Once again...in need of some advice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-11-2011, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Once again...in need of some advice

Tomorrow I'll be taking my horse on a "trail ride". Well, my dad is going to drop me and my horse off at his friend's place, drive home, get his own horses, and my horse and I will drive to the ride with the friend and his team in the big trailer (our trailer is too small to hold 3 horses). There will be a few riders there, but mostly there will just be teams and sleighs, and we'll be going on a roughly 4-hour ride through the woods.

However, I'm getting nervous. I'm trying my best to stay calm, because the more nervous I am, the worse things will turn out, but the more I think and dwell on it, the more anxious I get. My horse hasn't been out around teams a lot, and those she has seen, she's been terrified of. I know after 4 hours following and being followed by them, she'll get used to it, but the first few minutes are going to be nerve-wracking. As if that weren't enough, I haven't rode all week because the weather's been bad, so she's going to be fresh and full of energy as well as spooky.

Not going is not an option for me. I want (and need) the experience, and so does my horse. The more places I take her, the more things we see and experience (and survive) together, the better we'll be and the quieter she'll become, but...I worry way too much. I always focus on what might go wrong. I want to go too because it's too late to back out and I don't want to be a coward and give that impression to horsemen I respect. I shouldn't worry about what others will think, I know, but I've already backed out of one of these rides last summer because of disastrous results, and I won't do it again.

I'm wondering if it would be fair to my horse to ride her for about half an hour before we trailer over to my dad's friend's place-walk and trot, get any possible sillies out in an environment we both are familiar with. It'll only take the edge off her energy, but it might make all the difference. But she's unfit and fat, and I'm hesitant because it might not be fair to work her before a 4-hour ride through snow.

What should I do? I guess now is the time of year when it's best for her to see things-in the deep snow, where (hopefully) she won't be able to put up too much of a spook before tiring herself out. I really want to go, and get this sort of thing on our record, but...I'm worried that it'll all go wrong and only make her more spooky. Does anyone have any calming or encouraging/helpful advice for me? I'm getting too stressed and worried, as always, but I can't really help it.

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post #2 of 7 Old 03-11-2011, 05:49 PM
Green Broke
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Honestly you should have been riding her way before this. But in the mean time, stay calm, take a lead and leave her halter on and she acts up have your dad lead you. No shame in that. Safety first! She will eventually calm down and you may get to ride her without her bugging out on ya. Good luck, try and relax and have fun! Stay safe
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-11-2011, 05:53 PM
Green Broke
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Along with the above. make sure you lunge her before you get on.
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-11-2011, 06:28 PM
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Location: Minnesota, USA
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I was in this exact scenario a few years back. All ended well, but there definitely were some suspenseful moments!

Can one of your more experienced friends ride your horse first, just to get the edge off? If you are not confident, you horse is definitely not going to be. Could you ride a more experienced, laid back horse (one of your friends?) until you feel confident enough to ride your horse?

Do whatever it takes to keep your confidence with horses, even if it means chickening out. Absolutely nothing is worth compromising your safety. You are not a chicken or a coward--your instincts are trying to keep you safe--listen to them. Tell the others how you feel before the ride--it is always helpful to have some experienced horse folk looking after you.

| Kubie, Appaloosa (RIP) | Patches, Pinto Arabian Pony | Scotch, Paint Quarterhorse |
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-11-2011, 07:43 PM
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Definitely do ride her before you go.. You aren't going to wear her out riding her for 30 minutes just getting the feel of how she is and reinforcing her cues etc.. I would leave a halter on as well as have a long lead so you can work from the ground with her during the ride if necessary. Also a horse following something builds confidence in the horse.. So, follow the teams at first and don't expect her to be ok with them behind her for a while. As she gets used to that you an start catching up with one and passing it, then stopping or turning around to face it as it goes by. Work within your horses comfort zone to build confidence. Don't overface her but also don't baby her. Make sense?

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post #6 of 7 Old 03-13-2011, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your advice, but as usual, it seems that all my worrying and stressing was for naught. My mare was REALLY good. I only had time to ride her for about 5 minutes before we left, but even so, she wasn't hot or anything when we got there. The only miff I had with her all day was that she got a bit excited when the other teams and riders were moving out (as in, trotting) and she would trot after them without my leave, but I guess when 20 other horses are picking up the pace around her, she couldn't call herself a horse if she didn't want to follow suit. At one point, the team right in front of her began trotting really fast-we couldn't do a trot fast enough to keep up, and she got a little excited and popped in a little buck. When we were back at the trailer, as night was falling, we were the only ones in the yard and she got a bit restless and was pawing (which I had every right to correct, no? Dad seems to think I should have just let her be), but besides those few things, the entire day went smoothly and awesomely. I may be so bold as to even claim that she was the best-behaved riding horse there (out of 2 others).

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post #7 of 7 Old 03-13-2011, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Southcentral Kansas
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That is awesome! I am glad your mare was a good girl.. I promise you mine would have also wanted to keep up and I have one or 2 "Impatient" pawers.. Correcting is fine, I usually tell mine to stop it but they usually only do it at feeding time.

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