Introducing your horse to trails....

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Introducing your horse to trails....

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  • Introducing horses to trail riding

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    03-14-2010, 10:39 AM
Question Introducing your horse to trails....

I have 1400 acres of state trails within walking distance from the barn that I board. Now the street that many people ride down to the trail on is not busy by any means, but it is a long country road and motorcycles and cars tend to zoom by. I know that I eventually would like to spend many hours riding the trails with her, but how do you go about introducing trail riding to a horse? She's fairly desensitized to cars coming and going from the yard, but I haven't really walked her on a road, and never have in the woods. She's fairly good when being led unfamiliar places, although she tends to change her way of breathing, smell the ground, and quietly snort. She's not a prancy, boltish type of horse. How should I go about the desensitization process?
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    03-14-2010, 11:17 AM
Is there an experienced horse at your barn? If so, I'd suggest to take this horse (+ its rider) with you. If the horse rests calm, it will also calm your horse.
    03-14-2010, 12:25 PM
Originally Posted by matzki    
Is there an experienced horse at your barn? If so, I'd suggest to take this horse (+ its rider) with you. If the horse rests calm, it will also calm your horse.
I agree, just ask someone with a good stable horse to take you.

That said I prefer to ride alone even with a new baby.
    03-14-2010, 02:34 PM
I agree with the previous suggestions: if at all possible, get connected with someone at your barn or in a local saddle club who owns a seasoned trail horse and ask if they would be willing to ride with you from time to time, as a confidence-booster for your own horse.

Be clear about the fact that you are working on introducing your horse to trails, so you may need to do some training-breaks along the way if your horse starts having issues.

If you just say "hey, can I join you on a ride some time," they may not realize that this is more of a "training" ride. That can end up being frustrating for them and nerve-wrecking for you and your horse.

Happy trails!
    03-14-2010, 10:07 PM
Ride her as far as she's comfortable, and take her on lots of walks!

Getting a more experienced horse to go along is also a good idea, just don't let her get to dependent on them. I don't have other people to ride w/ so I have to make due alone.
    03-14-2010, 10:39 PM
Riding with a seasoned horse is a great way to start, or if you feel comfortable enough alone, just take her out and see how she does. Our youngest mare was started on the trails with very little ring work... some horses just feel right at home on the trails.

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