As any enthusiast will testify, once you discover the magic of horse riding it can be difficult to concentrate on anything else. Waking up early to head down to the stables, muck out, saddle up and get out on the open road is one of the greatest joys in life for equestrians, whether professional or amateur.
So, what happens when you can’t make it to the stables? It could be because you’re busy with work or family life, or it could be that you’re on holiday or travelling elsewhere for a different purpose. It could even be because you’re sick and need to rest before you get back in the stirrups. Whatever the reason, luckily there are a ton of online resources for frustrated horse riders to access remotely, through a PC, tablet or mobile phone. From training courses, to video content, to games and social groups, you needn’t feel cut off from the horse riding world, wherever you are on the planet.
First up, there is a lot of video content out there for horse enthusiasts. Whether you tend to prefer dressage, jumping, gymkhana, racing, polo or trail riding, you are guaranteed to find some fantastic footage shot by horse fans just like you. YouTube is the number one resource here, unsurprisingly, as it has so many channels and styles of video to choose from. There are plenty of hair-raising videos shot using a GoPro camera, which really capture the excitement, speed and skill of different equestrian exercises. There are also some beautiful videos shot by professionals, documenting impressive competitive riding, training and more. Organisations such as The British Horse Society have their own libraries of footage, put together over many years in the business and covering all sorts of topics, from instructive content on how to care for your horse, to training videos on how to ride. So, if you’re unable to speak to your own instructor right away, or if you just want to double check a technique, video content is one of the easiest ways to get a quick but complete answer to your question. These videos are also a lot of fun to watch and provide inspiration for your own riding practice.
If you’re still after something entertaining but perhaps a little more light-hearted with no educational overtones, then online gaming is the thing to try. Since there has been such a boom in online gaming over the past few years, it is now possible to find titles focusing on almost any subject and accessible from an array of varying devices. Gaming hubs such as Steam and Origin offer a wide variety of titles ranging from classic table games through to simulators and battle royales. Horse riding specific games such as Star Stable, Horse Isle and My Horse are undeniably great choices which will provide hours of fun whilst away from the real life stables. However, there is also plenty to be found from less obvious sources too.
PokerStarsCasino has a range of slots games, some of which feature horse-adjacent themes like Wild Draw Saloon, which will keep you occupied; alternatively, through Steam, you can access Skyrim or the Assassin’s Creed titles, where you can choose to simply ride your virtual horse through the beautifully rendered landscapes for as long as you like. Although it will never beat the real thing, online gaming is a fun and satisfying way to indulge your passion until you can get back out there to the real thing.
Everybody knows that one of the most appealing aspects of horse riding is the social side of it. Meeting up with other equestrians for group hacks, training sessions or simply a chat over coffee can lead to forming friendships for life and learning a lot more about all things horses than you would find out on your own. Thankfully, the internet has given us hundreds of different channels through which to keep in touch with people, even when we’re not in the same physical location. Aside from WhatsApp groups, Facebook pages and Instagram profiles, there are also riding specific social networks like Equilab, HRN and Albe. Through these online portals you can share all sorts of information from details about your riding practice, to competition results, to updates on your daily training regime. Many of these apps feature direct messaging so that you can chat with fellow riders, stables and even relevant craftspeople like farriers and saddlers. You can also post photos of the view from your sunrise Sunday hack, or of your mount after a fresh groom. The possibilities are endless and the best part is that you’ll connect with other likeminded people through interacting with these niche social networks.