As a horse owner, you likely don’t have an issue with keeping busy, but with extended downtime from work and other social activities prompted by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, you may well have more time on your hands.
While there are few, if any, competitions still running, there’s no reason you can’t use the time to upskill, not only with your riding, but also with horse care.
Fortunately, there are myriad offerings available, either for free, low cost, or discounted, to enable you to make productive use of time in isolation. As long as you have an internet connection and a willingness to learn, you’re set!
Here’s a selection of options to get you started.
Online riding academy
wehorse.com offers the chance to learn from some of the most respected trainers in the equestrian world, such as Ingrid Klimke, Bettina Hoy, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, Warwick McLean, Philippe Karl and Christopher Bartle.
The site has more than 180 videos and topics include not just the Olympic disciplines but also working equitation, bitless riding, carriage driving, and liberty work. In other words, there is something for everyone.
A single month membership is €24.90 or you can join for a year and pay €14.90 a month.
Pro trainer and USEF judge Geoff Teall is offering a new coaching service for hunter-jumper riders through virtual training. Riders can send in up to three videos, and Teall will review them from the point of view of both a judge and a trainer. By reviewing both their technique and their horse’s performance on video, and offering a 30-minute review, Teall can help equestrians use their time wisely so they can be their best when they get back into the show ring.
“I believe in the importance of maintaining a positive outlook and focusing on the future. It is always a goal and to be able to take the time to study, understand and then work at home on possible weak points with your riding and training skills,” Teall said of his new service. “Sometimes we get so caught up in showing that we lose the time and opportunity to study the real art of horsemanship, I hope I can change that for people with this opportunity.”
The cost is $US50 for up to three videos, or a home training session for up to 30 minutes of conversation regarding your riding.
» To sign up, contact Geoff Teall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Horsemanship and more
The FEI Campus has a range of educational videos which includes a section on horsemanship as well as informational videos on each of its disciplines.
You will need to join up as a user (it is free) and enrol in each course you want to take part in, including veterinary education, health, husbandry and feeding, conformation, and behaviour and handling,
On-demand short training videos
The US Equestrian Federation has dozens of videos on training and equine care available, both for subscribers and non-subscribers.
Most are short, easy-to-digest offerings and include topics such as saddle fitting, riding spooky horses, using a jump chute, and many more.
There are videos on all disciplines, so even if you’re not in a learning frame of mind, you can get some free entertainment. USEF offers a free “Fan Membership” for access to its Learning Centre, but there is plenty of viewing without joining.
Behaviour and safety
Canada’s Equine Guelph, a pioneer in online learning, has moved up the start date and extended access for both the youth (13-17) and adult offerings of its Online Horse Behaviour and Safety Course. Guelph is offering a “buy-on-get-one” deal, where users joining the adult course will get a youth course for free.
Course topics include equine vision, handling and basic safety, safe trailering, fire safety and returning from an injury. Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion. Equestrian Canada recognizes Equine Guelph short-training online courses as qualifying for points on the NCCP Coach/Instructor Professional Development Activities Updating hours.
The course costs $C95, with access until May 11.
» Go to Guelph’s Family BOGO deal
Thinking about career options?
The University of Edinburgh is running a free four-week course for those interested in learning more about veterinary medicine, giving a “taster” of courses covered in the first year of a veterinary degree, and an idea of what it is like to study to be a veterinarian.
Already more than 30,000 students have enrolled in this free course. It will take about 11 hours to complete.
The University of Florida is also accepting free enrolments for its “The Horse Course: Introduction to Basic Care and Management” (about 22 hours), and UC Davis has “Equine Welfare and Management” available (6 weeks, about 16 hours).