Maintain Your Bond & Sharpen Skills When the Cold Keeps You Out of the Saddle
Winter leaves many riders at the mercy of frigid temperatures, snow and ice—while horses are left to become more dependent on their herd mates, and less on the leadership of their humans. Julie Goodnight shares exercises to keep horse-human relationships strong all winter long, so they are ready for riding next spring. (JulieGoodnight.com/Winter)
“My concern for a horse that’s not being ridden or handled for an extended period of time is that they will forget about me,” says Goodnight. “Keeping a mental connection and having a positive experience while separated from the herd are my main priorities, and you don’t really need a lot of space or good footing for that.”
Goodnight recommends going back to basics to maintain the relationship (and leadership) you’ve built with ground exercises that riders can do in a smaller space like the barn aisle, a stall or the driveway.
“If I have any room at all, I could practice ground tying or a few leading skills, even if it is only at the walk, to remind my horse of the expectations and rules I have—and also to remind the horse that he can leave the herd without bad consequences,” says Goodnight. “He can trust me. He can feel safe with me.”
Goodnight’s 8 Free Video Lessons with Exercises to Keep Your Bond Strong:
- Establishing Boundaries
- Standing Still & Nose Control
- Leadline Boundaries
- Head Lowering Cue
- Handling the Emotional Horse
- Ground Tying (Parts 1-3)
Watch all of these videos at JulieGoodnight.com/Winter.
“If your situation is that you can’t connect with your horse over the whole winter, that’s okay, too,” says Goodnight. “It just means you’re going to have more upfront work—more basic, reestablishing-a-connection work in the spring when you do get with your horse.”
Goodnight provides hundreds of free articles and videos with training solutions on her Goodnight Academy website (JulieGoodnight.com/Academy), where riders can search for any topic they want to know about. Riders can also find membership options with even more resources and a personalized online coaching program with Goodnight—perfect for winter months—at JulieGoodnight.com/Join.
About Julie Goodnight
Goodnight is well known as the popular host and producer of Horse Master, a successful how-to TV series on handling, riding, and training horses. Goodnight travels extensively sharing her no-nonsense horsemanship with riders of all disciplines, as well as offering online training and coaching, a popular podcast, and a syndicated column on horsemanship. Goodnight is experienced with many kinds of riding—she grew up on the hunter-jumper circuits in Florida, rode racehorses through college, and is now at home in the West. She and her husband, Rich Moorhead, live in the mountains near Salida, Colorado, and enjoy riding the trails and training cow-horses.
Explore Goodnight’s training library of articles, videos, and more at JulieGoodnight.com/Academy.
High resolution photos available on request.