This is how we train a fearless trail horse! - Page 25 - The Horse Forum
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post #241 of 299 Old 03-29-2013, 11:50 AM
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Ellie....More info. Were you on a trail? In the pasture? Did something spook her? Is she green? What was the situation?
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If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #242 of 299 Old 03-30-2013, 10:39 PM
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well said
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post #243 of 299 Old 03-31-2013, 09:31 AM
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my a 5 year old will do that occasionally when on the trail. i too think she is feeling good.l I now can "feel" when it is about to happen and kind of pick up on the reins to lift her head. Sometimes she does surprise any other suggestions would be great!

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post #244 of 299 Old 04-03-2013, 12:23 AM
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This is an awesome thread! Thank you for all thr helpful input!!
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post #245 of 299 Old 04-05-2013, 09:18 PM
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I like what you've said, Cherie. I would have to add that the reason I did desensitizing with my horse was not to cover every thing we might encounter. But to show him, that when we encounter strange stuff, he can trust me. It has really helped out bond - which is soooo strong. I trust him to trust me. And he does. The desensitizing was fun for him. When I tell him we're going on an "adventure", he knows he's gonna see something new. And he is always eager. Desensitizing is just a trust building exercise. I valued them quite a lot. Plus - they're fun, social and a great way to meet more neat horse riders and potential trail parnters.
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Looking at the trail through the ears of my horse...wonderful!
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post #246 of 299 Old 04-09-2013, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
1) Obedience is NEVER optional. A good trail horse is nothing more than a horse that does everything 'right away' that a rider asks. Absolute and quick obedience -- 100% compliance without an argument should be the goal.

2) Your job (as the rider) is not to let your horse look at everything new and decide it is OK. That is your job. You should NOT show him that there is nothing to be afraid of. Your job as an 'effective' rider is to teach him that he needs to trust YOU and ONLY YOU -- not his natural instincts. It is your job to teach him to pay attention to his job (doing whatever you ask) and not his surroundings. Your goal should be to teach him to ignore anything he 'perceives' as fearful.

3) I NEVER let a horse look at things, examine things, go up to new things, 'sniff'' things or any of that. If you do any of these, you are teaching to stop and look or sniff everything instead of go on down the trail. The habit I want to reinforce is to go past or through anything without stopping to look at it. If I tell him it is OK, I want him to accept that without questioning me. You can't have it both ways. He either has to become the leader and figure out everything for himself in his time-frame (for some horses that is never) or he has to let you be the leader. I am convinced that I am smarter and know what I am doing and I know where I want to go and I don't really need or want his opinion at all.

If you let a horse look at things, then you are teaching him to be afraid of everything that is new and telling him that things should be looked at instead of ignored. You are not telling him that it is OK to go right past it. I want a horse to ignore everything but me. You have to remember that whatever you let or ask him to do (like checking things out) is what you are teaching him to do. Do you want a horse that is afraid of everything and stops at every new thing he encounters or do you want a horse that goes everywhere you point his head without questioning you? Remember, you just can't have it both ways.

4) When a horse starts to hesitate and starts to show fear, 'ride hard and fast'. Go faster, cover more ground, ride off of the trail and in the roughest footing you can find. All of these things get his attention back to his 'job' and back to you and off of whatever he thought was a big wooly booger.

5) Never ride straight toward something that you can go around. If a horse is afraid of a big tree stump, do not ride him straight toward it. [You are just setting his up to stop and back up. Remember, you are trying to make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult and setting him up to stop and back up is not doing that.] Ride past it several times while taking his attention away from the stump and keeping it on you. I like to use 'leg yielding' exercises. I will ride past an object with his head bent away from the object and my leg pushing his shoulders and ribs toward the object. I watch his ear that is away from the object. I know I have his attention and respect for my leg when that ear stays 'cocked' back toward me. I will go past the object, switch my dominant rein to the one nearest the object, will reverse directions TOWARD the object (I never let him turn his tail to anything he fears) and I will leg yield back past it again using my other leg to push him (bend him) toward it. I will go back and forth again and again until he walks right on by without looking at it or veering away from it -- just goes straight on by like it isn't there.

We do not spend a lot of time trying to desensitize a horse. A lot of people find this strange. Let me tell you why we put so little faith in this exercise in futility (and why I never post on those threads). You will never be able to duplicate everything that can scare a horse. Even if you did, they would encounter this obstacle in a different place on the trail and it would be different to them anyway. You train a horse to listen to you and you train a horse to ignore anything new or scary. You train a horse to go forward when you ask -- no matter what is in front of them (one of the reasons I keep harping on 'good forward impulsion' ) and you train a horse to depend solely on you. You make all of the decisions and they are happy to comply. The more you take the leadership role, the less they think and worry. That is how you make a good trail horse.
Thank you for this. I really needed to read it. It's not how I learned but it makes so much more sense, and has given me a lot more to think about.
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post #247 of 299 Old 04-09-2013, 11:57 AM
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Cherie, i just wanted to let you know that I was at a buck brannaman clinic this past weekend and he pretty much said the exact same things as you did here.
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post #248 of 299 Old 04-29-2013, 10:39 PM
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Great thread!!! Lots of good information! Thanks!
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post #249 of 299 Old 05-08-2013, 03:07 AM
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Originally Posted by antonella View Post
greenbryefarms, it is just what I thought. you see, you worked for a year, and now he is different. you need time, patience, and confidence. then you gain trust, and you are on the other side. completely different story. with my old horse (and he was a stallion) I sometimes lost my way home and, after a while, I let the reins on his neck and said "let's go home" and he always did. but we had been together for 18 years and we knew each other perfectly. where are you, by the way?
Tried that once, on my pony who loves trails and goes quicker away from home than she does towards home. Ended up 5ks deep in the bush, totally lost.

Pony didn't want to go home. When given a choice, she went the opposite direction. Just goes to show, don't always trust your horse to take yourself home if you get lost, injured or fall off.
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post #250 of 299 Old 07-06-2013, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by iRide Ponies View Post
Tried that once, on my pony who loves trails and goes quicker away from home than she does towards home. Ended up 5ks deep in the bush, totally lost.

Pony didn't want to go home. When given a choice, she went the opposite direction. Just goes to show, don't always trust your horse to take yourself home if you get lost, injured or fall off.
I have never had an Arabian let me down finding home. My first home grown horse took my party back to camp on her first ride. We could not tell which way the ride had gone, so I just backtracked a little and let her choose the path.
That ride was a little exciting, but her last ride was under my son, who hasn't a clue. She stayed with our group the whole ride, and was watching me for cues. They both amazed me, especially on a vertical climb.
I did not train her to ignore stuff. I turned her in and faced it. She has had a stand off with a vicious Pit Bull while I screamed my head off at the dog for five minutes. She wears my poncho and walks on tarps like nothing. Someday I'm going to remember to swing a rope and drag a log with her.

If wishes were horses, good God what a mess.
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spooking , trail horse

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