Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
My 3 horses share a corral and often go a month without seeing another horse even at a distance. They tend to become herd-bound. For THAT, I think a 5-10 minute out & back, repeated a lot, works well.
But for calming a horse down, an hour seems to be about the minimum for progress with Mia. The 30-45 minute rides we're doing right now might update her currency, at best.
As a southern Arizona guy, I wear sweaters when the temps drop below 80! When the weather is more to my liking, I've got some 5-6 mile routes planned out, with a mixture of neighborhood, paved streets, desert ATV trails...think I've found a half mile stretch of dirt road where I ought to be able to run Mia without worrying about her falling (she's a klutz).
The trainer who worked with her last year says she needs to go out long enough to relax. As long as she is still fresh and tensed up, the riding doesn't improve her. That seems true from what I've seen. I'm tempted to ask my rancher friend in Utah if he'd take her for a summer of work. A bunch of 12 hours days working cattle or trailing sheep would do wonders for her.
"People can teach us the rules, but only horses can teach us the art of riding."