Proper gear/clothing (horse-riding journal 9)

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 seventh „chapter”. The previous one is here  The rest will follow shortly. 

I can’t stress enough the importance of proper clothing and gear. Both for riders and horses, the tack and clothes are determinant for well-being and safety. In riding, comfort translates directly into safety, especially for the horses. I have two simple arguments for this: during this ride, the total temperature difference was more than 20 degrees Celsius and we found snow on one of the mountain sides, when coming down from the peak.

Choosing the right gear also translated in less equipment overall, reducing both the total weight distributed on each horse and the amount of inventory we had to pack and manage.

I tried a new set of long sleeves T-shirts and felt amazingly well. I highly recommend smart investment in gear. It will save a lot of body energy and mental focus, which will be better use in enjoying the ride and making smart decisions along the way.

We only have so much attention and mental energy to spare. If we use a lot of it for many small decision, we will have less when the big decisions are needed. Physical (dis)comfort takes a lot of mental focus away from the upper layers and into the small but essential details like body temperature.

Working in a lot of outdoors horse assisted education seminars I’ve had the opportunity to observe this, live, unfolding right in front of me or directly inside me. For anyone to pay attention to their emotional or cognitive processes, we all need to be in a somewhat comfortable state of body-mind. Too cold, too windy, too hot and off our attention goes from deep internal conversations to the more urgent survival-type of decision. Again, in riding, good decisions may be needed for safety matters, for the horse or for the rider.

Luckily for me, as I’ve already said in one of the previous chapters, I had Steward as a great teacher on energy conservation, which was made possible by the good choices we made when preparing for this ride.

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