If you’re in lockdown, chances are your equestrian life is taking a weird turn.
While exercising and caring for horses are obviously essential services, with many boarding stables closed and many equestrians choosing to stay out of the saddle to avoid the potential risk of a hospital trip, the realities of social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine are becoming all too evident.
We’re looking for distractions, we’re looking for ways to stay connected to our real lives, and we’re looking for a silver lining. Here at LRC, I’m pulling together free online resources for equestrians.
Look, I’m not one of those hardy souls who is planning to learn a new language or tackle War and Peace just because I can’t leave the house. But, I do want to come out of this at least a little bit better off. Luckily, universities, businesses, and even celebrity horse trainers are beginning to offer some great free online resources for equestrians.
I’ve found everything from training videos that are usually behind a paywall to virtual horse shows!
So this will be a running list of available resources to equestrians during the lockdown. If you come up with any others, feel free to email me or leave a comment!
Let’s all stay safe out there (or in there) and maybe get just a little better at the things we love.
Improve Your Riding & Training
Julie Goodnight: Free “Daily Doses of Horsemanship Homework”
A traveling clinician for many years, Julie Goodnight found herself grounded from her usual clinic schedule. She decided to offer daily lessons via Facebook Live and YouTube Live. If you can’t ride right now, you’ll still find plenty to learn about! Here’s what Julie Goodnight has to offer:
“Interacting casually with riders across the globe, Goodnight’s ‘living room lessons,’ focus on what riders can do out of the saddle to improve their horsemanship skills. Riders then get the opportunity to ask Goodnight their need-to-know questions, and get them answered live, in real time. Goodnight intersperses these with in-the-arena lessons that focus on skills riders want to know more about.”
Monty Roberts University Free Access
With more than 600 videos in the collection, Monty Roberts University offers an incredible database to sort through. As of March 31st, Monty Roberts is offering two months of free access to help sequestered equestrians continue their equine journey.
“Challenge yourself to go beyond the ‘How To’ level of online video lessons and look into the reasons why horses respond to training methods. Those equestrians who train from the horse’s vantage, rather than blindly duplicating the traditional methodologies, have the advantage of creating a trusting partnership with their horse rather than a blind obedience.”
CRK Training Mini-Courses
CRK Training is offering a free course called Understanding Your Horse in Seven Days. This is about working with your horse more effectively through understanding behavior and learning about the subtle cues horses respond to.
Exercises for Equestrians
Yes, we’re all doing Yoga with Adriene now, right? But if your YouTube connection is fuzzy, check out these exercises for equestrians published by Michigan State University Extension. You’ll find some core and leg workouts that are designed specifically to strengthen the muscles we use in the saddle — muscles we definitely don’t want to lose during this downtime!
Increase Your Stable Smarts
University of Guelph’s Sickness Prevention in Horses Course
This online university offering includes activities, lectures and online discussions to give you a thorough overview of biosecurity in the stable. From introducing new horses to the herd, to understanding necessary health and safety protocols to protect everyone in a stable environment, this course is designed to help horsepeople develop action plans that keep their businesses, clients, and horses safe.
The current course is full at this time, but there’s a sign-up for future offerings – click here to learn more.
University of Florida’s The Horse Course
Take a six-week virtual course on the basics of horse care and management. While this might feel rudimentary for some, if you’ve never had the ability to take care of your own horse, it’s a great opportunity to learn the basics! It’s also a good idea to get the book knowledge behind many of the things we tend to learn by following the example of others.
This could also be really useful for anyone teaching at home right now. The next session begins April 20th, 2020. There’s a paid certificate available as well!
Free Equestrian Courses at My Horse University
My Horse University is an extension of Michigan State University, with online courses covering everything from nutrition to breeding to trail riding. They have several free courses and webinars available, including Biosecurity, Purchasing a Horse, and Equine Youth Safety. Any one of these would be useful for a current or aspiring equine professional.
Lunch ‘N Learn from the United States Pony Club
The USPC is offering daily educational posts and conversation at their Facebook page! Infographics and other resources are being shared between 11 AM – 1 PM EST. If you have a Pony Clubber, 4-H’r, or any other sort of learning horseperson in your life, this is a nice midday treat – plus resources you can download and use in the future.
NEW: Free E-Membership from the United States Pony Club
The USPC is now offering a free e-membership so that you can access their wealth of online knowledge, including access to the digital edition of the Pony Club News magazine and the Pony Club blog. There are also special deals for USPC members in the Pony Club shop. Use Promo Code PCIQ520 to access this free membership now through July 31st, 2020.
Equine Nutrition Seminars from Stride Animal Health
Stride® Animal Health’s Dr. Bill Vandergrift and Dr. Jyme Nichols will be conducting an Equine Nutrition Webinar Series the month of April 2020. Each Thursday at Noon CT, Dr. Bill Vandergrift will guide attendees through complex nutritional topics including Allergies, Immune Health, Laminitis, Airway Conditions and Supporting Stamina. On Fridays, join Dr. Jyme Nichols at 3 p.m. CT as she details the use of oral plasma, New Zealand green lipped mussel, diet balancers and amino acids in horses. Replays will be provided for everyone who registers.
Penn State Extension Farm Classes
Penn State is offering a variety of classes in everything from beekeeping to pond management to working with volunteers. There are some incredible resources here – you might just find inspiration for your next great farm project or side business!
Just Have Some Fun
State Line Tack’s Seclusion Showdown Online Horse Show Series
Pick out your best riding photos and head to State Line Tack’s Facebook page to enter this horse show from home! Session 1 occurred in late March and featured classes from Stock Type Halter to Hairiest Horse. Prizes include rosettes and prizes! This might be the most unique ribbon you ever compete for.
Session 2 begins April 9 and runs through April 15.
NEW: More Virtual Learnings, Horse Shows, Entertainment and Social Distance-Friendly Events
StriderPro.com has a long listing of webinars, virtual coaching sessions, horse shows and more. Some have a cost associated with them.
NEW: H&C Free TV
View highlights of many 2019 competitions for free. Available on their channel called H&C Free, the Free Sports Zone includes jumping, reining, eventing, dressage and other disciplines. Showing begins nightly at 8 PM and the line-up for April includes highlights from Freestyle Reining, Blair Castle Horse Trials, something called the Horseboarding Championships, FEI Nations Cup Final, Burghley Horse Trials and more. Plus, they have free equine content available 24/7.
Do you have more suggestions? Comment below!
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Natalie Keller Reinert is the author of more than a dozen bestselling novels about equestrian life. Learn more at nataliekreinert.com.