This is how we train a fearless trail horse! - Page 5

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This is how we train a fearless trail horse!

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    10-11-2011, 09:57 PM
Originally Posted by Tianimalz    
She'll go wherever I ask, but she always questions first and I listen. I find it unfair to just make her do something before I'll do it myself.
Indie has learned that if she ASKS to stop for a break on the long trails, or to look at something; more then often I'll let her. Why? Because we are both out to have fun.
This is the behavior I am referring to. With some horses this is a sign of rebellion and misbehavior. It has the potential to build into a horse that won't leave the barn yard because it doesn't want to. "Hey, if I stop and raise my head and flick my ears and turn around this chick won't make me leave the barn. We are in a partnership, so she thinks. Boy, do I have her number! Tee-hee." Can you see where I am going with this. You obviously have a horse that hasn't gotten to this point and maybe she never will. How many novice riders will have a willing partner if the horse makes all the decisions. Just something to think about.

Obviously, this doesn't apply to you and your horse, but many new comers read these boards and they ought to know straight away that relationships with horses aren't all rainbows and butterflies.
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    10-11-2011, 11:46 PM
Originally Posted by Sahara    
It has the potential to build into a horse that won't leave the barn yard because it doesn't want to. "Hey, if I stop and raise my head and flick my ears and turn around this chick won't make me leave the barn. We are in a partnership, so she thinks. Boy, do I have her number! Tee-hee."
Reminds me of my first horse, before he was mine & I wasn't very experienced & didn't have a saddle. He trained me very well! He'd humour me, because he liked going out & about too, but when he'd had enough, he'd rear & spin, so I'd just think 'OK, best go home now!' Didn't take long for me to learn his signals so he no longer bothered having to rear.... When I finally bought him I'd had a lot more experience on other horses & first couple of rides out he did the rear & spin thing & I just laughed and spun him around & kept going.... he never tried it again!
    10-14-2011, 11:13 AM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I know that you are absolutley right, and I wish I could do what you said about riding forward when the horse starts to get worried. I know that this is what would help Mac when he gets worried on the trail (which he worries a lot, though he isn't so much spooky as worried).

What is holding me back is that he has got me off 5 times by making incredibly sudden and unexpected spins. I'll be going along and thinking it's all going swimmingly and the next thing I know, he has kind of dropped out from under me as he bounced off his planted front legs and wheels, almost always to the right. Well, I get thrown forward and he spins out from under me. He's a bit downhill in build to begin with and if I am trotting and posting and he catches me on the up part, I am toast. At the canter he's done it and nearly pitched me. At the walk I can usually ride it out. And he's spun MANY times that were near dumpers for me but I stayed put.

SO, though I know I need to push him harder and faster forward, I find I just don't have the faith that he will stay going forward and not spin on me so fast that I'll hit the dirt , , again. (and I am not so young, either).

This is the only thing that I feel is't right between he and I . And we have worked on riding past scary things a lot and at the walk, he seems to be willing to be lead by me, but I just cannot make my mind and body commit, really committ to FORWARD! Like you say is required. I am not sure if I can block out the apprehension and go.

Not much you can do about that where you are, but just thought I'd put that out there.
im in the same boat as you :/ don't worry
I have tried to push him past things and from being thrown twice by him I get alittle takena back to go forward all the time... wish we could just take that part of our memory out :) and continue on
    10-14-2011, 01:13 PM
Super Moderator
For those that asked what kind of saddle is easier to stay in:

I have found a deep seated ranch saddle built on an 'Association Tree'. These are the deep seated saddles used by saddle bronc riders. I have a saddle like that, with a plain, hard seat, that we have used for years on colts. It is very secure and a LOT harder to fall out of.

But, it is not very comfortable for long rides. I may have a local saddle maker make a saddle for me on an Association Tree, but have it made with a dropped rigging (like the reining saddles that have less bulk under the riders upper leg) and a padded seat that is more narrow like the pleasure saddles made for female riders. The mens' saddles have much wider, flatter seats.

The other thing a rider can do is add 'bucking rolls' to the back of the pommel of the saddle. Many bronc riders and colt starters also use these on every saddle they ride.

I used to love riding Hunt Seat, but I have not put my Passier Saddle on a horse in 6 or 7 years. I just cannot stay in it any more -- even on a really broke horse.
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    10-14-2011, 01:36 PM
Originally Posted by Cherie    
... I have a saddle like that, with a plain, hard seat, that we have used for years on colts. It is very secure and a LOT harder to fall out of...
OMG, Cherie--I think I have one of those!! I have this old Western with a hard-as-a-rock seat that looks terribly uncomfortable, but it fits like a glove. It's going to the saddlers this winter bc the stirrup leathers are worn out on the bottom, but I'll never part with it.
You know, I think a discussion about herd dynamics is in order on this thread considering the notion that your horse is your "friend" and your "equal." IF you horse is your friend, he/she cannot be your equal. Horses, dogs, cats--ANY social animal--understands that a relationship means one is alpha and the other is beta. YOU need to always be the alpha, and your horse needs to always be the beta. It makes your horse comfortable to know where he stands with you. He will be out of control is he gets to be the controller.
I think I can safely say that everyone here desires that their horse(s) enjoy their job. I expect my seasoned horses to help me do things when I ride them, and it is appropriate for your horse to keep thinking. In fact, if they "zone out" when you ride habitually, they might wake up and react to something that frightens them. Certainly work horses, like Cherie uses are not being denied life simply bc they are expected to work hard.
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    10-16-2011, 07:21 PM
Very interesting post - obviously there is more than one way to skin a cat. I don't agree with the 'going fast' past something scary. I know someone who rides their horse that way and everytime she comes to the 'scary thing' in the trail it looks a lot like bolting to me. Also, I don't like to refer to horses as machines - I've heard of too many people using two-by-fours to get the engine tuned.
    10-16-2011, 08:55 PM
Originally Posted by Pat Miran    
I don't agree with the 'going fast' past something scary. I know someone who rides their horse that way and everytime she comes to the 'scary thing' in the trail it looks a lot like bolting to me.
I have found the total opposite. A horse's natural defense is to run, so a horse that's moving out and going places is much less likely to spook. That's why the Thoroughbreds on the track don't spook-they're already going full tilt.

I have found that when I try to keep a horse slow and from bolting, that only has the adverse affect and convinces them they're trapped and I'm keeping them in that scary situation with no possibility of escape. On the opposite hand, when a horse "freezes up" and starts moving slowly and hesitantly, it gives them a lot more trust and respect (in me) when I force them to get their butts moving and keep listening to me, no matter what they're scared of.

In the field, I have seen time and time again the lead horse punishing another for being an idiot-I don't really think they give a rat's behind what is bothering that other horse, only that that other horse isn't listening and being respectful when it should be at all times. And while I don't ever think punishing a frightened horse is the way to go, being firm and ignoring their fear helps to show them that you're in charge no matter what, and no matter how scared they are, you and what you are asking should always be first on their minds.
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    10-16-2011, 10:03 PM
Super Moderator
Obviously you didn't read what I wrote. I did not say anywhere that you run away from a fearful object. Quite the opposite -- I explain that you should never let a horse 'turn tail' to anything he fears. You speed up the pace when going toward the fearful object. You keep the horse's attention on you and your agenda and keep the horse from having his own. You keep his feet busy and you keep his mind on you. This is what I said to do:
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.
Does this sound like a horse bolting away from something with the blessing of his rider? I think not.
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    10-17-2011, 12:26 AM
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.
Cherie - I was referring to your number 4 point in your post. I don't feel going fast past something spooky is a good idea - although, in some circumstances its all you can do. And yes, it does have the feeling of bolting.

Pintophile - Yes, I agree with you that the horse's natural instinct is to run away from danger. That is why I'm not keen on letting my horse speed up the pace past something spooky. Also, I've raced my horse with others and I have experienced his being startled into changing direction by moving to the side. Horses react quickly - it's built into them.

You both have some wonderful points - I might add that I find my horse teaches me a lot when I listen. That doesn't mean I let him be the boss; however, I do believe that riding is a partnership between the rider and the horse.
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    10-17-2011, 01:05 AM
Super Moderator
But, in #4 you are riding toward the object -- not away from it. You speed up to get him 'busy' and to get his mind back to you. Your object is not let the horse spin around and bolt the opposite direction.

As soon as you pass the object, you turn him around (toward the object) and go back and forth like this until the horse decides to just quietly walk by without giving the object a second glance.

It Works!! You do this every time a spooky, silly, booger hunting horse acts afraid of something and very soon you have a horse that does not booger at anything. I've done over and over -- with literally dozens of horses that started out VERY spooky. I've done it with totally goofy Arabians and showed one really spooky one to a US National Top Ten in trail where we had to walk past a fresh cow hide they got from a local slaughter house. He totally respected my leg and kept that ear opposite the hide back on me. We were one of the few entries at the Arabian Nationals that year that did not 'blow out' and run sideways away from the bloody hide.

Some of the horses I worked with to get their CLEET certification started out very spooky and they literally became 'bomb-proof Police horses.

I've tried many different ways to go about getting a quiet horse that was not fearful, and this is the way that has worked best -- not on 1 or 2 horses but on a lot of them. It has worked extremely well on horses that I have trained and also been very successful when I have worked with people riding their own horses. Are there other ways to get a really 'solid' trail horse that does not spook. I'm sure there are. There is never just one way to do anything. But, this one has worked very well for me.

spooking, trail horse

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