On walkabout

On Sunday after we finished moving the boys and unpacking/arranging all of our stuff at the new place, the BO invited us to go on “walkabout” with her and another boarder. The barn is off in the back county roads where there isn’t really much traffic, so they often go on rides down the road. When I was a working student at an eventing barn on the east coast most of the horses regularly did road work at least twice a week (by “work”, I mean we would walk through the neighborhood next door for half an hour or so). The science is that a little bit of conditioning work on hard surfaces helps build bone density and strengthen tendons and ligaments. It seems more common in Europe than here, and among eventers. Maybe if everyone just agreed to call it “walkabout” more people would be into it. Road work sounds like something you would do in a hard hat with a jackhammer. Walkabout sounds like a grand adventure.


I’ve never ridden Henry on the roads and he’d had a few days off, plus just moved to a new place, but there were 4 of us in the group and he is generally a cool-headed dude anyway, so I tacked up and off we went. I couldn’t resist the appeal of getting some Vitamin D on a beautiful 75 degree January day while on walkabout with my pony. (best sentence ever)

All four of us – that’s Auto on the right


Riding up toward New Sweden Church, built in 1921.


ADE, CWD and Ogilvy out on the open road


riding back up to the barn

He gave the herd of baby and momma cows a good hearty “What in the holy hell???” jiggy sideways stare, and flinched at a couple cars that passed a little too close for his comfort, but otherwise he was great. About halfway through he settled and ambled the rest of the way on a long rein.

I’m excited to be able to add a little bit of road work (er, sorry, WALKABOUT) to our repertoire. Plus the new barn is only about a mile up the road from a good friend’s place, so I can literally ride my horse to her house!


20 thoughts on “On walkabout

  1. so jealous of 75 in January. Darn it I miss Texas. Look at Henry he will become a trail horse before long 🙂 Looks like they all had fun walkabouting 🙂


  2. Every time I hear someone say ‘walkabout’ I think of the guy from the tv show Lost whose name I’m totally blank on on right now…

    Where my barn is situated we have to walk down roads to get to the trails – I think it’s great for desensitization with all the cars going by and people doing yard work and what not! Plus it makes for a great warmup before we’re actually on the trail and then a nice cool out after!


  3. Wow, cool to know I have been doing something good for my horse without even knowing it! There’s even a term for it “Road Work”. This actually makes me feel more purposeful when I go for a walk with my pony on the roads, and less like I am just farting around because we have no indoor 🙂


  4. it was such a fun walk! i felt so, so good afterward and i think auto did, too. it was, however, clear to me toward the end of our walk that he needs roadwork in his weekly regimen, so count on more walkabouts from hens and auto.

    hooray for the adventures of henry and auto at NSCS!


  5. When I lived in Scotland, I did road work 5 days a week – 3 for each horse and then a dressage school one day and a jump school another. I would ride one and pony one and did this twice a day so all 4 horses got worked. I did short rides with hill work and other longer rides doing interval work. Such a different mindset over there…but it is so beneficial to do road work. Now my farm has a nice quiet road with hills so I am able to road work again. The absolute best for conditioning!


  6. Hah – I didn’t know there was a word for road-trail-riding (that’s what I’ve always thought of it as 🙂 ). I also didn’t know there was a specific benefit to conditioning on a hard surface. Very cool, thank you!


  7. nice! this time of year pretty much the only places to ride at my barn are the gravel paths, driveway and parking lot… maybe i should do more of it for the ‘conditioning on hard surfaces’ effect?


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