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  • Writer's pictureSaskia Gerritsen

How much Nature is there in your Horse's Life?

Updated: Aug 16, 2019

Today at the WRFS in Münster I passed the exam for the German "Reitpass", which is a certificate for trail riding. Now you might ask: "Why would an adult with a lifetime of riding experience need this?" Well, next to becoming more aware of the Animal and Nature Protection Laws... I also gained unexpected insights from this experience!

The German FN is a very large organization and has an incredibly wide educational program. Riders of all levels can continuously improve their knowledge and skills throughout their riding career. As I am always looking for new knowledge to learn and teach, I love the different courses and certifications you can achieve in the systematic approach.


In Germany everything about riding and horses seems a serious matter and is originally based on military tradition. A relaxing trail ride is also not to be taken on lightly. You are responsible for the safety and well-being of a fellow creature! For trail rides to be enjoyable and relaxing for horse and rider, there actually is a lot to know...

But it wasn't the countless pages of theory about safety, rules and proper preparation that caught my attention... obviously!

And as I have spent countless hours on trails in my life, the practical part also wasn't very thrilling...

Then on Sunday Exam-day, here come the two knowledgeable gentlemen that would be our judges today. And I was absolutely blown away by their view on the matter!

The older judge made this first remark of the day:

Horses belong in nature and you are privileged and obligated to enjoy nature together.

When I look at it this way, I find it even harder to understand that some riders don't like to ride out! It should be one of the most enjoyable experiences, if both horse and rider are well prepared. How to prepare for trail riding was a big part of the theory in this course.

Before and after the practical part, the judges asked a lot of questions as a verbal exam.

Again, the older judge made an impression on me that I will never forget. The topics that he highlighted where all about the Animal Protection Law with regards to riding. In its first paragraph, it is very specifically mentioned that horses are "fellow creatures". This has been changed from "living beings"! Not only are horses fellow creatures to us, we should also treat every horse equally. The focus of his questions was very motivating, because I always focus on the friendship and cooperation with the horses!

And when it was time to hand out our "Reitpass" certificates for passing the exam, his final remark to us was:

Theory is very important! Good riding is theory put into practice correctly. When you know how to ride in the correct way, you are protecting your horse from harm. Riding without knowledge is just torturing the horse by sitting on it...

So, don't be fooled by the German way! We take trail riding seriously, because we do it for the love of the horse and his true nature...

Now tell me: How much nature is there in your horse's life and what is your favorite way to enjoy it together? :-)

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