The new year is a time for fresh starts and resolutions. As a horse owner, there’s no better way to celebrate the new year than with your favorite equid. Whether you’re looking for fun bonding activities with your new horse or traditions you can enjoy for years to come, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll provide you with 10 ways to celebrate the new year with your horse. With a little creativity and planning, you’ll be able to usher in the new year in a fun and meaningful way.
1. Host a Barn Party
Invite fellow horse lovers over for a festive gathering at your barn. String up lights, decorate your horse’s stall, and provide themed snacks and drinks for guests. You can also play games or hold a costume contest with awards for the best-dressed horse and human.
If you keep your horse on your property, hosting a get-together should be easy. If you board your horse at someone else’s farm, ask the barn owner if you can organize a New Year’s party for all the boarders and clients. Just be sure to respect their rules concerning noise, hours, and permitted activities.
2. Take a Trail Ride
What better way to celebrate the new year than to hit the trails with your horse? You can make it a daylong event, packing snacks and beverages and stopping for a picnic along the way. Because trail rides are best enjoyed (and safest) with company, invite another horse owner or two to ride with you.
If you don’t have access to a trailer to haul your horse to a trailhead, you can still enjoy the day with a leisurely ride around your home property. Sometimes it’s just nice to get outside the arena and explore horseback.
3. Create a Time Capsule
Gather equine mementos from the past year, and seal them in a container you can open at the end of the next year. Include items such as photographs, prizes and ribbons from horse shows, notes about achievements, a braided lock of your horse’s tail, or any other reminders of meaningful memories with your horse.
4. Have a Spa Day
Treat your horse to a day of pampering. Give him a deep grooming or a warm bath. If cold temperatures or bad weather make bathing counterintuitive, you can still clean his mane and tail. Really lather up his locks and massage those hair roots to remove dirt and dander. Then you can braid his mane and tail to keep them tidy and clean. Other special touches include painting your horse’s hooves and applying a polish and detangler to his coat, mane, and tail.
5. Create a Photo Album
Create a photo album of all your favorite memories with your horse from the past year. This is a great way to reflect on the year and celebrate your time and achievements together. If, like so many of us, most of your horse photos are on your phone, find an online service that allows you to upload images and create a custom photo book. You’ll end up with a priceless keepsake.
6. Learn a New Skill Together
Schedule a lesson or a clinic, or watch a video tutorial on something you’ve been wanting to try with your horse. Whether it’s a new riding discipline or an in-hand groundwork technique, challenging you and your horse to learn something new is a fantastic way to start the year. It can even be something fun and simple like clicker training, teaching a voice command, or practicing equine core strengthening exercises.
7. Bake Horse Treats
Try your hand at concocting horse homemade horse treats with proven recipes. Most include ingredients you might already have on hand, such as peppermints, brown sugar, and oats. You can even bake several variations and have fun seeing which ones your horse likes best.
8. Build an Equine Obstacle Course
Use items around the farm to build a fun in-hand obstacle course you and your horse can tackle either in the arena or a paddock. Obstacles can include ground poles, small logs, tarps, hula-hoops, pool noodles, tires, plywood, and anything else your horse can try walking over or around. These types of activities are not only fun but can also make your horse more confident on the trail.
9. Create a New Year’s Bucket List
Create a list of goals and activities you would like to accomplish with your horse in the new year. This could include things like:
- Trying a new discipline.
- Attending a horse show or clinic.
- Moving up a level in your chosen sport.
- Going on a camping trip with your horse.
- Teaching your horse a trick.
- Swimming with your horse.
- Galloping your horse.
- Riding bareback.
- Giving your horse a makeover.
- Riding on the beach.
Or, your bucket list items might be more practical goals such as teaching your horse to come when called or to stop pawing in the cross-ties.
10. Donate to a Horse Rescue
Give back to the horse community by donating to a local nonprofit or horse rescue organization. Helping horses in need is a great way to celebrate the new year. You can find a rescue near you or donate to a national organization like the American Horse Council Foundation or the EQUUS Foundation.
From hitting the trail to organizing a barn party, you’ll find countless ways to celebrate the new year while spending time with your horse. Use some of our suggestions to reflect on the past year with your equine partner and make plans for the new one.