Each horse at SAFE has a different timeline when it comes to getting where they’re going — be it to live out their days as a companion or to wear a saddle and carry a rider — but for the most part, the milestones they complete and the skills they learn are standardized across the board. They all learn how to lead politely, how to have their feet handled, what it feels like to wear a blanket. For some, that is really the most that will be expected of them. But for those joining the ranks of our riding program, the checklist is a little longer. The aforementioned basics lay some of the foundation of their education, but there is an entirely separate list of skills riding horses must learn. For this group, the list includes learning to ride outside of the confines of a round pen. This is a multi-faceted exercise for the horse — not only is the space much larger, but they must be able to follow a line and have a good one-rein stop, among other things. Essentially, their level of education must be at a point where they can take both comfort and direction from their rider reliably.

Poppy has recently reached this point. More often than not these days, she rides in the arena more than in the round pen, and is doing very well at following both a line and a feel. Take a look at one of her more recent rides below: