Well, I will admit, I was hoping that my first ever blog on this page would come at a slightly different time, not one where we as a whole world are close to locking down.
It is unnerving and it is a stressful time, but now more than ever we must be prepared, be cautious and make the most of recent technological advances.
Before we go on to look at how we can move equestrian teaching services online, I'd like to discuss how you can for now, keep safe whilst being out and about at yards.
A lot of these also apply if you are a rider visiting your trainer for a lesson, so do think about avoiding heading onto a yard where possible - keep to the arena, bring your own drinks & most importantly, bring a smile. It's a tough time so we need to do our best to stay positive.
Here are my top tips to reduce the risk of catching this pesky virus:
- DO offer a free cancellation service at this time. Whilst it is not ideal to have lessons cancelled at short notice, it is better to miss one than to risk being off games for much longer.
- DON'T accept tea/coffee/cold drinks from the yard you are visiting. As rude as it sounds, it is better that you take your own drinks with you. [My recommendation is to take a flask of tea & a travel mug with you - Honest Riders offer these great products on their site which are also environmentally friendly!]
- DO try and sanitise your hands between visits using hand sanitiser.
- DON'T use headsets, instead stick to your trusty lungs!
- DO try and avoid cash payments if at all possible, BACS is a safer, more hygienic method of payment.
- DON'T meet people on yards or in stables, try and head straight to the wide open arena and meet your riders in there.
- DO take your own lead rope just in case you do need to handle the horse.
- DON'T greet people with a hug, handshake or any form of physical contact. Keep it polite with a hello though :-)
- DO open & close gates on their behalf if they come to your yard.
- DON'T do up peoples girths/ adjust tack if you can help it.
If people are visiting your yard for a lesson, try and get them to head straight to the arena. Whilst a cuppa & a chat is lovely, at this time it does add to the risk. Enjoy a nice chat in the arena (from 2m away ;-) ) whilst they walk off their horses.
There will of course be some people that will want to cancel lessons and there are ways you can offer support & training without being at the yard:
- Recap the last lesson & help your rider with a training plan for the up-coming weeks. If they usually have a lesson every 2 weeks, perhaps schedule a 2 week training plan building on the last lesson. Then catch up and discuss how it has gone.
- Offer to review videos - less than 10 minutes is transferrable through WhatsApp, so ask them to send over a couple of shorter ones.
- Offer phone consultations - a half hour call to discuss any current issues & exercises they can use to work through it.
- Remember, it's ok to charge for these services!
Finally, I do think that training can move online if we do end up truly locked down. I have done some research and believe the following could work ok!
- Blue tooth headphones - the Sennheiser CX Sport Wireless Headphones reach up to 50m
- Find a willing person to video (if available!) or
- The PIXEM video robot tracks you as you ride
- Ensure you either have FaceTime or Skype Video Calling available on your phone.
Bliss - your trainer can sit in the warm whilst you get cold & wet!
I hope these are of use and if you have any comments please pop them below or feel free to pop me an email.
- Collapsible Coffee Cup - https://www.honestriders.co.uk/collections/accessories/products/ridersonamission-collapsible-coffee-cup
- Reusable Water Bottle (suitable for hot drinks too!) - https://www.honestriders.co.uk/collections/accessories/products/ridersonamission-reusable-water-bottle
- Bluetooth Headphones - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sennheiser-CX-Sport-Bluetooth-Headphone-Black-Yellow/dp/B07C2T5GTH
- PIXEM robot camera - https://www.amazon.com/Move-N-See-PIXEM-Cameraman/dp/B07K4T41Q6