Why the open spaces are our favourite

Why the open spaces are our favourite

Training a young horse in the open

Starting my horses has been such an adventure, and so much of our journeys have been based on exploring. Both mares were out on an open trail by their sixth time carrying me.

I believe that taking young horses out on trail adventures is the best way to create a belief in them that riding with a human is fun.

You can jump logs, splash through water, let them run forward freely, show them new and unusual things and share your joy with them. They learn to cope with surprises, and face fears, and learn from you or their equine buddy.

They can find their balance and their stride with a human on board without the restrictions of an arena or round pen.

It's also a great way to prevent herd bound behavior - Both my mares will happily leave the other to go out and explore, (but boy oh boy, the one who gets left behind is mad about it). It also helps that they spend their lives free in a field together so their natural social needs are met.

And, I feel so safe on the trail.

My horses may spook but they quickly turn and look, and often choose to go investigate. They have room to move and if they are tense or high energy we can go forward freely until they feel calmer. 

Who's leading who?

When we are on a trail ride I do my best to let my horses collaborate on what we do - which turn we take, where we trot, when it's time to gallop.

This co-creation of an adventure is sooooo fun and I know the horses appreciate it too.

Often Juno will be quite sure we should go a certain way, and just gently tilts her ears toward it to make her suggestion, so we go that way to explore.

Or Trinny will tell me with a light raise in her energy that she thinks we really should gallop here - she doesn't tug or rush off, just waits for the "okay then, lets!" - and then takes off at what she thinks is a stunning speed (hee hee) with grunts thrown in as she digs in and gives it her best.

And in any area with jumps while we warm up the horses will both give wee gazes at each jump we pass, asking if they can line it up!! I'm often laughing out loud before we've even begun jumping! 

What a cool feeling to have horses asking to do things!

There are times I ask them to do things they wouldn't have done otherwise, but in return I take opportunities to let them make decisions, and it doubles the fun. I think also that it's a way of showing each other respect, by valuing each others ideas - which strengthens our connections.

Last two photos by the amazing & talented Julia Murch Photography.

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