Does a little voice inside scream, “Don’t do it! You could die!” when you think about riding your horse? If so, you might consider exercising someone else’s horse instead.
You don’t have to ride a horse fast to exercise him. In fact, walking is great for horses just as it is for humans and all that extra riding will give you confidence and skill you can put to work later with your own horse.
How do you find a horse to exercise? Fate has a way of stepping in at times like this, but you can help Fate along by spreading the word. Friends, feed stores, saddle shops, boarding stables … there are many ways to network with your horse community. What you’re looking for is a calm, well-broke horse that isn’t ridden as often as he should be. Simply lay out your proposition to the owner – you exercise the horse for free – and see what happens.
The horse on which I cut my teeth was an 11-year-old paint gelding named Thunder. He was the pride and joy of a family friend who could no longer ride. She was thrilled that I wanted to ride him and for years we essentially shared Thunder. She benefited, I benefited, and Thunder benefited.
If the first horse you try doesn’t work, no big deal. Just calmly move on until you find one that’s right. He’s out there, I promise. Once you find him, do your best to ride a couple times a week. A shorter session in the arena and a longer trail ride would make a nice combination.
Remember, action is your friend. Inaction is your enemy.