Whether you ride horses as a hobby or as a sport, you know sound training is important. No matter where you’re riding, you have an animal weighing around a ton with a mind of its own between your knees. Making sure your horse is well-trained is not just a matter of winning ribbons but also a matter of safety. Including cross-training into your normal routine can help keep you safe and keep your horse engaged. 

Improves Balance and Focus

One of the biggest things that mixed training will improve in both you and your horse is your overall balance. In all disciplines, especially ones that require speed and dexterity, such as jumping or barrel racing, balance is a crucial thing to have. Without it, your horse could stumble and get injured, or you could fall and face critical injuries yourself. By slowing down your training and working on a smaller scale, you can greatly improve the balance between both of you. 

Mixing up your regular training also improves your horse’s focus. Horses are living animals and can become bored with their jobs. This boredom can sometimes lead to them missing a jump or becoming stubborn when asked to work, so it’s important to keep them engaged. Rather than doing your everyday training, drag some schooling horse jumps out and combine exercise with fun while involving their mind. This will help them focus on you rather than just fall into a routine, keeping you both safe in the process. 

Targets Individual Issues

Another huge benefit of mixed training is that it allows you to focus on your horse’s individual training issues. If you noticed a problem on a previous ride, getting your horse out of their normal routine will allow you to work on that problem specifically until you don’t have to deal with it anymore. This isn’t meant to break your horse’s spirit, but rather open a channel of communication between the two of you in a place where you have the time to do so. 

By changing up your routine and allowing your horse to do something that isn’t normal, you’ll find it’s much easier to understand their body language as well. When they’re not in their comfort zone, they won’t hesitate to let you know what’s wrong, making it much clearer for you to see what the problem is. This clarity allows you to pinpoint any issues safely and fix them before they grow to be serious problems. 

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut with your horse, switch up your training a little. Train in something you don’t usually do, and you’ll find that both you and your horse will be much more well-rounded.