible unless I move and I doubt I will.
185. Do something with your horse that you’ve made fun of someone else for doing.  I can’t think of anything I’ve made fun of people for doing….
191. When it snows, go skijoring. We never get enough snow, I can’t ski, I don’t have skis and I would probably die.  Sledding would be fun though!
72. Count your horse’s teeth.  I’ll pass.
142. Wear a riding helmet every ride. I wear one for 99% of all my rides, but I can’t promise to always wear it because I know I’ll want to take more photo shoots.

Okay now here are the ones I can do!

Ones I can do now:  Some can be done again later at the canter.
If you already read the list and just want to read my comments they are bolded.

3. See how small of a circle you can trot without walking.
8. Ride in the rain, intentionally.
9. Throw a lasso off your horse.
10. Try riding in a new saddle.
11. Place two poles on the ground a fair distance apart, then see how many strides and then how few strides you can ride between the two. If it helps you, you can have someone help count strides from the ground. You can do this in the walk, trot, or canter.
15. Try jousting on your horse with pool noodles as your jousting lance.
19. Start your next ride by doing the opposite of what you normally do to warmup.
20. Try doing an “around the world” while someone holds your horse. Start by facing forward normally in the saddle (though bareback is easier), then swing a leg forward over your horse’s neck so you are sitting sidesaddle, then swing so you are facing backwards, to the other side, and forward again.
30. Count how many steps your horse takes to get around the arena or round pen once.
32.  Post the walk to build your leg position and core strength.
35. Ride through as many puddles as you can this winter.
36. Practice emergency dismounts while your horse is moving. Be sure to take both feet out of your stirrups before dismounting and always land facing forward.  How do you land facing forward??
37. Get on your horse using the horse trailer.
38. Video your next ride, and then video a ride a month later to compare.
44. Find a song with a beat that matches your horse’s paces.
49. Drag a rope off your horse (don’t tie the rope to your horse)
51. Practice backing between two poles on the ground; make it harder by setting the poles in an ‘L’ shape.
54. Ride a dressage test that you’ve never ridden before.
58. Try to get your horse to place their front feet inside a hula hoop on the ground. Then try to get them to place their hind feet inside of it.
61. Have someone watch you ride and clap every time they see you doing something that looks good.
65. Ride down a hill that’s steeper than you’ve ever ridden down before.
66. Trot ten steps, walk ten steps, trot ten steps, walk ten steps… Be exact.
67. Go on a trail ride somewhere you have never been before.
68. Halt without pulling on the reins.
69. Ride ten minutes longer than you normally do every ride for a month.
75. Do something daring.
80. List five things your horse did well at the end of your ride for an entire month. Don’t list any weaknesses.  Not listing weaknesses will make it hard to keep an accurate training journal, but I might do this anyway because it's a great positive thinking exercise.
81. See if you can get your horse to move their right hind leg, and only that leg, from the halt.
83. Apologize aloud to your horse the next time you make a mistake.
88. Dismount from your horse without using your hands.
91. Try Garrocha. A PVC pole can work well. I didn't know what this was, so I had to look it up (LINK).  Here’s a video.  That looks like so much fun!!!
94. See if you can pick something up off the ground from your horse’s back.
96. Ride as many halt to trot transitions as you can down centerline or between two points.
100. Back between two trees on a trail ride.
116. Walk your horse away from the barn as quickly as they can walk; on the way back, try walking them as slowly as they can possibly walk.
117. Drop your reins while trotting and see if you can maintain a consistent trot rhythm without them.
120. Try to touch your toes while sitting in the saddle.
135. Teach your horse to turn using only a neck rope.
136. Go on a picnic with your horse. Saddle bags or a backpack can carry the food!
137. Ride a lap around the ring with your eyes (not your head) looking up high at the sky.
141. Do 2-point position during your walk breaks.
143. Do sitting trot with no stirrups.
144. Ride bareback for an entire week. Challenge your balance by jumping, going on a trail ride, or herding cows.
146. Count each step of the walk once down the long wall (1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4).
147. Post every third step while trotting.
149. Ride every Wednesday, no matter what, for two months.
152. Find five different ways to mount your horse.
157. Consciously smile for a full five minutes on your next ride.
160. Set out cones or markers randomly around the arena and fully circle as many as you can in five minutes.
163. Shoot silly spray while riding.
168. Teach your horse the electric slide.  I want to do this!!  Watch this video
170. Stand on your horse.
179. Fill a plastic cup with water and see if you can ride carrying the cup without spilling any water at the walk, trot, canter, and back-up.  We can add canter to this later.
181. Practice dropping your stirrups at speed and picking them back up without stopping, looking down, or using your hands.
186. Choose a ride to verbally describe to your horse what you are going to ask them to do before you administer any cues.
188. Ask someone who watches you ride for advice to help you and your horse. You don’t have to take it.
196. Do an entire ride in which you do not move forward. You can work on backing up, bending in place, moving individual feet, etc…  Easy to combine this with the electric slide one.  :D
197. See how quietly you can get your horse to travel. Listen to the find the rhythm in which they produce the softest footsteps.
199. Take your horse’s pulse before a ride, and after, and catalogue the results for a month.  Would the after ride pulse be taken before the cool down??
205. Take off and put on a your jacket while on horseback.
212. Practice relaxation exercises such as controlled breathing during rides so you can use the skills during more stressful rides when you want to.
214. Do that thing that you’ve always wanted to do with your horse.

There are a few that will require me teaching him something first (i.e. sidepass).

41. Sidepass the width of the arena, focusing on your horse’s legs crossing over evenly each step.
59. Do a complete 360 degree turn on the haunch in which your horse’s back hoof remains planted in the ground.
123. Sidepass over the top of a cone, barrel, or pole on the ground.
138. Teach your horse to bend with no reins.
139. Back your horse in a 10 meter circle.
161. Ride a square shape (best done in the walk or canter): Instead of arching through corners, turn your horse on their haunch so they swing their forehand around as if in a pirouette.

These are the ones done not mounted.

13. Give your horse a back massage.
14. Teach your horse to do belly lifts.
22. Try a new braid style on your horse’s mane.
23. Write an objective advertisement for your horse, as if you were going to sell them. Of course you don’t have to sell them, but think about and write down how you would describe them to a potential buyer.
25. Learn to wrap polos correctly.
26. Explain to someone who knows nothing about horses something you are working on training your horse. Check to see if they understand you.
28. Bake a batch of horse cookies for your horse and see if they like them.
39. Write an essay about your horse or your riding for an equine publication, blog, an association you belong to, a contest, or even just for yourself.
40. Take an artistic portrait picture of your horse.
45. See how far away from your horse you can get in a fenced arena while they stand ground tied without walking (or running) away.
51. Make a nameplate for your horse’s stall or paddock.
52. Dress your horse up on the next holiday you celebrate.
70. Make a first aid kit for horse and rider for your barn and/or horse trailer.
71. Learn how to give your horse a shot.
86. Create a secret handshake with your horse.
98. Saddle your horse using only one arm.
103. Discover if your horse is left handed or right handed (which side are they stronger on?)
109. Lead your horse while riding a bicycle.
114. See how low you can get your horse to put their head while standing next to them on the ground.
115. Pick out your horse’s hoof from the opposite side of their body.
119. Groom your horse with your non-dominant arm.
131. Write a poem about your horse.
155. Measure the angles of your horse’s hooves.
159. Teach your horse to enter the horse trailer with no leadrope.
162. Get your hay tested to evaluate your horse’s diet.
172. Paint or draw a picture of your horse while they pose for you.
177. Place buckets with a single horse treat inside randomly around an enclosed space. See how long it takes for your horse to eat all the treats.  Chrome will love this!!
178. Back your horse into the horse trailer (if you have a ramp).
180. Teach your horse to bow.
193. Teach your horse to pivot away from you on the halter, like they do in showmanship classes.
194. Praise your horse more often.  Hubby has pointed out I've been slacking here...
198. Body paint designs on your horse.
201. Buy you and your horse a present, but don’t use it until you achieve a certain goal.
206. Run beside your horse in step with them to see what their stride is like for you.  I've done this by accident before at the trot, but never on purpose.
208. Identify one thing that is unique and special about your horse.
209. Identify by name as many different body parts on your horse as can (such as wither, frog, gaskin, or suspensory ligament).
210. Free jump your horse through a jump chute. Make sure the strides are set correctly for them.
211. Trace your horse’s back where the saddle sits and compare the tracing to the shape of your primary riding saddle to check for saddle fit. If you need help, schedule an appointment with a saddle fit specialist recommended in your area.

 The rest on the list will have to wait because it either requires cantering, galloping, riding on contact, traveling (trailer needs work), riding in an arena or jumping.  I hope you guys can find some fun stuff to do with your horses!  I love making lists and working to check things off so this is right up my alley lol.


  1. That is a huge list! You have done tons of things. Go you! :)

    1. Thank you!! I guess I'm sort of obsessed with lists lol. So much fun.

  2. cool list!! lots of fun stuff already checked off - with plenty more ahead! if you rotate in the air during a dismount so your right thigh/hip is against the saddle before sliding down, you'll land facing forward :)

    1. Oh!! Okay that makes sense!! I'll have to try it. It's probably a good idea to know how to bail if necessary! :-)

  3. What a great list! Makes me wish I had a horse so I could play too! :-D

  4. Chrome looks so Friesian in that bath picture! And I'm not sure you should worry so much about a toe-first landing. For one thing, I've read that it can be hard to truly capture the landing of a good without special video equipment and also, I think it was Hilary Clayton who recently wrote that certain gaits with a lot of vertical action (piaffe) are done with toe-first landings. So if your horse has a lot of vertical action in his stride, it might just be part of his anatomy to land toe-first. Anyway, you've done an inspiring amount of horsey stuff lately!:)

    1. Thank you Gail! I'll have to see how vertical his gait is. The weird thing is he lands heel first on his hinds but toe first on his fronts. Also I love that bath picture because of how Friesian he looks hehe.

  5. this is a wicked post! you guys have done loads together and i am sure that there will be loads more to come in the future i can't wait to see all that happens!

    hope you don't mind but think that i'm going to use your list idea on my blog for things that gatsby and i could do together!

    1. Not at all!! I was hoping someone else would want to use it too. That's why I shared it!


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