To live your passion of the horse without constraint is possible thanks to the horse trek. It allows you to be in contact with nature, whether in the countryside, the sea or the mountains. Intended for all ages, it can be practiced at a quiet pace (at the walk) for beginners or more dynamic (trotting or galloping) for the experienced. The next step is horse trek.
Stroll and horse trek
The ride takes place over a short period of 1 to 3 hours maximum. On the other hand, horse trek is done over a minimum of one day, or even over several days. In the latter case, it is necessary to provide equipment adapted to the horse and the rider. The rider must be experienced, contrary to the ride which does not require a high equestrian level to start.
Where to go horse trek ?
Many riding schools offer horse trek, especially during the vacations, as some regions are more suitable for it than the big cities.
For a successful horse trek, here are some tips :
- Opt for a club labeled leisure by the National Stud, a guarantee of quality and seriousness.
- If you go in a group, you will be accompanied by an instructor or an AET (Accompanist of equestrian tourism), the latter being qualified for outdoor riding.
- Your guide must know how to navigate on any route and know the equestrian paths, because :
- You can't ride a horse wherever you want : you must respect the marked trails and the public highway.
- The horse is considered a vehicle.
The cavalry proposed by the club
The approved equestrian tourism clubs propose a cavalry adapted to the stroll and to the punctual riders :
- They are docile and not very shy horses that go everywhere.
- They have the art of adapting to any situation, unlike city club horses that only go out of the arena or the ring a few times.
- Generally, city horses are afraid of everything, they are said to be "on the eye", which is much more delicate when you are a beginner.
Good to know : some breeds like the Merens, the Fjord or the Henson are more expert than others in the outdoors.
What are the benefits ?
Horse trek is beneficial for the rider, but also for the horse. It brings a feeling of well-being and a privileged link between the rider/horse couple.
Advantages for the rider
The practice of riding has many advantages :
- The conviviality is there and allows to spend a good moment to contemplate mother nature on the back of his horse.
- We evolve in an idyllic setting which brings a great breath of fresh air and invigorating from all points of view.
- horse trek is also an ecological way to discover the nature that surrounds us.
- Finally, you learn to control your horse outside and to manage your fears, especially when you go out alone with your horse.
Benefits for the horse
For horses that are doing something other than riding, such as riding in the arena, quarrying or showing, it allows them to decompress. It's great for their mental and physical health ! You can choose to do :
- quiet walks to relax them
- trotting to make them more enduring on the cardiac level
- gallops, a bit of release, which do not hurt and please the rider as well as the horse
How does a horseback ride work ?
If you are an inexperienced rider, your horse is usually prepared. On the other hand, if you are already a more or less experienced rider, you will have to get down to work by preparing the mount that is assigned to you, i.e. grooming and harnessing your riding companion. In addition, the horses are designated to the rider according to their equestrian level. Thus :
- A beginner will have a placid horse, a "good professional" who knows the art of riding.
- On the other hand, an experienced rider will be given a slightly more spirited horse that he will have to know how to control, or even a young horse that is just starting out in the business.
Course of the ride
In group, a golden rule is to keep the place which is allotted to us before leaving :
- We follow each other in a straight line.
- The instructor who is in charge and leads the ride is in front and the beginners are placed as close as possible to him to be able to give them advice.
- The experienced riders are placed in the middle or last.
For safety reasons, each horse should be kept about 1.5 meters apart. The objective is that :
- The horse in front does not hit the horse behind.
- Distances are maintained when changing gaits.
- A greater distance encourages the lagging horse to catch up with his companion much more quickly.
The AET decides on the pace changes. Here are some rules to follow:
- Under no circumstances should you pass each other, especially when changing from trot to canter.
- A horse that passes another horse will speed up to overtake him and may hit another horse, which may kick, taking the whole cavalry with it. This is a recipe for disaster, especially if the riders are not all experienced in the field.
It is therefore imperative to listen carefully to the advice of the AET when changing gaits.
Tips for a successful horse trek
For a successful and serene ride, keep these tips in mind :
- When assigning horses, do not lie to the instructor about your riding ability, as this would make the ride less than enjoyable and you could endanger the entire group.
- In any case, the instructor will see very quickly if you really know how to ride, because tests are made before leaving. So, even if you have reserved your place in a group of experienced riders, if the AET considers that you do not have the level, you may be refused. They will prefer to refund your money or offer you another ride appropriate to your level.
- You should know, for example, that the tempting beach ride is often done at all three paces and especially with long gallops on the beach, if safety permits. However, this requires the necessary knowledge. So be reasonable and wait until you have the level.
- In most cases, the riding groups are homogeneous, which avoids many setbacks or accidents. Thus, beginners can quietly enjoy their walk while taking advantage of the benefits of nature, while experienced riders can enjoy stronger sensations at the rhythm of trots and gallops.