4 Equine related activities: check these out before buying a horse
If you want to get a horse, try some horse related activities before making a huge commitment of time, energy and money. Once you have little more experience under your belt, you may want to compete in horse shows, endurance riding, barrel racing or drive a cart.
At a therapy riding program the horses are chosen because they’re bomb proof and safe for mentally or physically challenged children or adults to ride. Volunteers often help walk or trot the horses while one or two people walk beside the horse and hold the student in the saddle. Just like a horse rescue facility, there are always barn chores and fundraising activities to help with.
Summer horse camp
No matter what your age, going to a camp that has a riding program is a great a way to get more experience. Usually there’s routine work that needs to be done at a camp barn, most of it requires little training. Horses have to be fed, held for the farrier, watered, sprayed down with fly spray, tacked up for lessons and turned out into pastures or paddocks every day. And of course, stalls need to be mucked out .
Camp horses and ponies are safe to ride and willing. Riding lessons will provide the basics, maybe some jumping and show you how to take care of a horse. Ask questions, watch and you’ll learn a lot.
Helping out at a horse rescue facility
There are horse rescue facilities all over the country that take in injured, retired or unwanted horses and rehabilitate them. They always need volunteers and are grateful for any help they get. Most facilities need help with grooming and exercising horses, marketing and fundraising activities, cleaning tack and fostering or adopting a horse or pony.
Taking riding lessons or leasing a horse
If you want to ride but don’t want the commitment of paying for feed, vet and farrier bills, taking lessons is a great way to get into the horse world or to return after being away for a while. Riding a school horse will help build your confidence, improve your balance and fitness without taking up too much of your time.
Leasing a horse may be the next logical step. If you find the right horse than leasing can provide more mileage and experience. You can ride more often, go to horse shows, and help more with its care. And you’ll pick up some of the costs but not all. Leasing details differ from barn to barn, so check the contract out before you sign it to make sure you’re getting what you want.