Give him a bath or shower. Practice braiding. Pull his mane (if you know how and trainer is ok with it). Trails will be a great option when they are available. Maybe occasionally do some in-hand work - look for videos on showmanship for ideas for maneuvers, but when it comes to in-hand work, don’t overdo it - a little goes a long way.
Keep in mind that just because you want to maximize your time with the horse, three hours is a lot of time for him to be “doing” stuff. Maybe you can use some of the time you are at the barn to clean tack, set jumps for a lesson, tidy the tack room or other common areas. Maybe there is another horse that could benefit from a hand walk or some hand grazing - again with trainer permission.
Lol. Three hours is nothing. Read about grooming. A pony club manual or grooming to win. A good grooming before and after is about an hour and a half right there. Curry comb, dandy brush, soft brush, cactus cloth, polishing cloth, detangle mane and tail by hand, brush mane and tail, pick feet.
You could teach him some tricks! my favorites are bow, give kisses, nod yes, shake no, and hug. If you don’t know how, there are a lot of videos on YouTube about teaching your horse tricks. Teaching your horse tricks is 1. Really fun 2. Creates more of a bond 3. Your horse will respect you on ground more. It’s really fun, if you are looking for something new to do.
I found this funny because the pony I’m leasing was only bought by my trainer a few months ago, but she has 5 horses that are so good at tricks, they go to trick shows and win just because there was nothing better to do that weekend. All 5 know all of your favorites already I believe. Lol, I should though, that’s a good idea and my trainer would be more than happy for me to do it(we have had lessons in the past where we just work on trick training the entire time). My trainer’s favorite thing is dressage, but she does tricks and that sort of thing on the side for fun. She bought a horse years ago as a filly and trained her to ride completely tackless, but she ended up being too short for whatever my trainer was planning to do, so she was converted into a hunter/jumper lesson horse. She sure does make for one interesting lesson horse :lol:
I’d love to learn to braid properly, I suck at it. His mane is crazy right now, it got cut without being pulled enough, so it stands up quite a bit which would probably make braiding it difficult. I could braid his tail though and give him a bath, that wasn’t really an option today because the farrier was taking up the wash stall.
he definatly needs his mane pulled :yes:, it’s awful bc of someone who was impatient didn’t finish before cutting his mane. My trainer used to show in showmanship, but I asked her about learning and she said, “trust me, you don’t want to. It’s soooo boring” but I could talk her into it or just look up videos online. The facility is on about 30 acres and over half of it is where the trails are and some corn fields. When she buys the place(she’s leasing it right now), she’s going to fence in the trails for safety and also make it into a giant pasture. right now, the trails are covered with branches that will hit you in the face, and they’re so long that no one has been on all of them yet and it’s easy to get lost + there are steep cliffs, so until some safety factors are addressed, you can’t go out alone(plus I don’t think minor leasers are allowed to go out on trails alone at my barn).
A thorough grooming before you ride will help you and your horse bond, plus you can become familiar with what is normal for your horse and what isn’t. A weekly trim of the whiskers, bridle path, ears coronet band and fetlocks will keep your fellow looking spiffy. I second practicing braiding and this can be done in a stall. I nice hand walk in the sunshine can be fun. Give massages. Find his itchy spots and give scratches. Learn how to clean his sheath. LOL
Good ideas listed.
I’d caution to clear it with the trainer (in this case) and always the owner before doing something like “tricks”. Some people would not want that, in addition to checking prior to doing any tail cutting, mane pulling or cutting etc. Also check your contract.
Does the horse have a soundness issue? If not, I am not sure why you mostly walk with a bit of trot and less cantering to not get him tired or sweating, especially since you say he is fat. Perhaps talk to the trainer about a fitness program for him.
My daughter half leases (a horse owned by the trainer) and she never seems to have enough time. She takes awhile to groom and tack up. When she has a lesson, we get there an hour ahead of time to catch, groom, short trail ride to warm up (her horse seems to do better in the lesson when she does a short trail ride first). Then post lesson groom and in the summer hosing off or bath. And then the hundreds of other distraction in the barn we never get out of there when planned.
On her non lesson days (she does not have a time limit with the horse), it is similar but longer trail ride, some time in the ring practicing or some lunging. I would love to see her teach some tricks.
She rides an appy with minimal tail and virtually no mane so not much to groom or braid there. Otherwise I can only imagine how much more time we’d be at the barn.
Honestly for my daughter, I feel almost like paying for a lease was more for her to spend more time at the barn. The extra riding time is only a small part of it!
Nope, he’s perfectly sound. I just knew I’d be riding him for a while and din’t want to tire him out too quickly. I could’ve done more trotting & cantering. he’s not obese or anything, he just doesn’t need to be gaining any weight. He has cushing’s(tends to make horses get hot easily and gain weight)
i know that I’m allowed to teach tricks and pull his mane. I’d never cut his mane or tail(especially without permission), that’s something that my trainer likes to do herself(and I definitely understand why).
Just out of curiosity but if you only get him one day a week for a lesson, why do you need to pay for a lease? Or am I reading this wrong and you get one lesson a week but can ride him on other days?
I take two lessons a week(I can ride him or a different horse) and I lease one day a week
i have just never heard of it done this way? Why not just pay to keep riding him as a school horse then? How much extra does this day cost you? To me this would be the deciding factor as to whether the “2” extra hours is actually with it, as they aren’t really riding hours… normally in a lease you’d get so many days a week
Is he dry lotted? If he’s turned out on grass and isn’t overweight/has no metabolic condition-- why is hand grazing him for a bit off the table?
It’s actually wayyyy cheaper for me to lease rather than have a third lesson. I have the option to lease anywhere from 1 day a week to 5 days, but I’m just doing 1 day a week for the rest of the summer.
All of the horses at the barn are turned out on grass pastures except for 6 of them. There are two paddocks with no grass that are going to be turned into one massive outdoor arena, and he happens to be one of those 6. He does have cushing’s, but I suppose I could hand graze for a bit. I don’t personally want to hand graze for too long though, it’s fun for a while, but it does eventually get boring :lol: I think trick training and braiding are more time consuming fun options
If he has cushings that’s a whole different story.
Hand grazing is a great way to bond with a horse and to reward the horse for carting you around I don’t think horses appreciate being braided to the same extent they appreciate being grazed. I consider it a little bit of payback to take my horses for a nice hand graze after I’ve ridden them.
If he has a metabolic condition and can’t have any grass, that may not work. You should ask the owner first.