Connecting to your trail riding horse while on horse riding holiday

Creating a bond with a new horse in a strange country, while out exploring the world on horseback is incredible. It can be difficult to connect with a new horse so quickly though, and it would be a shame to miss out on such an incredible bond when it’s very well possible! In this blog post I’ll tell you all about bonding with a new horse, and staying connected to your horse while out on trail. 

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Bonding with a new horse

When you only have a week to get to know your trail riding horse for the holiday, the process is of course a bit different from buying a new horse you plan on keeping forever. When you’re on your horse riding holiday, ask to meet the horses before the ride, so you can spend some time with them. You’ll often be allowed to brush them, and occasionally you’ll be allowed to tack them up if you’re used to the saddles and bridles they use. 

Horse and riding swimming
One of my favourite horses in the world, Fayrouz in Egypt

Staying connected to your horse while riding

A lot of people I’ve taught horsemanship over the years tell me they have a hard time staying connected to their horse in the saddle. They are very connected in the groundwork, and feel a real bond with their horse. It’s obvious the horse trusts them and enjoys being in the person’s space. However, as soon as the person gets on, the horse gets insecure, the rider seems disconnected, and the bond isn’t at all noticeable anymore. This can happen to you on horse riding holidays too, but it doesn’t have to! 

Horse riding holiday in Italy
Fiera and I in Italy

While on horse riding holiday, the main activity you’ll do with your horse for the week is riding, so of course you’d love to feel connected to your horse during the trails! While you’re riding, make sure you talk to them. Whether you just keep calling your horse a good boy or girl, or you’re telling your horse about all their good qualities, or talking about the beautiful surroundings, just make sure they hear your voice. Besides feeling more connected to your horse, it will also make the horse more confident as you’re more relaxed in the saddle when you talk and are forced to breathe. 

Appaloosa horse in Africa
Imvula and I in Namibia

Notice the smallest things in your horse

We often forget to look at or notice the smallest signals from our horse. A good example is when a horse walks away from you. Often people think the horse doesn’t like them or isn’t interested in them, and you’ll feel upset about that. However, we forget to notice that their ears are still focused on us as they graze a little bit further ahead, and the connection isn’t lost at all. Horses constantly mirror us, our mental state and our emotions. Some horses are more obvious about it, and some horses are very subtle in their mirroring. While you’re riding and chatting to your horse on trail, make sure you’re paying attention to their ears pointing towards you and listening to you. This will make you happy and content, and your horse will mirror you. Also notice how every day your horse becomes more in sync with you as you ride through the wilderness together. 

Cattle drive on horseback in Argentina
Luna and I (black horse) in Argentina

The horses I’ve connected to the most while traveling on horseback

I’ve had the pleasure of riding thousands of horses in my life, and while I remember every single one of them, a few of them stand out and left a lasting impression. These are the horses I clicked with on a whole other level in only a week! 

Horses around the world

That all being said, there are of course instances where you simply just haven’t been matched to the right horse, it happens. On all the Hooves equestrian trips, you’re able to switch horses if you feel like you aren’t clicking with your horse, and please feel free to do so! 

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