How to make my horse behave better in group trail rides?

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How to make my horse behave better in group trail rides?

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    03-13-2011, 11:29 AM
How to make my horse behave better in group trail rides?

Hey guys! I haven't been on here in a while but I have a question..

When I take my horse on a trail ride by himself he's alright (spooky and hesitant, but we're working on it) he's much calmer when he's in a group but he get's pretty naughty!

I went on a trail walk with two other boarders yesterday who own tiny little mares (one arabian one QH) I let my horse have a lot of reins so he would stay relaxed and he get's very upset if I'm in a group and I take too much reins. He walked very calmly and relaxed for the first 20 minutes, the terrain was interesting, the fields were really muddy the grass was swamped and there were areas of snow, the forest was a thick layer of snowy/slushy ice, the roads back were deep mud, and the back fields were deeper snow, but all of our horses handled it well. We had to cross a small stream at one point with little beds of ice on each side and my horse was the only one who didn't jump it. It was when we were headed back he started acting up.

The other mares were very quick, and even though my horse was walking very forward they were still very far ahead of him. My horse started to get jiggy a little but I made him walk. When we got back to the stream the other two horses jumped it first and I wanted to go first cause I felt my horse getting excited but they insisted on going first, so they were on the other side while I, bareback, was still needing to cross and my horse was pulling his head down hard and prancing. I dismounted and led him over it because I KNEW he was going to pull his head down and jump it, and I was bareback. I mounted up on a nearby cross country fence. The whole walk back he was trying to speed up and jerking his head down which was taking me down with him! He even did it going down a steep hill! He always does this when we're in a group and no materr how fast we walk we always end up in the back and the group will wait for me but we always end up behind again which is O.K but if we get too far behind my horse starts jerking and prancing. I did MAKE him walk back to the barn calmly but he was jerking!

What can I do to make him behave better when in group trail rides?
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    03-13-2011, 12:26 PM
I have been in years past on many miles of Benefit Trail Rides sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation, American Diabeties Association and the National Alzhemier Foundation. Plus on many, many trial rides with friends of up to 3-4 of us. The very first major Sponsored Benefit Trail Ride Candy and I participated with my mare was a "rip-tearer" to get to the head of the 300-400 head of riders in front of us, it was definitely a "YeeHaw-Giddy-Up-Go" experience. However, the more we went on group trail rides, whether sponsored or not the better my mare got at doing large group trail rides. So I do believe the more exposure to a large number of horses on a trail ride will help to settle your horse in the future.
    03-13-2011, 12:37 PM
I'll keep that in mind, I plan to go on more trail rides now that the weathers better I just never have anyone to ride with when I'm there!
    03-13-2011, 07:45 PM
If it's convenient, when riding if the horse rushes or goes up in gait then stop and backup and standstill for a while with loose reins.
    03-13-2011, 08:58 PM
Well I've tried to make him stand but he just jerks, and jerks, and jerks, if I have loose reins he'll just go against my cues.
    03-13-2011, 09:12 PM
If your horse doesn't have a "stable" standstill on loose reins and must always be fighting something or going somewhere, odds are you'll always have problems with him speeding up.

Work on the standstill, whenever he goes forwards without permission, stop, backup and start again.
    03-14-2011, 02:11 AM
I have a different perspective on that, not better, just different.
If your horse cannot stand still, then don't work at forcing him to. Get him to there, via letting him move, and move and move and move.

He feels that he NEEDS to move his feet, so, you let him circle and circle and circle . Then let him out and see if he'll walk forward. Probably will for a step or two then he'll speed up, so you circle him again (use both directions). Don't fight him , don't get mad. If you fight him, he;ll fight you! You just direct the flow of his energy. Can't hold back the dam, just give it a chute to go through.

Also, ride out in a saddle til you have this better worked out so that you can deal with whatever comes along.

But the biggest thing that strikes me about your post is your friends. They should have been more with you on making the ride more successful.
It helps to go out several times with someone who is willing to work WITH you. So, first they lead for a bit and they try to rate their speed to work for you , too. After five minutes, they "peel off" and walk to the rear , while you proceed to the front and you are the new leader. Then, soon it will be your turn to peel off, go to rear and Peel in to the end of the line. This way, no horse must be the constand leader. The "peeling off" disengages the hind quarter, and the horse isn't being "passed" by another horse facing the same direction, as in a race.
    03-14-2011, 07:09 AM
The 2 methods are not really easy to compare, because they are highly situational. In certain situations there'd be a reason you choose one over the other.

Either way it should never be a fight between you and the horse.

Im in total agreeance that one of the problems here seems to be the friends. Usually if riding with others the others should be informed of any problems your horse might go through, and they should respect that and wait for you. If they don't wait then worst case scenario is the horse will take control & bolt to catch up with the others while your backing up or circling.

Riding alone is far easier and safer than riding with people who are too ignorant or arrogant to simply position themselves in a way that helps you achieve positive results with the horse.
    03-14-2011, 09:08 AM
I would agree with Tiny-I have one who hates to be "left" behind also, and holding him only makes matters worse. He has been known to kick the horses around him, and be totally obnoxious. I have learned, over the years, that keeping his feet busy is the best way, by far. I would suggest that you talk to your "friends" before you go. Make sure they understand that you need to be able to train, and they need to help, or choose others to go with who will. I also totally agree with a saddle, and sometimes I even take a lead rope, just in case. Practice different places in the group also. Mine is totally different when he leads. He then thinks he is responsible for the entire group, and is very "busy" watching for danger.
    03-14-2011, 10:55 AM
I most ashamedly have to say that I forgot to mention how many more miles my Candy traveled on those larger number of horses on Benefit Trail rides and sometimes here on our country back roads, because I did have to "double her on herself in both leads" or at the least did 10-20 meter circles with her. Candy, in her prime was a very, extremely forward as in my first description, a "YeeHaw-Giddy-Up-Go" horse.

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