Trail riding sure is good for the soul
I saw a funny statistic the other day about how horsewomen apparently live longer lives!
They mentioned it was the extra exercise involved with having horses. The benefits of spending time with an animal that contributed to a happier mood and also the connection with other horsey people in horse-related activities.
Well, I certainly agree that picking up horse manure and just pottering around the paddocks keeps me fit. And scratching my horse gives me as much pleasure as it does my horses.
The last point I find especially important is spending time with other people who also love horses and my favorite place to do this is on the trail.
The true value of a good friend
I have a special few friends where we have a secret understanding when it comes to supporting each other on the trail. We have a certain unspoken expectation that we will always be there for each other in any situation.
An example of this is when my young horse won’t lead over an obstacle like a muddy puddle. My friend has an older more experienced horse and they always take the lead. This helps my horse grow in confidence on the trail.
We always communicate when we are about to trot or canter and we have an emergency call which is “stop”. This may sound over the top yet we all have the same goal. We want our horses to become a safe trusted trail horse.
Some rides are faster than others as we both have young horses and older horses. We tend to ride a young one with a more experienced horse as this also helps the young horse observe a calm leader.
I have been very lucky in meeting such like-minded horsey friends. I have also realized that having a committed riding day each week shows that we are all serious about our trail riding.
It helps to create a trust that you won’t let down your riding buddy.
I think the best way I have grown is by the support of my horsey friends.
Like when I was nervous in traffic with my young horse, they would say things like, “Breath Vanessa” or we will dismount if that is appropriate.
Encouragement is always appreciated. We have also given each other permission to let the other know if they are riding in a crooked position.
This keeps us committed to keeping our horse healthy and sound. Plus, the wonderful conversations and the beautiful scenery and that awesome feeling of being in the saddle on your best friend is priceless in my mind.
Trail riding really is good for the soul, especially when your with your friends who can share the experience and help you along the way.
By Vanessa Macdonald