Horses: Tips and Analysis

Nothing there, because the fun for you and your horse should begin in the terrain. Every rider will dream of riding relaxed through the woods and fields and letting their thoughts wander. However, not everyone gets on their horse in a relaxed manner and concerns are buzzing around in your head. As your horse senses your mood, it will also change its behavior. So that this vicious circle doesn’t thwart your ride, here are a few tips on how you can prepare both yourself and your horse for trail rides.

The Preparation

If you are currently busy training your horse in the hall or on the field, use obstacles that your horse has to work with. These can be jump booms, tree trunks, or branches. Do not position these according to a fixed pattern, but vary them each time. Change the distances and angles to each other. Your horse shouldn’t get used to a pattern at all but should be active at every encounter. It promotes concentration. Also, take a look at how your horse handles the objects. It should not show any fear – otherwise, it would have to be used before the objects are used in training. In the terrain, objects, branches, etc. are also not at a distance or angle from one another. If your horse already knows such bumps from training, it will be easier for him to deal with them in the field. A great second side effect is that you also learn to assess your horse better.

  1. In the long run, different surfaces should be trained. This makes your horse safer and more relaxed. A bit of stumbling can be part of it at the beginning – so be careful! This will quickly decrease over time as your horse will focus on the path. It becomes more creative itself and looks for solutions. But you will also notice while riding that your horse will develop better body awareness. Share these successes and praise precisely in these moments, it gives him an additional good feeling.
  2. With preparatory training for the terrain, different surfaces are suitable not only because of their mental but also because of their anatomical advantages. Muscles, ligaments, joints, circulation, etc. are trained and therefore less susceptible. You should make sure that you challenge your horse regularly, but not overwhelm it. Find a rhythm that is good for your horse. There is no fixed training time but adapt the training individually. Plan your workout slowly. Ride a route that you already know 90% of the time, then choose another new route for a moment before turning back on the familiar path. That too trains your horse without overwhelming it. If you have the opportunity to ride a bit through the water with him, use this too, as the foreign medium offers a good training sequence again – of course, the prerequisite is of course that your protégé knows and likes water!
  3. Check the signals you taught your horse. If you know that your horse will react safely when you say “Stand”, for example, that gives security and reliability. Also try out that your horse converts the signals from different positions, sometimes while you are riding, sometimes while you are walking next to him or it is at a distance from you.
  4. Horses who are new to cross-country riding can be accompanied by experienced horses. Of course, good planning by the riders is also a prerequisite for success here. Be prepared for the fact that your horse may also change its pace, as it has a larger radius outside than inside the hall or a riding arena.
  5. Changing pace is fun – both horse and rider! Take a close look at the reaction time and check how long it takes for your horse to implement your aids. In the field, it could be that a faster or more precise reaction is necessary. You can encourage this by, for example, confirming the perfect stopping particularly well. Your horse will quickly understand that it is more worthwhile to stop faster. With all the fun at the different tempos, keep an eye on how your horse is feeling after the gaits – especially the faster ones. Breathing as well as the cardiovascular system should appropriately return to a normal rhythm.
  6. You can also support your horse if you pay attention to the following when there are differences in altitude:
  • if you ride downhill, the exciting task for your horse is that it has to keep its balance. Lean slightly backward, in the truest sense of the word, based on the respective slope. This body movement makes it easier for your horse to put more weight on the hindquarters.
  • if you ride uphill, give in with the reins, but still keep soft contact with the horse’s mouth and sit relieving. As a result, your horse can use its thrust from the hindquarters to the front.

In general and on even planes, make sure you change your stretching posture regularly. Follow the nodding movement of your horse. That is good for him.

The Training for You, So That You Can Also Become (Even) Safer:

Safety first – protect yourself with protective clothing, the minimum is a good riding helmet! Warning colors and reflectors are absolutely appropriate in twilight and darkness. Even if you are a passionate and experienced rider, it gives you security – also mentally. A gain for a good transfer of mood.

You have a route in mind that you would like to (re) try, so walk it first. Take a look at the soil conditions. What pitfalls could there be? If there are ground variants that your horse is not yet familiar with, then get your horse used to them first and take him for a walk there. Do not sit up again until you are more familiar with the ground conditions. Solid floors that are dry are suitable for a start.

Listen to your gut feeling. If you have the impression that you or your horse need a break or more time to get to know something new, do this immediately and give yourself space and time to sniff everything in peace. That gives courage for the further course.

Give in with the reins. Try to only pick up the reins when you want to communicate with your horse, otherwise, loosen them. On the one hand, there is no unwanted transmission of mood and, on the other hand, your horse relaxes better this way.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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