Gaiting questions for the trail - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-12-2012, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Nevada
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Gaiting questions for the trail

When we leave the barn and I am in the lead. I ride with a loose rein and I have to work to keep him going. When I am not in the lead, he wants to have his nose in the butt of the horse in front and I have to use a tight rein to keep him back (nearly the whole ride). When we are returning back to the barn. I can keep him in his gait by holding firmly and constantly reminding him to take it easy. Otherwise, if I give any slack at all, he just wants to go faster and get home to eat and visit with friends.

Is this typical?

Everyone that I ride with has a different opinion and I find it difficult to know if I'm doing something wrong or not.
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-12-2012, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Fairly typical behavior for all horses. When in the lead, they go slow. When behind they go fast because they want in front. When leaving the barn/trailer they go slow because the day is just starting. On the way back they hurry it up to get the ride over.

To achieve what you want it takes miles and miles of saddle blanket sweat and consistancy on your part.

-You leave and come back at exactly the same pace. Letting them rush back is what creates barn souring and people allow it to happen all the time. Reason why is all of the sudden your horse is eager to go and it's fun!
-When in front, keep him poked up at the speed you want to maintain. It's just as easy for us to become as complacent as the horse when in the lead, stay awake.
-When in back, work at keeping him at a decent gap behind the next horse. Yeah, I know it's not an easy task but it can be done and takes tons of patience.

Just remember, you give an inch just once and you've possibly undone days, weeks or months of work.
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-12-2012, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much. I'm glad to know that this is typical and just to keep working. I also make him turn around on the trail and go for a little ways when he starts getting jiggy. He doesn't like it much, but I think it helps remind him that he isn't in charge of when we get home.
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-17-2012, 06:14 PM
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My first question is do you ride out alone with your horse? If you don’t I think you and he would benefit hugely from this. It sounds to me like he is a bit nervous and dependant on other horses going first. If he gets in front he makes sure he gets in the back and tucks in close. If he falls behind on the way home does he get antsy? Start with small ride and set goals, to the other side of the field and back, around this trail etc.

If you do ride out alone maybe he just needs a firmer hand and to be worked a harder when he doesn’t listen.

OIif he tries to put his nose in bums reins him back and make him work harder so he learns you dictate the speed and direction. (if you have to do serpentines or circles bends etc that's okay) if you have to ride 20 or 30 feet behind the riders in front of you or 10 feet to the side, make him stay that far away. He may not be comfortable and that is why he is getting so close but he needs to learn to listen and trust your cues as one day he’ll sniff the wrong butt and you could get hurt.

On the way home is the biggest problem, my mare does this occasionally because they like to go home. We train our horse so they ride a loose rein on the way home and cool down. By doing that if they get hot like that you turn around and ride them in the other direction until they relax, turn around and start going home, if they get hot again you turn around again. They do learn quickly that home isn’t an option when they run through your hands. It sounds like you do this so that’s a start, I would do it until you get the exact result you want before going home though.
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