5 reasons not to ride your horse

There is so much more you can do with your horse, instead of tacking up and riding every time. If you need a valid reason not to ride, you can pick one from the list below;

1 You want to work on your friendship and spend time getting to know your horse better.  

Just sitting with your horse while they graze or eat their hay can be really good for the both of you. It tells your horse you appreciate them for who they are and not for what they can do for you. It can give you a new perspective on your horse and the things you ask him to do for you. It can help you see him as a friend and also encourage your horse to see you as his friend. That can only be a good thing, right?

2 You feel stressed, tired or otherwise unwell

Did you know that just being near your horse can make you feel better? Horses, especially those who are barefoot, are naturally grounded and connecting with them can help you feel grounded too.  Furthermore, your horse has a natural healing energy that can help you rebalance. All you need to do is just be open and enjoy his presence calmly and with no expectation, judgement or hurry.

3 Going for a walk together benefits the both of you

Did you know that gentle walking is very good for both you and your horses health? Why not take a walk together, side by side, exploring the nature, the smells, the sights and everything you might have missed while riding?  Walking is good exercise for you and it is very beneficial for your horse too. Going out together like this also strengthens your bond and gives you a different sense of togetherness.

4 Groundwork is fun and useful!

Desensitising, pole work, going over different materials, through narrow corridors and exploring different objects is all part of training that helps your horse become more confident, curious and playful. These skills and confidence certainly comes to good use under saddle too.

5 You do not always have to achieve – it is ok to take a day off to relax with your horse

Being with horses does not have to be about getting better and doing more. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves and our horses, thinking things like “We need to keep training every day to improve ” “Everyone else is doing so much more than we are ” ” My horse is not educated enough” and ” We should be further in our progress than we are”

This kind of pressure is not necessarily healthy and it can lead to headless overtraining where the horses (and the riders!) real emotions are overridden. Analysis paralysis can be a real enemy too – where we overthink and complicate too much and take all the joy out of being and doing things together.

Maybe next time you go to the barn, just hang out with your horse, invite them to be your friend and enjoy each other. Laugh, breathe, chill… no expectations, no rush, no pressure. You will be surprised!

Pia Saari is the founder and owner of Country Quest Portugal. Throughout her life she has gathered extensive experience with horses in many different ways. She has worked with horses professionally in riding schools, livery yards and racing stables. She has worked in horse rescue and helped numerous horses recover from severe physical and mental negligence. She has studied equine ethology and psychology, learning theory and many other subjects relating to horses. Country Quest Portugal has a mission and a vision to make the world a better place for horses - sharing knowledge by an online course is a very important part of this mission. The course is priced low to make it accessible for everyone who wants to learn how to better care for their horses.