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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An additional note....

On running home.

First I would like to add that yesterday was NOT the first time I've done this with Farley, the story was only notable as it was on a trail that I tend to be very cautious on - Minx fell with me on this trail etc etc. The ride was just made absolutely amazing by the fact I felt so comfortable on this trail and yesterday I needed a trail ride like that - the kind where you can't wipe the smile off your face afterwards.

I like "running" home with a horse. I don't do it all the time and I don't do it right away, but at some point with all the horses I have owned or ridden I ask them to gallop home.


If a horse can stay light and responsive while going home at speed, chances are we have progressed in our relationship where I will have their attention in most situations.

If a horse gets chargey, I half halt and ask again. If the horse starts to get hot, I ask for a walk.

I think it's a mostly a mental thing for the rider. I've met plenty of people who adamantly refuse to go above a walk on the way home. In every instance I've seen of a horse running home out of control, the rider had panicked - usually even before the situation was out of control and there was still time to rectify it.

I think the best lesson a horse can learn is that at any speed, at any direction, the rider always has control. This control is gotten in baby steps - never asking for more than you can handle or feel comfortable with.

Anyone have any thoughts? Does the old adage "never run a horse towards home", or "never go back faster than you went out" hold true for your horsey life"?

(Disclaimer: I am NOT recommending that everyone go out and do this, or even that you have to do this to be a "good" horseperson. It just seemed like an interesting topic of discussion.)


  1. You know, I almost always come home faster than I go out.

    If I push Dixie to speed up, she tenses up all over, just a bit, and she either trots or racks. If I let her pick her speed, she will walk and stay nice and loose. The best way to get a running walk is to let the horse walk as fast as it can, as long as it stays loose - so that's what we do. She can go as fast as she wants on the way home, as long as it's a loose walk. If she tenses up and tries to rack or canter, I slow her down to a walk.

    Sounds like you had an awesome ride!

  2. Heh heh heh, your timing for this is excellent, because I have *always* walked towards home...until yesterday!

    Fiddle was working very well, very light and responsive all day, and had TONS of energy to burn, wanted to go-go-go. So when we turned towards the trailer, we did everything EXCEPT walk: we practiced trot/canter and canter/ trot transitions, and even worked on a lovely collected trot with lots of hind-end impulsion.

    It turned into a very nice schooling session because we were both getting something that we wanted!

  3. hahaha...I am a bad influence and have totally taught my baby horse to gallop when we get to this one field and we are heading home. It is fun! And no one else rides him so I am not worried about him having someone else not want to do it. I suppose it it not the best thing to teach a horse, but he still responds to me if I ask him not to run so it is not like he is on total auto pilot.


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