For this week’s Wisconsin Outdoors, I headed up to Merrill and Blue Haven Stables to do a little horseback riding.
Every year an estimated 30 million Americans will ride a horse, both for recreation and competition, but regardless of why you decide to saddle up there are a few basics you should know.
“Walk up to them very gently and quietly.,” said Wayne Jahnke, co-owner of Blue Haven. “You don’t want to walk behind the horse and you don’t want to run up to them.”
Once you’ve successfully approached and mounted your horse, it’s all about using your body to communicate what you want it to do.
“You’ve got to realize it’s all about the pressure you put on them,” said Blue Haven’s other owner Sharon Jahnke. “You aren’t talking to them, you’re basically working your body with them, with your hands, your legs and they can tell that. It’s all about the touch, the feel.”
Once you are comfortable around the horse and riding the horse, that’s when the true bonding begins.
“That’s a connection that, people don’t realize how big hearted horses are, and how kind they are” said Wayne. “They’ll do anything for you, to the point where they’ll break their legs or drop over dead just for you.”
Sharon shares her husbands sentiment. “You go buy a horse and you love them, they give it all back to you, but people think just because they’re a big animal they don’t… they absolutely do.”
I would have to agree. After just a short time on their horse Pride, I could feel the respect that we each had for each other. I could also see why so many people choose to head out into nature on horseback every year.
If you’d like to see more of my visit to Blue Haven check out the video above.
If you’re interested in learning more about the services offered at Blue Haven click here to check out their website.