It’s a little overcast, but the sky is clear enough, so you head to the barn. Halfway there, the heavens open up and all of sudden your visions of working your horse outside are washed away. Don’t fret! There are still plenty of things you can do when it’s far too rainy or muddy to ride outside.
Clean it Up
Have you been avoiding cleaning out your tack room? How about your trailer? A rainy day is a great time to stay under cover and do some cleaning.
Pick up any loose baling twine, sweep out the aisle, clean stalls, or organize your tack room. Put on some music, an audiobook, or a podcast and get to cleaning!
Shine it Up
If you already keep a tidy barn, perhaps it’s time to oil or condition your tack. Bring your saddle out, and begin by cleaning off any dust, dirt, or debris with a soft cloth or brush.
Use a good leather conditioner to oil your headstall and saddle, and don’t neglect cleaning up the buckles!
This is also a good time to examine your tack, looking for any weak points or areas of concern. Clean the underside of your saddle pad as well, ensuring there isn’t anything that might irritate or rub your horse’s back.
If you’re at the barn anyway, and unable to work your horse, now is a good time to take stock of your supplies. Grab a piece of paper and go through your on-hand supplies. Are you running low on vet wrap? Need some more liniment?
You don’t want to find out that you’re out of fly spray by the time you need it. Go through your inventory and jot down what you need! While you’re at it, take note of how much hay and feed you have, and what you might need. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure!
Rainy Spa Day
Just because you might not be able to ride your horse outside, doesn’t mean you can’t spend quality time with him. It’s good to catch your horse sometimes without the intention of riding him. Allow him to enjoy a grooming session, without the work afterwards. It’ll be good bonding time for you both.
Grab some grooming gear and take your time grooming him. Brush out his mane and tail, clean up his legs, and enjoy this chance to bond with your horse.
Watch and Learn
If you can’t be off riding your horse, that doesn’t mean you can’t be learning and bettering yourself for him. A rainy day at the barn might be a great time to reflect on where you need to improve in your riding and take action to learn about that specific issue.
If you have internet access, watch some videos, read articles, and you can even take Horse&Rider OnDemand with you to the barn, using our app. Check in with your favorite trainers, and see if they’ve posted anything that you can use in your own riding. If you get your fill of training content, we won’t judge if you pull up an episode of your favorite show, either.
Read About It
Along the same vein, a rainy day at the barn might make for enjoyable reading time. Hunker down on a hay bale and crack open a good book (unless you have hay fever, and then maybe choose a chair)!
With the rain on the roof of the barn, and the comforting sounds of horses, you might find your new favorite reading spot. It wouldn’t hurt to keep a few books in your tack room, for the next time you’re stuck inside.
You don’t need a large area to do some basic groundwork with your horse! Use this time to work on some basic groundwork practices, in the space that you have inside. Sure, you might not have room to have him on the longe line, but you can practice some basic exercises in the aisle of your barn. (First, make sure you have room to safely maneuver around your horse).
This might be a great time to work on clipper training, picking up feet, backing, or moving away from pressure. If your aisle is wide enough, you can lay down a tarp or blanket and have your horse practice walking over it. Again, be sure to do this with safety first in mind!
Sure, paperwork isn’t the most fun thing we can do at the barn, but it is important. Have you been keeping records of your horse’s deworming schedule, farrier appointments, etc.? If you’ve been putting it off, a rainy day at the barn is an opportunity to get all of that in order.
You can also spend this time planning out upcoming shows or events, or determining when your horse is next due for medications, vet appointments, or trims. You won’t want to spend time doing these tasks when the weather clears up, so take advantage of your down-time to do it now!
A rainy day at the barn doesn’t have to be a complete bust. We know you’d rather be on your horse, but until you can, use this time to catch up on tasks. Your future self will thank you the next time it’s nice enough to ride and you’re all caught up!