On my Facebook feed I keep seeing posts about the 100 miles a month challenge. Maybe you’ve seen them too? The idea is that over the course of a month you walk a hundred miles with your horse. Not riding at a walk, but walking with your horse. The goal is to develop partnership, help your horse listen to you, and increase your horse’s confidence.
As regular readers of Equine Ink know, two Januaries ago, Zelda fell with me on the ice. It’s left me a bit leery about riding when there’s snow and ice on the ground (like there is now), so I thought I might try it. Please note: I’m not advocating pro or con the program, which costs $99. I just used the idea as an inspiration.
I’m now on Day 3 of my walking adventure. Day 1 was sunny and not too cold. Freedom doesn’t have winter shoes yet, so I thought he’d enjoy some time outside his pasture. We headed out for our normal trail ride, keeping off the slippery bits.
But my normally agreeable gelding, who never hesitates to leave his barnmates behind, had different plan. He became the proverbial kite on a string. A 1200 pound kite on a leadrope that seemed quite insignificant.
He twirled and bounced and screamed for his “girls” back at the farm. He circled me at the end of his rope and I was pretty much at the end of mine! There were times when I wondered if he might get away from me. I
figured the worst that could happen would be that he would run home.
I tried putting the chain over his nose, but that had no effect at all. In desperation, I put the chain through his mouth. Bingo. Instead of a bouncing lunatic, I had a well mannered horse who stayed by my side, even if he did prance and bounce.
We covered about a mile (Freedom probably covered fifty percent more), and it took us 45 minutes.
Day 2, I took Zelda. Given the first day’s experience, I decided she should wear her bridle, rather than a halter. I probably didn’t need it. She was a perfect lady. In fact, she seemed bemused that I was walking beside her and perhaps, appreciated not having to work.
Zelda and I covered almost two miles. The biggest problem that I had with her was that she kept trying to eat.
Day 3 was Freedom’s turn again. This time he wore a bridle but he was a different horse. He balked a bit but for the most part he had figured it out. No calling, no twirling and no circling me. Thank goodness, because he made me really dizzy.
Do you ever take your horse for walks? How did it impact your relationship with them?