If this photo of our weather station is any indicator, winter has arrived. With complete snow cover, temperatures well below freezing and wind chills around zero (Fahrenheit), it’s time to get creative with our training opportunities.
For the horses, that means training which can be done in the barn and in short enough training sessions that hands don’t freeze. I continue to hunt for gloves which can keep my hands warm, dry and also allow me to manipulate my fingers well enough to extricate a treat or two from my pocket or pouch. So far, they elude me (if you live in temperatures similar to, or colder than above, and have any you recommend, please let me know!).
For the dogs, it simply means finding activities which don’t take much room so that we can continue to train indoors where it’s toasty and warm, (and pretending to hibernate in a hay bale during chores).
One thing which I find very helpful to work on during winter downtimes is husbandry skills. Whether it’s teaching a dog to do a chin rest in preparation for ear ointment, getting a horse comfortable with a deworming tube, or teaching a dog to file her own nails, all can be done in super-short sessions and all will make life much easier in the future.
To give myself some new projects, I’ve just signed up for a fun, 12 Days of Christmas training series from Donna Hill. Check it out!