I started going for walks with one of my horses last week, and I do mean walks – he walks, I walk down the road. He’s a really good walking partner in fact, although he did seem to fixate rather long on a flock of turkeys this morning. There were a lot of them, and they did end up flying when we got even with them. Quite an aerial show, popping up like popcorn with wings.
People don’t expect you to go walking with your horse. Your dog, yes that’s expected. Your horse, not so much. I used to walk with my dogs. We live on a gravel road in the country and there is traffic in spurts, but the real issue was that my dogs began believing that the roadway was part of our property and protecting it. I’m sure that my horse won’t get that idea and even if he did, he’s fenced in.
I was surprised by some traffic; how polite the milk truck driver was, he slowed way down and gave us plenty of room. He never did that when I was alone or had the dogs with me. Conversely, yesterday three young women in a white car zoomed past and cut in behind us. My horse was not impressed and he and I both took some large steps into a ditch. On their way back (who knows where they were going) they went really slow. I guess they didn’t want to cause horsey havoc after all.
I wish I had thought of taking my horse walking before. I spent several months with no walking partners. This is lots better. The other advantage is that I can get some horse training in at the same time as morning exercise (ah, you’re wondering why I’m not just riding? well, it takes too much time to tack up and un-tack, our road has deep, unforgiving ditches and some careless drivers, and to get the same amount of exercise I’d need to post and he’d need to trot, etc. This works better.).
My other horses are starting to notice that Scout is getting special treatment. I may have to go to an alternating schedule. I chose him to walk with because he’s an ‘easy keeper.’ He can use the walking time for exercise as much as I can. They don’t seem to take that into account.
Maybe they are right and everyone should get equal treatment, if they want it.
There is a parable about a zen professor climbing to a mountain top to talk to a Master, and all he has are questions. The Master asks him if he would like some tea, he holds out a cup and then keeps pouring, overflowing. The lesson is about leaving space in yourself so you can actually take in answers otherwise all the wisdom is just lost in the overflow. Maybe that is why it took me so long to figure out I had an alternative walking partner just waiting for a chance to go walking.
- Does the horse choose us? part 1 (keepinghouseandhorse.com)