|love this pic|
Toodling is undirected meandering, generally on a loose rein, with loosely defined goals and limited rider input.
Why (is this different than hacking):
When someone says they're hacking their horse, they generally mean they are riding outside the arena in some sort of purposeful way. Toodling is in or out of the arena and while sometimes yes you're going in a direction with a purpose, you're also not hitting a step goal or fitness angle.
All toodles all the time. I mean, not really, but horses are pretty smart creatures. I'm all for a couple "work" rides a week, but above and beyond that, it feels like drilling to me and I find drilling intolerable. Toodling is a way to spend time in the saddle, but relax and rest sore muscles. It keeps riding fun and engaging on both sides so saddle time isn't always work time.
Anywhere, really. In the winter, we toodle around the indoor and smoosh things. In the summer, we go all over the property and should I ever get my rear in gear to haul out somewhere, we can do that too.
I'm a highly motivated go-getter type of person. It is SO EASY for me to fixate and drill and push and suck the fun out of relaxation. (I'm terrible at vacation. Sigh.) I like to have a clear delineation for "this is fun and easy and simple and just be happy". If you're a person who needs more structure in your life or you're prepping for an imminent Olympics, then toodling is maybe not for you.
How (do I start toodling):
Slip the reins. Hold the buckle in one hand. Look at the world around you. Pet the horse. Wander the fields. Find a buddy to laugh with. Ride under the stars. Stop and watch the sunset.
Courage was a horse that was deeply sensitive to pressure--I probably had to toodle 3-4 times for every 1 time I schooled him. ZB is totally not worried about pressure, but I want her to have time to develop strength and recover, so it's probably more of a 1:1 ratio (counting training rides, haha).
As for the looming question, "aren't you a shitty trainer because you choose to have fun with yourself instead of actually teaching them something," well, no. Walking on a loose rein is a skill. Standing still is a skill. Boldly navigating terrain is a skill. Learning to not micromanage is a skill.
|picking incredible browbands is also a skill|