Several of the adult students are working to build confidence, communication, and connection with their horses in anticipation of hitting the trails later this year.
We’ve held group lessons to practice riding in different orders, maintaining appropriate distance between horses, and developing their horses’ confidence within and away from the group. In private and semi-private lessons, students are working on specific concerns, such as water crossing and trailer loading, “controlled catastrophe” and independent seat.
We took a field trip to the wonderful Running I Ranch in Dunnigan, California, where we practiced on trail obstacles in an area and on a trail course. (You can see our photos on our Facebook page.) We’ll head back that way in the spring and see what a difference our prep has made!
Between lessons, students are getting really creative as they play with the various obstacles and challenges they find everywhere on the ranch. (One student ended up walking his horse two miles around the ranch on New Year’s Day, just ambling along and checking things out together.)
Best of all, everyone is taking time to hang out with their equine partners, building rapport and balancing the trail-prep work with downtime and companionship.
You never know what you’re going to encounter on a trail ride. We’re not even talking bears, snakes, and mountain lions. On our local multi-use trails, you’re likely to encounter kids (sometimes with balloons), babies in strollers, cyclists, backpacks, big coats and parkas, people walking singly and in groups, other horses, and dogs. And that’s before you leave the parking lot!
The best way for you and your horse to have a safe and enjoyable experience on the trail is to prepare for anything. Get that mutual confidence, communication, and connection really strong. Develop your physical skills, in the saddle and on the ground. Then, if something does happen — a kid jumps out from the bushes, a dog lunges up and barks, a mountain bike comes zooming around a bend — you and your horse can shrug it off with a “nah, it was nothing” and continue on your way.
If you’d like to develop your trail skills, please contact us about the EPI lesson program. We offer private, semi-private, and group lessons, and we offer a 25% discount for adults who take weekly lessons and pay by the first of the month. You can bring your horse or learn with our lesson horses.