Here we are, a week into the real riding challenge day 7! And today I decided to continue working Frisby out of the arena. This isn’t just a day for Frisby’s benefit, but Ethan too.
You see, Ethan is buddy sour and has separation anxiety when he can’t see Frisby. So today I decided to take Frisby outside of their pasture, and work him out on the trail. It has the benefit of getting Frisby out of the arena, and also I can work on taking him out of Ethan’s sight, to see how he copes with not being with his buddy.
Separation Anxiety in Horses
This is so frustrating for me. I am assuming it is frustrating for Ethan as well. But he freaks out when he doesn’t get his way, which in short means if he can’t see Frisby at all times, all hell breaks loose. And more often than not, this ends up with Ethan injuring himself.
I have come to the conclusion that something has got to give. I want to work with Frisby without Ethan always having to be there, or worrying about how this is going to effect Ethan. He’s a big boy, and he can deal.
And while I had the intention of working on the trail, I wasn’t able to go on the trail but, I did get out into the pasture and Ethan pretty much ignored us. And after the ride, when I took Frisby back to the barn, Ethan didn’t follow us. He stayed out in the back pasture for a bit on his own. So progress is being made, I think.
I know I have shared with you before that I have a trail system literally right outside my back door. I am very lucky. The trail is kept up very well, and I can rider for at least an hour or two without having to trailer somewhere. And Frisby is typically very good about going out on the trail.
There are large pine trees along the sides of the trail that offer a lot of shade, and just make for a beautiful place to ride. It’s really nice.
And about a half a mile away, there is a large open area that I can work on circles, or anything I want to really. It’s like having a large grassy pasture to work in.
Its fun to go away from home, and just enjoy being with my horse.
And when you can get out and go for a trail ride, you can get your horse used to being away from home and hopefully you can relax because you are not in the arena constantly schooling.
Lessons On The Trail
But even if you are on the trail, you can still teach, and you can learn too! For example, you can find obstacles to jump, or work around.
And you can desensitize your horse to things that might pop up on the trail.
My favorite thing though is you can just enjoy spending time with your horse. After you get over the initial cautious attitude, you relax a little bit and really enjoy your ride. Well I do anyway!
It’s just nice to get out into the world and away from the confines of the arena. Don’t get me wrong, I love working in the arena too, but being out on a trail helps me to really remember how much fun it can be just to get out and ride my horses.
It’s good for all of us actually. Frisby gets to relax, and not always think about working. I get to connect with him, and increase my own confidence while we ride. And even Ethan, he gets to realize that he doesn’t always get what he wants, and he is ok even if he can’t see his buddy.
Mixing It Up Is A Good Thing
Doing different things with my horses is always a good thing. We do different things to keep the training and riding fun and interesting. While arena work is really important, so is getting out of the arena.
This is one thing I am trying to remind myself of during my challenge. And it’s really fun! Sometimes you have to change things up to really love what you do. And while change can be scary, overcoming challenges can really give your confidence a boost.
So if you do have a trail close by that you can ride or walk on, why not give it a try? If you don’t feel comfortable riding out there just yet, tack up your horse and take him for a walk. After a little bit, you might feel ready to ride. And I am pretty confident that when you give it a try, you will love it! So go get your horse, and get out on the trail. Make it a good day, and happy riding!