What my horse taught me (horse-riding journal 2)

This is a journal-like exercise pertaining to a 14 h horse-back trail ride, in a region of hills and mountains, between 800 m and 2300 m altitude,  a total of 58 km, in spring time, in a team of 14 individuals: 7 riders and 7 horses.

Hope you enjoy the story as much as we enjoyed the ride and we invite you to tag along in one of the Haidook Experiences opened to the public.

Here is the second “chapter” of the Haidook Experience.

The first one is here  https://madalinavintu.ro/2018/07/26/perspective-horse-riding-journal/   The rest will follow shortly.


Steward is a very good energy manager. He has a very strategic approach to his own energy in terms of consumption dosage over time. He is a slow walker, compared to the other horses in the group. By consequence we were lingering behind quite often, all the way. Sometimes, he even gives the impression of laziness.

The original plan was for a 10h ride. In real life, when we came back, the clock indicated 14hours.

Our ride included some long canter sections in the first 3 hours. Then, as we went higher and higher and the ground turned to rocks, cantering was taken off the options-list.

I had to systematically ask for canter from Steward at the beginning of each of the speedy sections.

As we were covering more and more ground, it turned out Steward always had a reserve of energy. On the steep climbs, over the logs, under the fallen trees, this horse was carefully investing his attention and energy, just enough to achieve whatever was the task and not too much to exhaust himself.

Preferring beginnings, I usually invest a lot of energy at the start and tend to fade out towards the end of the activity I set out to do. I’m very fond of knowing the big milestones of projects: the reference of performance required and time segments. I can deal with all other variables and unknowns.

Looking back at our ride, the 4h difference between the plan and the reality could have resulted in significant fatigue, would I have adopted my usual approach. Lucky me, I had Steward as my partner. He taught me to be more careful with my energy investments over time-segments.

On the day following our ride, everyone was officially resting, both riders and horses. The funny part of this is that Steward was full of energy playing and running around the pasture, ready for a new adventure. I can’t say the same thing about me ?

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