For the past few weeks, life as we know it has been changing by the day - sometimes even by the hour. If you'd asked me on February 23rd, just a scant month ago, if half of us would be working at home in quarantine, some of us unemployed entirely, and a nation-wide toilet paper shortage was constantly dominating news headlines...
Well, I wouldn't have believed it. But here we are.
Another uncomfortable aspect of our new reality is that increased quarantine measures and shelter-in-place orders are now affecting our barn life, too. Some are lucky enough to have their horses at home or may be at private barns where social distancing is much more feasible. For a lot of us, though, barns are cancelling lessons and closing for a few weeks in light of the pressure to contain the virus. We can't ride or even see our horses.
Quarantine is necessary right now, but man, do I already miss my barn.
So in light of our newfound long-distance relationships with our horses, here are some things to work in a little equine comfort and ease your sanity until we can get back in the saddle.
Videos: Vlogs, Show Clips, Clinics, Masterclasses
Thankfully for today's entertainment-rich culture, there's zero shortage of equine content out there on YouTube, and there are other media outlets dedicated entirely to it like USEF Network (usef.org).
They're not everybody's thing, but thanks to equestrian vloggers on YouTube, you can feel a little bit like you're going to the barn - even if it's not your own. Some even post GoPro videos of their rides, like eventer Elisa Wallace, which I absolutely love. Counting strides along with her while she's racing at a huge cross-country fence is a fun adrenaline rush. Others like This Esme have fun day-in-the-life videos of barn chores and riding, which can be ultra-calming.
Show Replays and Clips
Many equestrians are in show-cancellation-mourning right now. From the early ending of WEF, to future events like the Kentucky Three Day Event being canceled, it's not the show season we were imagining. The great thing about content platforms like USEF Network powered by US Equestrian covering shows live is that they'll usually have a full replay on demand! You can enjoy shows like Capital Challenge, Medal Finals, the Thoroughbred Makeover Finale, and more. If you don't already have a membership account, they often run promotions to sign up for a fan account for free.
For short clips, especially if you want to re-live that one jump-off with Beezie Madden's infamous insane distance, YouTube is often perfect for this too. US Equestrian, FEI and more will have accounts with shorter clips like these to keep you entertained.
No riding also means no lessons, which puts a slow on our learning. This is where USEF Network comes in handy again! They have full replays of many clinics at Rutledge Farm and more - one with hunter/jumper trainer Stacia Madden is my personal favorite.
Some clinics are also available on YouTube, either posted graciously by attendees (thank you, parent videographers!) or more formally by the farms themselves. I really enjoy watching clinics to learn a few things even when I'm riding consistently, so this is the chance to absorb some new skills to put to the test when you're back in the ring.
Similar to clinics but a little more personal and in-depth, these have been on the rise not just in the equestrian space but many other niches, too.
Noelle Floyd features a robust portfolio of Masterclasses from trainers and riders like Missy Clark of North Run, Tik Maynard, and Ian Millar to name a few. They cover various topics from riding to horsemanship skills. It's not just watching videos - you get in-depth courses, downloadable workbooks, and a community Facebook group to connect with your "classmates."
It seems like they're working on blowing out the platform, so it'll be exciting to see what they add in the future, too.
If you're working from home, folding the laundry, or just sitting and having some down time, podcasts are great to put on in the background. They're entertaining and educational, and I'm really loving the growing diversity of topics and personalities specifically in the equestrian podcast space. Here are a few of my favorites:
- The Equestrian Podcast by My Equestrian Style
- Heels Down Happy Hour by Heels Down Magazine
- The Plaidcast by Plaid Horse Magazine
- Amateur Hour
- Equestrian Pulse Podcast
You can find these podcasts (and more!) on Spotify, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Horse Radio Network, and/or other streaming platforms.
Break out your Kindles, people, there's a whole library of equestrian books out there. Fiction, autobiographies, training guides, you name it. Whether you've been wanting to pick up In the Middle are the Horsemen by Tik Maynard, or you want to get your adrenaline running with The Eventing Series books by Natalie Keller Reinert (5 books!), there's plenty of page-turning horse content to soak up. Here are some other high-rated picks:
- The Perfect Distance by Kim Ablon Whitney
- Horses Adored and Men Endured by Susan Friedland-Smith
- Show Barn Blues Series by Natalie Keller Reinert (2 books)
- The Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts
- Learning to Fall by Anne Clermont
- The A Circuit Series by Georgina Bloomberg & Catherine Hapka (4 books)
Many equestrian fiction novelists are independent publishers as well, so this is a great way to help support them.
Hopefully these suggestions help bring you some comfort! Sound off in the comments below if this has helped you find something new, or if you have anything else to add. You can also subscribe to our emails at the bottom of our home page or follow us on Instagram to get notified when we publish new posts.
That's all for now! XO.