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Learning to ride

I like these easy days between Christmas and New Year. Yesterday I had two customers for massage, today only one. Time to enjoy the hours of sunlight, as they aren't that many at this time of the year.

Last night we got some fresh snow. After shoveling my yard I took the horses for a walk. I don't have any formal training in riding, and I have a young untrained mare. She is the first horse in my life I try to train mostly by myself, and for her I'm the first person ever to sit on her back. I guess that makes us even. We have to try, learn and find our ways together. Last winter we started to train riding, and have been proceeding slowly since then.

While we were still at my yard I let my black gelding go free and mounted the young mare. The gelding went to eat hay from a big bale next to my house, and I asked the mare to head towards a snowy forest trail away from the yard. She showed some signs of hesitation, but agreed to go when I kept on asking nicely. When we got some steps away from the yard, I dismounted, giving her a lot of cheers for being such a fine horse. Then I went on walking, leading her after me. And shortly after the gelding ran after us. I like the feeling of going together with both of the horses.

We walked about one kilometer away from my place, watching the beatiful snowy trees, spotting tracks of elk and hare. After we had turned back, I asked the mare to stand still next to a tree-stump. She wasn't wearing a saddle, and I can't mount the way John Wayne does, so I have to stand on block of wood if I want to get on a horse. At first she refused - taking a step backwards. No problem, I asked her again, and this time she was standing peacefully while I mounted. The stump wasn't very high, so I actually had to jump bit of the Wayne style. This time the gelding was going in front of us, and that way we happily went all the way back home.

Well, taking pictures while riding a horse wasn't so easy. But here are some of the shots I managed to take.

riding together
riding together
heading back home
heading back home
The horses enjoy going together
The horses enjoy going together
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Without formal training, how do you even go about figuring out how to train a horse? I suppose you have had "informal" training?

Beautiful horses by the way, and a beautiful forest! Pictures came out real good, considering.

My horses are both of Finnhorse breed, beautiful creatures well suited for our climate and environment.

I have no training in techniques of riding. Otherwise I have attended horsemanship clinics by Noora Ehnqvist. Her courses have been essential for me, and I guess I'll post a lot more about that later on =) Ah, and I once read "Horses Never Lie" by Mark Rashid. It greatly helped me to clarify my thoughts about leadership.

Also, I find that when working with horses I can draw from the experience I gained being dad to my own kid. And from what I've learned going through my own therapeutical process. The essentials are the same: build on trust, give example, have patience and do everything with love.



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