We had several volunteers on Sunday, so we took five of the horses on a walk down the road. The weather was absolutely lovely and the walk was a lot of fun for both humans and horses!
Walking can be very beneficial for horse and human. It’s great exercise and it also helps younger horses get more familiar with strange and new sights, sounds and smells. Three of the horses who went walking with us were younger horses who have not been off the property much.
We played a bit with natural obstacles, including asking the horses to walk back and forth several times over a bit of water in the culvert. Daisy, the sorrel mare in the photo below, was VERY skeptical at first about crossing the water. One of our volunteers, Megan, did an awesome job waiting until she was ready to cross. By letting her have several minutes to think about it, instead of pushing and insisting, Daisy eventually crossed very calmly and smartly. She was very relaxed and didn’t even think about needing to jump it.
Round trip, we walked about 2.5 miles. Not bad! Down at the very end of the road, we met a group of cattle. They were fascinated by the horses and all came running over to the fence line. Some of the horses were pretty intrigued too, especially Rohan, the rescue’s draft cross.
We were impressed with how calm and relaxed all the horses were on the walk. They were great about the traffic, barking dogs, and even birds flying out of the tall grass.
It helped that we had both young horses and more seasoned horses. Rohan, the white draft cross, is a calm headed fellow with lots of experience riding and driving. Jumper, our newest horse and a very laid-back middle aged gelding, also came along. Having a few horses who have been there and done that are great when exposing young horses or green horses to new and exciting situations. The younger horses often will take their lead from the older horses. If the older horses are calm and unbothered, the younger ones learn quickly that everything is okay and safe. We’re looking forward to more Sunday walks with the horses as the weather gets warmer this spring!