A pandemic and riding – to be or not to be!

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Like me, you have probably seen lots of controversy over the whole ‘do we or don’t we ride’ during the current pandemic and a country in lockdown. I like many others have also had to consider this question in relation to the strain on the health service.

I can conclude though that yes I have continued to ride but should this had occurred a few years ago, then there’s no way I would have gotten on board my faithful steed. However, I can now confidently say that I do trust my horse! I understand that things can happen unexpectedly and horses can be unpredictable. Therefore, I have considered my actions and we have been sensible in our riding.

Field cuddles

For some though this hasn’t been a choice at all, not only due to unpredictability but for some they haven’t even been able to visit their horses for several weeks as yards went into lockdown. Some countries have banned horse riding altogether during the pandemic to reduce the burden to health services. To avoid other liveries I have attended during my allocated time slot. I found this encouraged me to make the most of my time and the horses got into a routine. They have settled gently into their new surroundings, having moved yards during the lockdown.

Some may think my decision to ride was wrong but as a key worker, dealing with daily changes this virus has caused, then I use this downtime to escape the ever-changing demands faced during this pandemic and the strain on both home and work life. I can honestly say that whenever I ride be it in normal circumstances or during Covid-19 I always ride with caution and I have avoided certain activities. 

Ride report during lockdown

I have really enjoyed the riding I have completed during this lockdown time and one thing I have been proud of is that since moving myself and Fred have taken everything in our stride. Gone are the days of in-hand walks and showing him everything before riding! Now I am tacking up and exploring the new surroundings on board and what a star he has been. 

To begin with, riding started in the field due to time and yard restrictions, we took it slowly walking around and exploring our new environment. Fred continued to work like normal and I would not have known that he had moved somewhere new as he was so relaxed. We had a few fields to explore and use at different times so took time to have relaxed rides and these were ideal when we were in the midst of a pandemic raging through the country and taking up vital healthcare services.

Pandemic riding

Schooling gently in the field

Since the slightly reviewed lockdown, we have now progressed to riding in the new menage and we have had two short hacks out to explore one of our close bridleways which was lovely! Fred has been remarkable and is happy to be in the school and starting to work better. I and he have lots to work on but I feel more positive about doing this and he listens so much better. I try to limit his schooling to 30-minute sessions at a time as he can lose concentration after that but we also work on what we are learning whilst out hacking. 

Pandemic riding

Standing proud

Pandemic riding

Schooling well

Hacking out

Plans for the future

Looking ahead I want to get out more, as lockdown is eased and as always will apply caution and social distancing when riding with others. I hope others are starting to be able to see their horse and are able to enjoy riding again! Due to all the horse events and shows being cancelled this year I will be focusing on schooling in preparation for next year when we might even be able to attend a show! For now, we are adapting to the new normal.

Let us know how lockdown affected you and until next time take care and stay safe everyone.

To read about our previous rides before lockdown see out January ride report post.


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