Training Tip: “Walking your Horse Out”


There are many reasons you might want to walk your horse out instead of riding out. Your horse may need fittening up or he may be unrideable but okay to walk out so it could be great exercise physically and fun mentally for him. You may be working on getting a better relationship with your horse so walking out would really help you bond OR you may just enjoy walking your horse out.
Sometimes, when a horse is sceptical or worried about being out hacking it can help to walk out in-hand regularly to familiarise to different surroundings, sounds, sights and smells. Once you get used to things you can always decide to mount and ride a bit and if you are riding you can always decide to jump off and walk a bit too.

For Solly and me, walking out in-hand is really helping us to bond in an unfamiliar environment, it helps us look at things together face-to-face where I can read him better. I also have two ageing dogs and this helps give me my much needed exercise. I really enjoy walking out and it’s great to have my good friend Solly out with me.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy



Comfort Zone Training – Strategies & Techniques


  1. Have a PLAN/GOAL to work to, whether it’s walking out, hacking out, agility, competing or starting a young horse.
  2. Make sure you break down your plan into small, bitesized, do-able pieces. Do each piece in order, making sure each piece is made into a relaxed, happy habit before doing more (1-7 times).
  3. Progress slowly but positively, don’t over stretch you or your horse, keep things DO-ABLE.
  4. If your goal is to ride in new places walk in-hand first, build on this until you can ride a bit of it, then more and more. Walking in-hand first helps confidence of the place, your own emotions, your horses issues/thresholds and knowing that it’s safe to ride.
  5. Make sure you know where you comfort zone is ‘now’. To stretch your CZ you need to come out of it and get into the Learning Zone, but return often to your CZ to help keep confidence. Don’t go out of the ‘LZ’ or you’ll end up in the Wildnerness Zone where can get lost or so worried it’s hard to find your way back to your CZ!



  1. Breathe or Sing (to make sure you don’t hold your breathe and cause a brace in your own body).
  2. Visualisation (think through where you are going, see yourself doing your goal).
  3. Walk the route you are wanting to go by yourself first…make sure you know all the steps so that you feel confident before going there with your horse.
  4. Approach/Retreat patterns to use for confidence are circling and figure 8’s and transitions (go towards your goal/back off/repeat until it all feels better to be able to approach/retreat further)
  5. Be very consistent with your plan of action.
  6. If you are riding and think you need to get off then GET OFF….breathe, get confident again and continue. You can always get on again later OR just have a nice walk together and commit to your connection in-hand.
  7. Make sure you can connect and move all 4 feet in all 4 directions (back/forward/left/right).
  8. Find X (the place where you have a comfortable stop/halt). Take this X mentally with you wherever you go and make sure you use it to allow you and your horse time to breathe, relax and stay connected. It can be a gate, mounting block, cone or anywhere you go when you can take X with you once you start knowing you can hold that feeling of safety inside.



  1. Continue stretching your CZ and keep giving yourself goals,
  2. Be happy where you are now and take the pressure off yourself…..just enjoy your horse no matter what you do, each day is a super goal in itself 😉


  • Shelley – HorseSavvy



Picture Quote 1 – ‘To have a true connection…’



Are you and your horse friends? Do you do friend things together?

One of the nicest and easiest way to become friends with your horse is to treat him to things you can do together that don’t demand anything from him and where you have no intent.

Some things you can try are:

  1. Going for in-hand walks together, grazing the hedgerows or grass along the tracks.
  2. Hanging out together in his field. Set up a chair and just ‘be’ together.
  3. Slow, peaceful grooming is very nice. Take as much time as you want and find your horses itchy spots.
  4. Sit down while your horse is laying down dozing and relax together.
  5. Stand with your horse, your hand on his/her shoulder and take each step they do, take the step the way they do and move the way they do, even listen to their breathing and try to breath with them.
  6. If you horse enjoys playing with ‘things’ then maybe even bring in a new ‘toy’ like a large ball and allow him just to play with it himself. You can push it back to him/her but don’t have any intent on making the play structured.

By doing things with no intent with your horse you can really strengthen the bond you have with him/her. SO try to ‘just be a horse with your horse’ for a while and get connected.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy