This is how we train a fearless trail horse! - Page 28
 
 

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This is how we train a fearless trail horse!

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  • How to make a rearing horse safer on the trail

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    11-14-2013, 09:20 AM
  #271
Super Moderator
Hi chickpea. Sorry I did not see this until now.

You don't have a trail riding problem. You just have a spoiled horse that has learned to get its way by 'stalling out' and rearing if that does not work.

I hate to give advice on rearing horses. I have to see them and work with them myself to decide if the horse will escalate the behavior to falling over and 'flipping' or will go forward with a good spanking. One thing is sure, every time he gets to stop going forward, the bad habit becomes more ingrained in his behavior. There is a reason these spoiled horses join the ranks of the 'unwanted horses'. When you 'rescue' one, you either have to turn them into a 'pasture pet' or get them the necessary re-training by a good rider to 'fix' them -- easier said than done. They are dangerous for the novice rider to tackle. An 1100# horse falling over on a rider can be deadly or crippling.

I used to re-school spoiled horses like this all of the time. I would ground drive them until they 'stalled out' and then I would spank on them until they went forward willingly. I would get after them until they gave up the behavior and happily went forward. Then I started riding them and would 'over and under' them with a pair of heavy harness leather reins the instant they even thought about stalling out. I would get after one very hard until they were thrilled to go forward.

Your best option would be to find a local rider that is willing to MAKE him go forward when he wants to stop. Even then, chances are pretty good that he will just go back to it when you start riding him again. You have to get after one pretty hard to make them give it up all together.

Ground work (other than driving him) is not going to help a bit. He knows what he can do and what he can make his riders do. He is simply 'spoiled'.
     
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    12-21-2013, 04:59 PM
  #272
Foal
Cherie and Co.,

I just gotta say "thank you so much" for this thread! It has given me a lot of perspective how to work on things with my young new horse AND just boosted my confidence by reading.

Jenny
     
    01-05-2014, 04:14 PM
  #273
Banned
Good post. But I do believe horse should be allowed to sniff and look at anything. It helps them get over their fear. When I was training my horse Hawk I would let him look and sniff the thing he was afraid of (obviously not "live" things) it really helped him :)
     
    01-10-2014, 04:57 PM
  #274
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipitous    
I agree with your post mostly as well. The one exception I would say is that I am a little more careful before I dismiss my horse when she won't go forward (not spooking, that she doesn't do very much).

A year ago I was riding on unfamiliar trails, and there was some downed barbwire partially covered with leaves. I didn't see it, but when my horse stopped, I just figured that she had a "mentally stuck" moment, so I urged her on. She went because she trusted my leadership, got caught in the wire, went down on her knees and I rolled over her shoulder unharmed. She struggled to her feet and was frantic for a minute before I stood up and calmed her down. We walked back to the trailer. She had multiple cuts on her legs and one on her lip. She still trusts me, and goes where I ask her to go, but if she ever hesitates that strongly, I look around before asking her to move on. I like that she has a mind of her own, and a sense of self-preservation that will keep me safe as well if I let it.
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Yesterday I was riding on an unfamiliar trail. Shakira had behaved well the whole ride, negotiating some really fierce obstacles and remained the calmest of the group. However we approached a shallow muddle puddle, she refused to cross. I succeeded in growling her over, she took one step in and fell up to her shoulders. Tomoe. I felt guilty and she refused to cross the next creek, something she never does, even tho this one perfectly safe. I still feel guilty and I plan to go find me a nice creek to ride over a few times to remind her that I do have some sense of judgement.
     
    02-02-2014, 02:26 AM
  #275
Started
Re-reading this again for the umpteenth time. Still true, still fantastic, and here two-plus years after posting and my first read-through, and it makes more sense than ever.
     
    02-02-2014, 01:18 PM
  #276
Foal
Thank you Cherie for all the tips. I think to many riders are spooked themselves going down a trail, thereby making their horses feel like the boogie man is out to get them at any moment.

My only disagreement with you is about desensitizing training. I am including a lot of that in my training of my filly. Partially so that she gets used to things coming flapping at her or the sounds of things that could easily and commonly happen. However, a lot of it is also so she has the opportunity to build a mutually trusting relationship in a safe environment. That way when we head out on the road, she has the confidence knowing that she can face new things, because, no pun intended, I've got her back.

Happy trails!
Anita
     
    02-02-2014, 02:27 PM
  #277
Foal
Nina, I cannot honestly speak for Cherie, but I don't believe she is saying that desensitizing training isn't effective or beneficial for training horses to be safer on trail. I hear her saying that once someone has allowed a horse to become spoiled in rearing (or any dangerous vice), no amount of desensitizing is going to help. Desensitizing in ground work or on top in a round pen will help teach a horse to not spook, but a rearing horse isn't rearing because he's afraid. He's rearing because he doesn't want to move . . . And no amount of desensitizing is going to get him moving. In fact, most desensitizing is done so the horse will stand and face and not flee the spooky thing on trail. An experienced rider who can read the rearing horse and feel his first hint of hesitation about moving forward will discipline him and make him wish he hadn't even thought of going up. Cherie uses leathers; I bend a horse around and put him to work on a few small circles, ask him to move forward, again, and if he refuses, I bend him around my leg again and whomp on him with my legs until he moves forward, etc. . . . And she is correct that a trainer or experienced friend can "fix" the horse for him/herself, but if the owner doesn't have the knowledge or confidence to do the same thing when riding, the horse will probably regress into a rearer, again.
     
    02-04-2014, 11:32 PM
  #278
Foal
Dang computer, I had a whole bunch of stuff typed out, then poof, gone. LOL

Holly,

I was replying to Cherie's very first post. I think she has a lot of great information. I agree that moving a horse forward is the best option or circling. The other thing I do is to ask the horse to do something that they are very good at. It helps reset their brain sometimes. My thought on desensitizing is that it helps builds a horses confidence and trust with the owner/rider.

Though, I missed the rearing part of this thread, I would agree that frequently the horse is rearing to avoid going in the direction that was asked, whether it is because of fear or just being barn sour. I have also seen a couple of horses rear to avoid pain from an ill fitting saddle. Not mine, thankfully I have the sense to check the fit of the saddle before mounting.

IMO, one of the best ways to make a great trail horse, is lots of miles on the trail.

Hope that clears up any confusion about my thoughts. :)

Happy trails!
~Anita
     
    02-09-2014, 07:54 PM
  #279
Weanling
Hi! Nice advice, I see where some of those things might be really helpful.

I tried to read all replies but there is one thing I don't think I read:

What do you do with a horse who bolts not because he's scared, but because he just wants to run?

I have an arabian gelding, and in the arena he stops the moment I think about it. Outside, not so much (that's why we don't really go outside much, and I would want to do it). How do you ride "hard and fast" a horse who's already galloping full speed? There is all sort of crap on our trails, so going blindly full speed for a long time would be extremely dangerous, and leaving the trail for uneven ground would be worse (high risk of barbed wire laying around in the tall grass).

I know you cannot solve my problems from behind a computer, I'm just interested in hearing your opinion :)
     
    02-09-2014, 09:17 PM
  #280
Foal
Never go faster than you can control your horse

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cielo Notturno    
Hi! Nice advice, I see where some of those things might be really helpful.

I tried to read all replies but there is one thing I don't think I read:

What do you do with a horse who bolts not because he's scared, but because he just wants to run?

I have an arabian gelding, and in the arena he stops the moment I think about it. Outside, not so much (that's why we don't really go outside much, and I would want to do it). How do you ride "hard and fast" a horse who's already galloping full speed? There is all sort of crap on our trails, so going blindly full speed for a long time would be extremely dangerous, and leaving the trail for uneven ground would be worse (high risk of barbed wire laying around in the tall grass).

I know you cannot solve my problems from behind a computer, I'm just interested in hearing your opinion :)
Hi, Cielo!

In order to enjoy riding, we must feel safe and in control. There must be mutual trust between the horse and the handler or it's really tough to have fun.
If your horse has a habit of bolting on the trail, it takes away the fun of riding outside an arena. Therefore, never let your horse go faster than you can control him. Just do walking trailrides if that is all you and your horse can handle. If you are riding with someone else who wants to canter, then put your horse to work doing something else, like small circles or halts and rein backs and side passes and let yielding as you allow forward movement along the trail, but don't canter unless you know you can control your horse's direction and speed.

When I have had horses bolt on me, I've pulled them around my leg IMMEDIATELY and worked them on small circles until I feel them soften and give slack in the reins, and then, I allow them forward, straight movement, but if the horse starts moving faster than a walk without my cue, then we do small circles until I feel that softness in the neck and body . . . And can tell that the horse has his attention on me. Do you do obstacles in the arena? That's a good place to start . . . Giving your horse lots of interesting obstacles and lots of changes of speed and direction.

If my horse is not paying attention to me at the walk and is pulling on the bit and not listening to my cues, then that horse is running away in his mind. We MUST have 100% attention from the horse in order to be safe. Once a horse puts his attention on another horse or a plastic bag or a bird or the wind or grass or whatever, then I am outside my safety zone, not just for me, but for the horse, too (as you mentioned barbed wire or other harmful obstacles on the trail.) It is good if we can have safe trails, but if we can't, we must, at the least, have safe horses and safe riders who are always giving attention to one another.

Try many short walking trail rides and practice other maneuvers as you are going forward . . . And when you feel confident that you have your horse's utmost attention and can get him to respond to your cues at the walk, then try adding in some trot, but keep using the maneuvers (circles, serpentines, halts, rein backs, leg yields) while you are trotting and intersperse walking with the trotting . . . And when you feel that you have your horse's 100% attention at your trot trailrides, then do a trail ride with a short canter . . . But as SOON as you see your horse's attention leave the task and focus on some other stimuli, then slow him to trot and do some maneuvers . . . Then, do another canter. Pretty soon, your horse will realize that whenever he even THINKS of taking his attention off of you, that you will put him to work.

Enjoy and be safe!
     

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