Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
I thought "Basic Training for a Safe Trail Horse" was a rotten book.
"It is dangerous to dismount and try to lead your horse to encounter something of which he is frightened, because the chance that he can jump on you is high."
Well, it can't be that high. I had a very spooky mare, and I started her trail training by leading her on a lead line. At the start, she'd panic in 100 yards. We worked up to about 1.5 miles, and then I started riding her. We're doing 6+ miles with other horses and I plan to start her on solo work soon.
But in all that leading time, she never once showed any sign of wanting to jump on me. Nor was I ever stupid enough to stand directly between her and an escape route - but my goal was to calm her past things, not pull her by brute force.
A couple of days ago, she encountered her first motorcycle on the trail. He was headed toward us, the trail barely wide enough for us both, and cactus on either side. Happily, he saw she was nervous, stopped & killed his engine. I dismounted and led her up to him. When she heard him talk, she let out a sigh and relaxed. We squeezed on by, he restarted his engine, I mounted, and we went out opposite ways.
I suppose I could have sat on her back and whipped her butt, but that would only have scared her more. In her defense, he really did look like a 200 lb horsefly.
Perhaps it depends on the horse & situation? If my horse is a little tense, I'll have her push on. But if she is scared - really scared - trying to force her on would buy me a "spin and bolt". Or a rear, perhaps.
"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."