Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Things To Do On a Rainy Day

Our barn has no indoor which means that riding is rarely possible when it rains.  But that doesn't mean there's nothing horse-related to do - both with a horse and without one.  Here are some things I've come up with - what else can you think of?

With a horse - some of these can be done in the stall and even when it isn't raining with a horse who's on stall rest:

1.  Do a really thorough grooming.

2.  Teach your horse to take one step back with just a hand gesture.

3.  Teach your horse to take one step back and wait to accept a treat - clicker works well for this.

4.  Do some basic in-hand exercises - head down, baby flexions - with a halter or bridle.

5.  Teach your horse basic targeting using clicker (don't do any scary object work where the horse is in a confined space).

6.  Teach your horse to accept your touch on various parts of the body - ears, belly, underside of tail, etc.

7.  Teach your horse to pick up - and hold up - each foot more easily.

8.  Do carrot stretches and belly lifts and tummy tucks to improve your horse's flexibility and core strength.

9.  Teach your horse to move away - backwards or sideways - with a very soft touch.

10.  Trim a mane, bridlepath or feathers with clippers - if your horse isn't afraid of them (otherwise work on this first as scary object training when more space is available).

Without a horse:

1.  Set up a barn book, containing records for each horse of vaccinations, deworming and other health matters.

2.  Give your tack a thorough cleaning, checking for wear and safety issues.

3. Organize your truck/storage area for grooming supplies and tack.

4.  Wash and disinfect your brushes.

5.  Make sure your medical supplies are organized and that any out-of-date items are replaced.

6.  If you trailer, take your trailer in for a safety check.

7.  If you trailer, make sure you have all the necessary items for trailering safely.

8.  If you trailer and have a tack/dressing room, clean it out and organize it.

9.  Read a book about working with horses, or watch a video - even one from an unfamiliar discipline or a clinician you aren't familiar with or maybe don't agree with.

10.  Find out if there are any clinics near you that you can audit (generally much cheaper than riding) - either with a clinician you may want to ride with in the future, one you admire or even one from a completely unfamiliar discipline.

11.  Order some end-of-season (and with luck on sale) barn items or horse or people clothing.

12.  Organize any out-of-season horse clothing and take it in to be washed, mended and rewaterproofed (or do these things yourself).

13.  Wash any dirty horse laundry - polos, saddlepads, etc.

14.  Figure out if you have tack or gear that should be resold or donated and make arrangements to do so.

15.  Check your horse's stall or paddock for safety issues including protruding splinters or nails.

Leave more ideas in the comments!


  1. Does it rain for that long?......I`m knackered thinkin` about it!lol!

  2. Some of the things I have been trying to do in the barn too is to learn how to take my horse's vital signs. Once you learn how, it's a cinch, but it takes some practice to get the rhythm of listening to the heartbeat, finding the digital pulse and taking a temperature. The digital pulse is particularly tricky. (My mare does not seem to have one!) You never know when these skills will come in handy.

  3. I am IMPRESSED with this list! Now if only I was at home so I could work on these things in this NASTY weather!

  4. Even though we have two stalls in our stable, when it rains our horses seem to love being out in the rain. They're free 24/7.

    So, when it rains, rarely in New Mexico, we enjoy being inside watching old movies.


  5. All good ideas to keep you busy on a rainy day. You could also add a massage session or mane pulling after the thorough grooming. We've also been know to give a horse who might need it a Reiki session, also better after a grooming.

  6. Scrub water and feed buckets, knock down cobwebs, check hoses and repair if needed. Replace mineral licks/salt if needed.

    Any rate - any day spent in the barn is better than spending it at work in an office.

  7. Eat your body weight in salt water taffy... uh... no... that's not a good idea.
    Share ***1 piece*** of salt water taffy with your horse. :)

  8. great list - there is just so much stuff to do with and around horses! No wonder we all love them so much. :-)

  9. Grab a book, upturn a bucket, and spend some quiet time sitting with your horse in her stall, breathing common air and companionable silence. Something I love to do.

    1. I love this idea, Muddy K. Thank you.
      It's pouring today in Virginia and I am shortly going out to clean feed containers, fluff up some lovely Triple Crown Hay, get the stalls ready with apple and carrot, and bring the three horses in. Then, bridle paths, grooming, and spending time in the stall. My off-track thoroughbred loves company and will munch on his hay, then take breaks to come over and nuzzle me or lick my hand. Just being there...the very greatest thing.

  10. That's a wonderful list, and a good reminder about all the things we can still be doing. I'd like to take my trailer in for an inspection.

  11. I should be banned from owning nice tack (of which I have a lot because I love nice tack!). Reading your list made me wonder when I last cleaned my tack. Too embarassed to say when it was!!

  12. Wonderful list!
    It rains here about 8 months out of the year. Unfortunately we don't have a barn, and since the horses are in pasture's with run in sheds, it makes it more difficult for me to do a lot of stuff with them during the rainy season. No daylight and no lights in the sheds. The pasture's are pure mud, probably a foot deep. It's bad. My tack room is in my garage and I do need to do a little more organizing, but I try to keep it pretty clean!
    I'm still dreaming about the day when I actually have a barn, with lights, a real tack room, a wash rack....I would spend every minute out there doing all sorts of stuff all rainy winter long!

  13. wow that is some list Kate.......rain you say!. Spring must be on its way.I have to say I do like Muddy K 's option. Reading a book in the company of your horse

  14. Here's another one - review the nutritional information on your feed label, and find out the NSC values of your feed, and figure out if the feeds you are using are the best option for your horse.

    And, while you're at it, find out how to get your hay and/or pasture tested - in the U.S. your agricultural extension agent may be a good resource.

  15. A great list, and one I can appreciate, as we have a lot of rain here!

    I am with Muddy K - I would get a cup of coffee, a book and sit with my horse. Or just sit, taking in the smells, the sounds, the whiskery breaths and the sense of peace that comes.

  16. Sometimes it's nice just to be with your horses doing.....nothing!! Just enjoying each other's company; adjusting your breathing to match each other's.....To quote Dawn Brunke, "Do little and be." I'm going to hang that up in my barn, I think!!


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