Stuck Inside? Ideas for Snow Days.

Submitted by Chrissy Capacchione for the Connecticut Dressage and Combined Training Association

The winter months in our part of the country can really put a damper on the horse community, especially in the cases of those of us not fortunate enough to have an indoor. So far this year the cooler months have been very gracious, but that gift could be short lived.

In the meantime, Waldo and I have been taking advantage of the nice weather and doing some hacking. In our sport, I think it’s really important for both the horse and rider to have a letdown period from the show season. Everyone, I think, feels a bit frazzled by the end of the year, so why not enjoy the trails and beautiful Mother Nature until the ground freezes up?

So as cabin fever sets in, and hacking out isn’t an option, what is an equestrian to do? I say take to your computers and smart phones, break out your tablets, and hit the Internet! I would suggest checking out two great websites; usdf.org, the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) and usef.org, the Unites States Equestrian Foundation (USEF). Both of these are great organizations, and you are automatically a member of USDF with your Connecticut Dressage and Combined Training Association membership.

On the USDF webpage there are so many tools and pieces of information to help guide you along, and even help you get ready for the upcoming season! There are sections for Junior and Adult Amateur riders, and even an education section. The education section has all kinds of helpful articles to read, covering everything from dressage horse conformation, to classical and modern riding differences, training the young horse, and the judge’s point of view. The rules and regulations are also available if you need a copy. What better way to pass a stormy snowy night than sitting in your pajamas with a cup of cocoa, reading up on all the latest news and training ideas? This surely sounds like a great way to get ahead going down centerline this coming show season!

On the USEF website you can find the appropriate rulebooks and membership information for the organization. The USEF also has an education tab on their web page; it has links for all kinds of information, from breeds to course design. The Jumper Course Design was a great read, and it really helped me get into the mind of the designer as I looked back on going around previous courses, and the questions that the setup asked me.

So if the winter has you feeling stranded and itching to ride, make sure you check out these great websites to see what you can learn, then try applying some of your new ideas to your training this spring!

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out cdctaonline.com for all upcoming events. 

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