My introduction to horses started a little over five years ago with following Robin to the barn to watch her ride Steen. From there I slowly learned a few things about grooming, tacking, groundwork, and later, riding. My interest grew slowly for a few years, and eventually I ended up with my own horse. My knowledge and confidence with horses has grown immensely in that time, but one thing that hasn’t changed is I still go to the barn with Robin. We have so much fun riding out together, and having the other one there allows us to catch things we would not see on our own and has accelerated the learning process for both of us.
From time to time I do manage to get out to the barn on my own. Robin might be out of town or have a work deadline, but it is never consistent. This summer I had some changes to my work schedule, so for quite a few mornings I got out to the barn early by myself.
It is definitely different going out by yourself. And early in the morning things are so unbelievably quiet. Only once did I see another person, and she was just finishing up barn chores and leaving when I arrived.
In the early morning the horses tend to be clustered up and dozing. Quite a few times I have come across some hard sleeping horses. We go into that pasture so much they don’t mind us at all.
I rode Bear on all the mornings I got out there. A few times he was stiff from sleeping, but he was always happy to come with me.
Our rides were fun and relaxed. We’d work on whatever we needed to work on out on the strip (getting soft, bending, staying relaxed in the lope) and then head out to explore the fields. This is very new for me. Years ago I envisioned myself getting out on the trails, walking, trotting, and loping around all the fields. Just me and my horse. As a biker, skier, and runner this kind of riding made perfect sense to me. But doing it was far harder than I thought. It took years for me to fully understand how a horse moves and thinks and to develop the coordination to communicate with them in a manner that is both reassuring and firm.
I probably arrived at that place earlier than this summer, but as I mentioned, I was almost always riding with Robin. So this summer when Bear and I started getting out on our own, it felt like the most natural thing to do. We could move out down the trail with no problems. We even encountered some new territory together, spooked a turkey, and nearly stepped in a big hole. And none of these were problematic at all, just part of working through things with your horse.
I know for some, getting out alone with your horse is no big deal. Perhaps it is something you’ve always done, or you are fearless, or whatever. But for me these rides have been pretty big, and they’ve opened a few new doors in my relationship with Bear.