It’s been such great weather lately! Though it is still rather cold, the sun has been shining a lot over the past week, it’s lovely! The perfect time to go out for a nice long walk. (Or a short one when you have little time, every little bit counts!) And if you have the opportunity, try taking an animal with you on one of your walks. You will find that suddenly you see and hear so much more!
As animals usually have much better senses than we do, they will notice strange things or wild animals a lot sooner than us. We might not realise there is a roe deer standing fifty meters away, but our pets definitely do. They have a much stronger sense of smell, hearing or eyesight. It depends on what animal you take with you, but as we humans are more “generalists” when it comes to senses, animals almost always have one or two senses that are a lot more advanced than ours.
So when you take an animal with you on your walks, you just have to watch him or her closely. They will give you a hint as soon as they sense something strange on interesting. It might be a raised head, pricked ears, suddenly standing still, making a sound even. The only thing you have to do is look closely and start searching for the reason for their behaviour as soon as they show it.
I always feel the difference between walking with my horse and walking on my own. It is not just that I enjoy her company and keep myself occupied with her. I also feel like I really see more. Feel more. Almost as if she makes me feel more at one with the forest around me. Trying to see the world more like she does, suddenly there is more to see.
When she pricks her ears to listen to some faraway sound, I try to hear it too. And I definitely don’t always succeed, as my ears are not nearly as good as hers. But when you try so intently to hear, there are tons of other sounds that catch your attention. Even when they were there before, only now you realise them. The same goes for looking at “spooky” things somewhere in the bushes. If she thinks there is something dangerous to the side of the path, I often find myself marvelling at the beauty of a fallen tree, the mosses on a tree trunk or anything I might see there.
Because, to be honest, when walking alone, it is much easier to just walk along. Keep your eyes on the path and maybe the horizon, but nothing more. You might choose to focus more on your surroundings, it is definitely possible. But when taking an animal with you on your walk, it becomes almost impossible not to notice more. At least it is a good way to train yourself to be more conscious of your surroundings.
So, whether you take your horse, Shetland pony or the neighbours’ dog, taking an animal with you on your walks is definitely worth it! Enjoy your walk!