A ride in the desert

It's a unique experience where I spend my winters because we are near the largest sand dunes in all of North America...  Yet, as much as those dunes where hundreds of thousands of people come out to play on motorized "toys" every year, there's plenty of other desert that does not look like a realitve to the Sahara...

It wa spring break here and we organized a small ride out into the desert... Even on these rides there's still an "awareness" and not just brainless trail riding... A client rode one of my horse's and kept saying how nice it was to ride a horse that just "went" - no spook, no worry about where he was in the group, the four dogs racing around him, etc.  He patiently waited while she took pictures, was reasonable when he crashed through a hidden snake hole, etc. 

What a lot of people don't realize is, the horse didn't just "happen" to turn out that way.  Years of "baby steps" pieced together over time slowly built his confidence (not just experience) and how he viewed being worked with.  So by the time you place "any" rider on him, he has enough "eel good" to mentally and emotionally feel good even if not supported by his rider. 

So next time you head out on a trail ride- assess where your brain is at and how much you are supporting your horse throughout the ride versus if you are just "going for the ride."  If you're not "there" for your horse, don't be suprised if he has a melt down and doesn't turn to you for help, but rather "takes over" and offers undesired behavior.

Riding out should be fun, not seeing if you are going to "survive" the ride.  It's a lot slower route to offer short term experiences to your horse, but if the quality is there, you'll see a difference immediately.  We were discussing the "wet saddle blankets" theory.  In my mind why just randomly ride and ride and ride until your horse is so exhausted before they can listen?  Why not build a relationship where within a few steps you can influence your horse's entire mental and emotionaly status for the ride?

Good Luck,

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