How I Care For My Horses These Summer Holidays
After a big year of travelling and competing at different Pony club events, Interschool events, Shows, agriculture shows and State titles my horses deserve a break over Christmas time. My name is Shania Lyons, I am 16 years old and I compete on my two horses Delago Bolt in Showjumping and Coen in sporting, camp drafting and showjumping. I mainly compete showjumping on my horse Delago Bolt a chestnut thoroughbred that my mum had trained up and passed on to me. Due to my goals for my showjumping circuit next year, I have decided to keep my top show jumper in light work condition so by the beginning of February he will be in full work and he will be partially fit from his light work program over Christmas Holidays.
My light work program for my horse Delago Bolt is taking him on trail rides to keep him moving and working but it’s also something different and gives him a break from all the hard training during the year. We will also do some light flatwork once a week to help with changing our paces, working on our flexion and keeping the softness. We also continue having our regular lessons with my coach Becky Jenkins who is a World cup show jumper, during these lessons I usually do half flatwork then move into jumping, but over Christmas I will just be working on my flatwork with Bolt. At the beginning of January Becky holds a clinic camp that usually goes for around 3-4 days, I will be taking Bolt to this clinic. A few weeks before hand I will put bolt into full work, which will include atlas a half hour ride every second day and a 10-20 minute ride on the other days. I find that Bolt and I have started working as a team and connecting as one. This also improves my confidence within myself and my horse.
Not only will I be doing this program I will be taking Bolt to Cabarita in the new year. At cabarita we will be going on beach rides which helps bolts muscles and joints and is something different from an arena and a road. Bolt really enjoys the beach as when he was a race horse he use to get taken to the beach very often to help keep his muscles and joints strong. Once we get back from Cabarita we will go to Becky’s cop that is held in January which involves two lessons a day and we do flatwork and jumping and work on our corners, lines and balance.
Over summer it can get quite hot where I live so during the heat I always make sure my horses have plenty of water night and day, horses need a lot of water during the heat as they need to stay hydrated to keep them healthy. During the day I also like to keep my rugs off my horses so they can have some fresh air on their bodies and it stops them from sweating as much especially if your horse likes to run around during the day. Taking care of your horses 24/7 is a large priority but during summer and when it’s really hot you should make sure that your horses care is number 1 as horses can get very distressed in the hot conditions. If you find your horses are sweating a lot and it’s getting very hot, you can give them a nice hose off to cool them down.
If you are like me and are keeping your horse/s in light work over the holidays and in the hot weather make sure you keep them cool and they always have a wash after you ride them and always have water with them no matter what. If you find
they are not drinking a lot you can always put some molasses in their water buckets or even some electrolytes.
As my mother always told me”horses do not choose to be ridden, we choose to ride them” so we have to make sure we take good care of our beloved horses and give them all the love in the world especially these summer months.