Knowing that winter is on the way, we all want to get the most out of our horses and riding opportunities in the fall. The best way to do this depends on what stage of your riding you are in.
Hopefully, this article will help give you some ideas.
If You're a Weekly Lesson Rider:
If you are someone who rides in weekly lessons, fall is a great time to try and fit in two lessons per week, especially if your farm does not have an indoor. Without an indoor, your riding may be limited in the winter, so taking advantage of the good fall weather as much as you can is a great idea.
Plus, by taking two lessons per week, you are solidifying the skills that you learned over the spring and summer. That way, if winter weather does put a kink in your riding plans, you won't lose too much ground.
If you are confident enough and your trainer thinks you might be ready, fall is also a great time to try leasing a horse. You can get some extra riding time in as well as learning more about what you can do with horses on the ground. That way, in the winter, you could work on things like groundwork or natural horsemanship.
If You're a Pleasure Rider:
If you own your own horse and ride for fun, the fall is probably one of your favorite times of year to ride. Get out and try some new trail riding places or go to your tried and true favorites before the weather gets too cold or the ground freezes.
If you do arena work with your horse, now would be a good time to go back to basics and make sure your horse is solid on everything you have been working on during the good weather months.
If you were working on teaching him or her a certain new skill, do your best to make as much progress as you can while the weather is good. Hopefully, then if you do have to miss riding time, your horse will more easily pick up where you left off.
If You're a Show Rider:
If you are a show rider, there is a good chance that you have many competitions scheduled this time of year.
To best use the fall, I would recommend deciding what your competitive goals are for the season, whether it be something small, like not being as nervous at shows or something bigger, like moving up to the next level.
Set your goal for the fall show season, and make a specific plan to help you achieve it. It should include focusing on your areas of weakness as well as the holes in your horse's training. Remember, it is a partnership, you both need to improve!
Don't forget to incorporate fun days for your horse as well. You don't want him to get burned out training for the show season. So incorporate easy days, trail rides, bareback rides, and maybe some days where you just groom and hang out with your horse. Interacting with your horse outside of riding will be good for your relationship in the saddle
If You're a Horseless Horse Lover:
If you are a horseless horse lover there are things you can do too!
You could look into farms that have volunteer programs. They are fairly common in rescue farms and also therapeutic riding programs.
If you have been thinking about taking the plunge and signing up for lessons, fall is a beautiful time of year to do it. If you are still not ready to take the plunge, it can be a good time to research and visit lesson farms in the area to see what is available. Then once the cold dark days of winter are over you can you will know where you might want to ride and sign up!
Another option for the horseless horse owner is to go on a guided trail ride. There are barns that offer these either on private land or sometimes into state parkland or historical areas. Do your research, and read reviews before you chose one. You want to go somewhere that has a good reputation and is known for safe horses. Also, be honest about your riding abilities. If you have never ridden before, there is no shame in that. It is better to tell the truth than to put yourself in danger by overstating your experience.
If you are a young aspiring rider who has not yet convinced your parents to let you take up riding. Use the fall as a time to do two things. Learn as much as you can about horses so that you can show dedication to wanting to take lessons. The second thing being, maybe, if possible, you could do some odd jobs or chores, or save your allowance money to help pay for lessons in the springtime.
The Wrap Up
Whether you are a competitive rider, ride for fun, or are just thinking about getting involved, fall is a wonderful time to do it!