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trottingalong

Trail Riding

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Hi. I have a 3 yo tb x paint that I am just starting to ride a little more. We moved up from just walking to doing some trotting and my instructor is advising me to start riding 3 times a week. He's very smart and has been very easy to teach, and I just love him to pieces. I would like to start taking him out on little baby trail rides. No trotting or running around just nice quiet walks a little ways off the property, to get him out of the arena. I have friends who will go with me but the last time I tried he just wanted to nibble on and play with my friends horse who was leading. Totally understandable reaction from him but how can I teach him that he can't do that.

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Personally, I don't take horses out on trial rides until they are going well at all three gaits. You might be just walking and trotting, but if suddenly something causes him to pick up a lope, not a good idea to never have loped him, or stopped him from a lope before

You have to set limits for your horse, and make him understand that when he is being ridden, he can't act towards another horse like he would out in afield, at liberty. Doesn't matter if it is a friendly, playful nibble or a kick. Don't ride so close that he can nibble at the other horse. A less forgiving horse will kick out,, either hitting you or your horse.

It might be an understandable reaction (to nibble ), for a young playful horse out in the field, but not while being ridden!

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Yeah...his paying with the other horse means he is not paying attention to you. I would get a more solid foundation on him before you head out again.

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do you have access to an older "been there, done that" kind of horse that you could pony him off? or someone with the experience to do it for you? we have horses at our barn that are the type to nip this kind of behavior on the trail in the bud while still encouraging the young ones to find their balance and where to put their feet, and to get used to all kinds of new things (most of them are bossmares haha).

that's how we start them all out, and it just seems to be less stressful and a more positive experience (and quicker learning curve!!) for everyone involved. good luck!! he sounds very sweet, just a little naughty...

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Thankyou guys for replying back, sorry I was away for awhile. Smilie that's a good point I had not thought about. Nick, I have access to a pony that is very used to ponying other horses but to be honest that little guy has my number and I don't feel compfortable riding him out on trails even w o ponying another horse. I have some friends who could but they are bussy and don't have the time to do it with any regularity. I guess for now ill just keep him home. Was just hoping for a little change of scenery.

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you know, that diest mean you cant hand walkhim out on trails and start getting him introduced to things. that way when you have control of him more in the saddle, and your confidence is up, he willbe ready right there with you.

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It is not the trails the horse has to get used to, but rather that trust in your leadership, so he willingly rides where you ask him to, trusting your leadership, like he would al ead mare.

I never pony horses on trials, and I sure don't hand walk them either

I want a horse to look to me for that leadership and trust, not another horse.

Thus, my solution remains-get a horse really broke, with body control on him, so that you can ride him out alone

I like to ride horses out by themselves, before I ever ride them out with other horses. The idea, of course, is for the horse to accept you as that alpha leader, one who will keep him safe outside of his comfort zone, and not another horse

The best trail horses are those that have learned right from he start, to ride out by themselves, once they have the basics solid on them. Ride them out, just following another horse, or leading them,and sooner or later, those holes in training will come to haunt you

'

In the words of John Lyons, "ride a horse where you can, and not where you cannot, If you don't have the trianing or body control on a horse to ride him through something, don't take him there, until you do.

Horses learn every time we ride or handle them, either for the good or bad.

Edited by Smilie

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............interesting.

Well first off with the waiver that there is more than one way to skin a cat and certainly it makes a lot of sense to work in a controlled environment till you know you have some control........or at least a one rein stop.

But I have to say that when I was starting colts, and it's the way a fair number of people do it out here...........soon as they can be ridden at all - they are taken out down the road - best case scenario with an quiet seasoned horse riding along with...........but in the OLD days - I didn't have that option - and they were ditch rode by themselves.

I had a trainer comment once (Jim Anderson - waaaaaay long time ago) that getting them going - moving forward - in an outdoor setting distracts them from focusing on (eg) bucking the rider off, starts building trust and gives the rider an opportunity to put some quiet real life miles on them.

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............interesting.

But I have to say that when I was starting colts, and it's the way a fair number of people do it out here...........soon as they can be ridden at all - they are taken out down the road - best case scenario with an quiet seasoned horse riding along with...........but in the OLD days - I didn't have that option - and they were ditch rode by themselves.

There have been times when I was very happy that my horse didn't take my "alphaness" too seriously. Like the time the mare I had balked at going forward. No amount of persuasion could get her to go forward. Turned out there was a copperhead next to the trail that was camouflaged by the dead leaves. Or the time a young horse pulled the same maneuver in a field. A hole had begun to open into a sinkhole in the tall grass.

Edited by jubal

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Well, I agree that there is more than one way to skin a cat,and certainly when I first ride a young horse in the mountains, it is with an older experienced horse.. Before that, though, I have ridden them out alone, either down the road, or across fields when the crops are off

There is a happy medium. I've also seen many of the bad effects of riding a young/green horse out too soon. The young horse is fine, as long as he has that older horse to steady him, but should something happen, and heaven forbid, even that older horse having a bad moment, then tthe rider on that young horse finds out he really has no brakes or steering, having been more of a passenger than a leader

I.m certainly not one to ride a horse endlessly in an arena, and certainly, never in around pen, but If I can't move those hips, shoulders, ask for the face, have the horse lower his head, stop softly, ride well at all three gaits, then it seems rather stupid to ride him out, just trusting that the older horse will keep him calm and prevent a wreak.

Many dude horses are prime examples of this type of training (not saying it applies to your horses in any way! )These horses are very broke, carrying dudes with little or no riding experience on tricky trails-AS

LONG as they can follow that horse up ahead. Try to ride them off somewhere by themselves and all at once you have a different horse!

JubAL , that alpha position does not remove the partnership between the two of you, so that the horse will litterally walk off of a cliff, if you ask him to!!

There have been times, packing out of wilderness in the dark, unable to see the trail, I have given my horse his head, trusting him to find the way back. When coming down a steep trail-ditto on letting the horse pick the best way

On the other hand, I know where the river crossings are, and if my horse decides he rather go a different way, then I expect to be able to over ride his decision. Ditto for going through a bog. I had a horse, that was off of the track, and she would panic going through a bog, blindly plunging in deeper, ignoring rein s and legs-her choice was not the Right one!

On the other hand, here is an example of a horse listening to you, even when in anxious mode, and which saved us

I took my gelding Cody Chrome out in the mountains one year, when the rivers were still very high. He had limited trail experience, crossing rivers, being my show horse. He also has one rear quarter on aback hoof that is vulnerable to injury, having taken off the coronary band in that area, and thus having a scar that was not protected by any hair. The river has huge boulders, so I committed the grave flaw of looking at the river bottom, trying to avoid rhe worst rocks, instead of staying focused on the opposite bank. Anyone who has done crossings like that, knows it is easy to get disorientated, to the point you no longer know if you are even moving

Not until hubby shouted, did I realize how far we had drifted from the crossing, and the bank in front of us would be impossible to climb. Had Einstein just panicked and tried to scale that bank, we would have had a serious wreak.

Instead, when I asked him to face the strong current, and go back up river, needing to cross huge boulders, he obeyed, even though he stumbled and almost went down several times. We made it back to the crossing and opposite bank.

That leadership does not mean I won't listen, when my experienced trail horse is trying to tell me something, like the grizzly bear up ahead-but that is another story!

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Smilie I like the way you think :-) I agree it should be more about him trusting my leadership, and that will help us overcome any obsticals we face together. This is my first young horse, so to a certain extent we are learing together. I often seccond guess my training decisions w him because I just don't have the personal experince to know if what I'm doing is right. Its been frustrating to say the least. Sometimes I get a little to far ahead of my self. For now I think I need to stay home until I'm more confident that he understands my aids, just a little bit better.

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JubAL , that alpha position does not remove the partnership between the two of you, so that the horse will litterally walk off of a cliff, if you ask him to!!

There have been times, packing out of wilderness in the dark, unable to see the trail, I have given my horse his head, trusting him to find the way back. When coming down a steep trail-ditto on letting the horse pick the best way

On the other hand, I know where the river crossings are, and if my horse decides he rather go a different way, then I expect to be able to over ride his decision. Ditto for going through a bog. I had a horse, that was off of the track, and she would panic going through a bog, blindly plunging in deeper, ignoring rein s and legs-her choice was not the Right one!

On the other hand, here is an example of a horse listening to you, even when in anxious mode, and which saved us

I took my gelding Cody Chrome out in the mountains one year, when the rivers were still very high. He had limited trail experience, crossing rivers, being my show horse. He also has one rear quarter on aback hoof that is vulnerable to injury, having taken off the coronary band in that area, and thus having a scar that was not protected by any hair. The river has huge boulders, so I committed the grave flaw of looking at the river bottom, trying to avoid rhe worst rocks, instead of staying focused on the opposite bank. Anyone who has done crossings like that, knows it is easy to get disorientated, to the point you no longer know if you are even moving

Not until hubby shouted, did I realize how far we had drifted from the crossing, and the bank in front of us would be impossible to climb. Had Einstein just panicked and tried to scale that bank, we would have had a serious wreak.

Instead, when I asked him to face the strong current, and go back up river, needing to cross huge boulders, he obeyed, even though he stumbled and almost went down several times. We made it back to the crossing and opposite bank.

That leadership does not mean I won't listen, when my experienced trail horse is trying to tell me something, like the grizzly bear up ahead-but that is another story!

I don't ride trails like that. Even if I had a horse that would listen, I would be afraid of that situation and wouldn't enjoy it at all. I rode a switchback trail up a cliff face in a hail storm at a dude ranch. I had my hands over my eyes the whole time. Lucky for me the horse was better at it than I. I like flat to gently rolling terrain where I can enjoy the scenery and my horse and I have a better than even chance of getting home for dinner.

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Smilie I like the way you think :-) I agree it should be more about him trusting my leadership, and that will help us overcome any obsticals we face together. This is my first young horse, so to a certain extent we are learing together. I often seccond guess my training decisions w him because I just don't have the personal experince to know if what I'm doing is right. Its been frustrating to say the least. Sometimes I get a little to far ahead of my self. For now I think I need to stay home until I'm more confident that he understands my aids, just a little bit better.

Sounds like a good plan! Just take your time and there are lots of years you can spend riding out together.

This is one of my favorite examples, when it comes to having those basics on a horse, that will allow you to ride through some un expected situations

When Smilie was three, I started to ride her out across the crop fields in the fall, once the crops were harvested. As we passed a tarped stack of square bales in a field, several bales came rolling out from under that tarp, with a coyote leaping out behind them! He must have been mousing, and we startled him.

If any situation looked like a preditor was attacking, that was it!!!

Smilie gave one giant leap forward, but did not bolt, as she still responded to the word 'whoa' that I had ingrained in her

Another time, on her first ride through some woods, the two horses ahead of her stirred up a ground nest of hornets, crossing a log. When Smilie got very excited, and before I knew what has happened, my friend, riding behind me yelled 'hornets. As she was being stung, her natural reaction was to want to buck and get the heck 'out of Dodge. At that point, those seasoned horses ahead of her had zero impact on her reaction!

Because I had her soft in the face, and conditioned to 'whoa', I was able to check her head around, long enough to step off

A seasoned horse along in that first senerio might have helped ( unless that horse bolted! ), but it would have had no impact when she was being stung by hornets,and that is why I want some strong basics on my horses before riding out

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Trottingalong it is your fear and worry that's stalling your horse from trusting your leadership.

It's an out of control spiral

You don't trust you and it makes your horse not trust you so he ignores you or acts up

which makes you trust yourself even less

which increases your horse's distrust

which make him act worse

which scares you and makes you even more tense and scared

which scares your horse and makes him spooky and scared since he is now has to look out for monsters who will eat both of you!

At this point in your spiral, you need to break it.

Get off the horse and build your leadership skills on the ground.

Get control of your horse's feet and body.

To the point where you can focus on your horse's hip and he moves it away from your eyes. You wiggle your pointing finger and he instantly backs until you stop.

Desensitize and Sensitize your horse to new things.

Set up the arena with things you can use to build up his trust in you while teaching him how to watch where he places his feet. and accept things that look odd or move or make noise. Jumps, tarps, beach balls, poles on the ground in different configurations, kid's toys, bikes....use your imagination.

When your comfortable and in control on the ground.

Start riding your horse using the same body & feet & control exercises you did on the ground to teach your horse that on it's back or on the ground. YOUR the leader.

There are Thousands of Books, DVDs, Websites & Website videos (HC has them), TV shows (RFD-TV, HR-TV), Magazine articles, and some professionals on Utube.

All of them to teach you how to gain control of your horse and keep it.

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