At my stables, the outdoor is larger than my indoor, but also doesn’t have a wall to block the field of vision. The horses can look far into the fields that surround it.
And there’s a lot going on, with a tractor spreading dung on the field, cars rushing past and horses grazing in the back.
It’s a lot to take in for a young horse who’s only been in a safe indoor environment before.
It’s therefore important that you have the groundwork pattern established so you’re able to communicate with your horse in a way that he understands what you’re asking of him.
And, of course, also that he’s able to find a relaxed posture and he gets into relaxed mental state.
I also do the navigational pattern, moving next to the horse and covering the areas I want to cover when riding.
After the groundwork, I get on and move through the groundwork patterns to check whether I get the same feeling in the body and the same level of communication from under saddle.
That’s my first pilot check, following up on what my horse needs. I continue to do that the entire ride until I get a feeling that we can make some transitions to trot, can follow the track and make our way around the arena.
In the video below, I show on Bonita what following the track looks like and what to focus on.