Trail clinic builds trust with equines
May 23, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
First a dog on the trail, and then a pool of water. Next, a shrub and then a log. For you, it’s the landscape, maybe a Kodak moment or two.
For your horse, it’s a string of scares.
Darla Kohlruss, president of the Snoqualmie Valley Riding Club, said she wants to change that.
The club is holding trail clinics June 9-10, July 21-22 and Aug. 18-19.
The clinics will teach horses to deal with obstacles they encounter out on the trail, Kohlruss said.
“Things blowing at them, water, logs, going through brush, and having things going through their legs and chest,” she said. “And teaching them to not be afraid of them.”
Instead of actual obstacles, the clinic uses giant balls, floating devices also known as noodles, bridges, ditches and other obstacles, clinic instructor Shannon King said.
The horses aren’t the only ones learning, she added. Riders learn how to help the horses deal with their fears.
“It’s just as much for the riders,” Kohlruss said. “If you’re nervous about something, the horse can feel it.”
The end result of the clinic will be a stronger trust between horse and rider. The horse will look at the trail ahead, without fear.
All clinics happen on weekends. Saturday clinics are $75 with an emphasis on mastering individual obstacles. Sunday clinics will consist of runs on challenge courses. Each run costs $15, with evaluation notes on each run costing $5. A $35 fee gives a rider unlimited runs for the day. The clinics welcome experienced and inexperienced riders alike. You don’t even need to own a horse, Kohlruss she added. If you need one, the club will provide one for $10, King said.
“Anybody who wants to learn about horses,” Kohlruss said, “we are all for it.”
If you go
Snoqualmie Valley Trails Clinic
Snoqualmie Valley Riding Club
13121 415th Way S.E., North Bend