Haven Horse Ranch Riding Experience

Happy Tuesday!  I hope everyone had an amazing Labor Day weekend.

I spent my Saturday at Haven Horse Ranch!  I learned how horses think, how to groom your horse before riding, and had an amazing lesson.

A little about Haven Horse Ranch

  • They are non-profit
  • They have summer camps, lessons, clinics, retreats
  • Specialize in Therapeutic riding for children and adults with disabilities
  • Located on 26 acres

My Experience:

There is currently a Groupon out there for anyone who wants to have a similar experience to mine.  I arrived at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday with my Fiance, and met with out instructor.  We have been horse back riding in the past many times, and no one has taken the time to explain to us in depth how a horse thinks, like Haven Horse Ranch did.  Not only did I personally gain knowledge on horses that I did not know before, I felt more confident getting on my horse and had the best riding experience of my life.

How does a horse think?

I do not want to spoil the details for those of you considering booking a lesson, but I will share my favorite piece of information with you!  Horses are like 4 year olds.  Yes, they do not have the ability to make good decisions, they are reliant on your guidance and will follow your command as long as you are “alpha”.  Now, I am not saying horses are dumb in any way, however they are stubborn and if you let them be the leader on a trial ride, during a lesson etc, you will be putting your own fate in their hands.  A lot of people see the glamorous “horse back riding” and when something goes wrong, they blame the horse.  By establishing you are the leader from the begining, you are now in charge of every move that horse makes, and you cannot blame the horse since you are in charge.

So how did I personally become Alpha to my horse?  During my lesson, I made the choice to turn right, turn left, walk on etc.  I did not allow my horse (Stetson) to make that decision for me.  If I made my right turn and he decide not, I did it again. (Horses are also stubborn like 4-year olds).  I have never enjoyed horse back riding until this past weekend.  I was not scared that Stetson was going to start running or kick me off, because I was his leader and it made me feel so confident as a rider.

Meeting Stetson and Preparing for a ride

Horses are alot of work, and require care and proper maintenance prior to throwing on the saddle. You would not just jump in your car for a road trip without making sure you had enough gas, the oil was topped off, tire pressure was suitable etc.  The same thought process should apply to horse back riding.  You need to make sure the horse is groomed prior to placing the saddle on, to ensure the best riding experience for the horse and yourself.

Grooming Steps:

Step 1: Curry Comb 

The first thing I did was take the Curry Comb and comb through Stetson’s hair in a circular motion.  This stimulates the hair, and brings up dirt that is sitting in the hair to the surface.

Step 2: Hard Brush

This I used to remove the dirt from the horses hair, in a flicking motion with your wrist.  You will start to notice some of the shine within the horses coat coming through as your progress.

Step 3: Soft Brush

The Soft Brush I used in long strokes, brushing front to back smoothing down the hairs.

Step 4: Hoof Pick

I used the Hoof Pick to remove dirt from all four Hooves.

Step 5: Mane and Tail Brush

Just like you do not step out of the house without brushing your hair, Stetson got a nice detangling brush through his mane and tail.

Ready to Ride:

Now groomed, we are ready to ride.  My fiance Joseph rode Tex (my personal fav, he is so “pretty” to look at) and I rode Stetson. It is very interesting to see how each horse has its own unique personality, which really shows throughout the lesson.  We started by sitting on our horses and learning basic commands.  We then freely rode around on our horses giving commands at our own will.  Whether it was turn right, turn left… Stetson was stubborn but if I told him twice he was sure to do what I asked.  I was always fearful of riding because I felt that I simply did not have control of the horse.  Haven Horse Ranch really grasps the concept of properly preparing you to have the most enjoyable lesson possible, while being in control of your own ride.  I got to practice barrel walking, I would say racing but I don’t think I rounded the barrels at more than 5mph.  That was my favorite part of my lesson, because I learned how to direct Stetson properly, turn the barrel and instantly head toward our next target.

There are a few “bad habits” that people will have during there time on a horse.  Mine was looking at Stetson, yes he was a “pretty horse” but do you look at your cars hood when you drive?  Would you be able to drive from your house to a new city by only looking at the hood of your car and not at the road? No.  I had to stop looking at the top of Stetson’s head and focus on our “target” aka where I wanted to go.  This was a huge game changer, and from then on I could properly guide Stetson where I wanted to go, which made it easier on the both of us.

There were all sorts of fun games we played, Horse bowling, soccer, barrels and so on.  What an amazing experience on a horse.

More About Haven Horse Ranch 

  • Haven Horse is geared towards helping kids with disabilities through these horses.  If you would like to know more click HERE
  • The revenue from your riding lessons helps to provide therapy for people with Autism, MS, MD, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome and more..
  • Location: 7333 CR 208 St Augustine FL 32092
  • Call for More information: (904) 813 -5710
  • Registration, Sponsorship, Donation and Events can be found HERE
  • COMING SOON: Love Language Program??❤️

Horse selfies: 

The best all around personality goes to this guy?

Thank you to Haven Horse Ranch for Sponsoring this Post


  • Sharon Andrade

    Love you blog! This was so interesting to learn how horses think & how to control them. Never knew to think of them as a 4 year old but that absolutely makes sense.

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