Staying Grounded: Unmounted Ways to Enjoy Horses

April 20, 2023

a woman with a small ponytail and a grey ASPCA branded shirt holding the face of a brown horse

If you prefer to enjoy horses from the ground versus in the saddle, you’re not alone. Many people enjoy their horses without ever sitting astride. If you’re interested in bonding with a horse from the ground, consider adoption—there are many wonderful horses who need a non-riding home.  

There are endless ways to enjoy your newly adopted horse, so whether you’re looking for a goal to keep your barn time focused, want to compete or simply want to try something new, check out these fun ideas: 

  1. Did you know that adopted horses of all colors are eligible for registration with the Pinto Horse Association? Once registered, you and your horse can sign up for the On the Trail program and every hour you spend together will count toward achievements and rewards. What could be better? 
  2. If you’re looking to test your communication with your horse, consider trying equine agility. Similar to what you’ve likely seen with dogs, you’ll learn how to guide your horse through a series of obstacles without physically leading them. This is a great way to train new skills, meet like-minded horse lovers and improve your horsemanship. 
  3. Liberty is a fast-growing sport that highlights the bond between a horse and their handler. There are many liberty horse trainers dedicated to the discipline, a series of competitions around the country, and a variety of different classes designed for novices and professionals alike. Ranging from in-hand patterns for less experienced horses all the way to bridleless events, there’s something for everyone! 
  4. Ditch your regular gym routine and go for a run with your equine friend. More and more horse owners are finding enjoyment walking or jogging with their horses around the barn. Who said you need to be mounted to hit the trails? If your horse is well-mannered and leads well, there are adventure opportunities just outside your barn doors. 
  5. Train your horse for halter classes or showmanship. If your adopted horse is eligible to compete in breed shows, there are many non-riding options. If your horse is not eligible to compete in a breed-specific show, find a local open show and try your hand at the fun discipline of showmanship. You’ll be asked to complete a pattern on the ground where you’ll likely have to jog your horse, stop, perform a turn on the haunches or another similar maneuver.  

Of course, these are just a few of the many ways you can enjoy your horse. If these activities sound fun and you’re not yet a horse owner, consider adopting one of the many horses looking for a home where they can be loved and enjoyed from the ground.