Hi Jessica! I always look forward to reading answers to questions, I always learn something new!
My question may seem weird, but here goes. Whenever I go to visit my horse, my parents drop me off from anywhere from 2 hours to 5. I always ride for an hour, and then groom for half an hour if my horse is clean. I always run out of things to do when I have anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 hours left. What is there to do, that I can do with my horse for that time? Are there any neat trick I could teach him? Or try out some new thing that has to do with grooming? Anything I could do with ground manners? My horse usually has excellent ground manners, because every time I am there I enforce them.
Looking forward to your answer, Sarah + One Step Up (a.k.a. Jack)
There are a lot of things you can do with your horse. Tricks are certainly one possibility; you could teach your horse to nod "yes", shake his head "no", bow... Another possibility is for you to teach yourself (and your horse) about massage, passive stretching exercises, and TTeam techniques. There are useful books and videos available on all of these subjects, and these are all things that are fun to do with a sound horse, and very helpful on those occasions when your horse is less than perfectly sound.
If you want to do something without your horse, even though you're at the barn, there are a lot of wonderful horse books that you could read. I always have a book at the barn, just in case. ;-)
One of my students who, like you, spends several hours each day at the barn after riding, dealt with HER boredom by asking the barn owner what she could do to help. She began by sweeping aisles and cobwebs, moved on to cleaning tack, then to turning out horses in pastures -- and after a year of proving what a useful person she was to have around, she was doing even more interesting tasks! Helping exercise the stallions, helping out in the breeding room, helping out at foaling itme, helping to start the yearlings... and by THAT time, she was also working off ALL of her board bill, which left her with plenty of money for other things. ;-) I don't know how much there might be for you to do at your barn, but barn-owners are always interested in reliable, intelligent, sensible help. And since you're going to be there anyway, why not ask what you can do, and see where it leads?
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