Spring Check list for Horse and Rider.

Finally, spring is here in Southern Ontario and we can start to ramp up our outdoor riding activities. After a long winter and not much riding you are eager to get out there and hit the trail but before you do there are a few things you need to check.

The first thing is make sure your horse is in good health. Look for cuts, scraps, runny noses, leaky eyes and all vaccinations are up to date (UTD). You don't want to put a sick or unhealthy horse back to work if he isn't up for it. Remember start back slow, stretching, flexing, lots of walking and asking for a response: stop, back up, move of the leg, collect, etc.

Second make sure you are in shape, hopefully you have been doing your stretches and exercises throughout the winter, if you haven't stretch before you get in the saddle and start back slow. Nothing can take the fun out of riding then waking up with sore stiff muscles from the ride the day before.

Make sure all your tack is in good working order, I suggest taking care of repairs in the winter but give it another once over to make sure nothing is going to break or rub the wrong way.

If you have a trailer you should have it given the once over, have bearings repacked, check the brakes, the floor and lights. There is nothing worse then having a tripped all planned and the trailer isn't in operating order when you need it.

Plan your events now and write them in a calendar. It will be summer before you know it and campgrounds and shows will fill up quickly, decide which events you want to do and book it. I find if I wait I either miss out on the space, get too busy with other things or you just plain forget.

Set a goal for you and your horse, maybe it is to teach him to load himself in a trailer, perfect the flying lead change or get him to ride out on his own. If you have something to work for it keeps things fresh and interesting for you and your horse and motivates you to get out and ride.

Hope to see you out on the trail.

Steve Wawryk

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