Quick trail riders question - Page 3

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Quick trail riders question

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    01-07-2010, 04:04 PM
Still time if anyone has any more trail challanges they would like to share I would love to hear them : )
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    01-07-2010, 04:24 PM
Stepping off into deep dark water. Vida has no problem crossing water unless its a step down into very deep water. I guess I don't blame her if neither of us knows how deep the water is. Also stepping down off a cliff side. If its a straight drop of more than a few feet she likes to fight me especially if its a deep drop into water. Is that a depth perception problem?
    01-07-2010, 04:54 PM
Yes it is, apparently your depth perception is bad, lol.

Really, though puddles and dark water are the hardest for horses as they cannot see the bottom. And both issues are a combination of horse common sense that is stronger than their confidence in the rider.

Having said that, I do not mind a horse stopping to evaluate the situation as long as they are thinking, in control and continue on when I ask. I don't get too gushy, but I do believe some horses have more sense then we give them credit.

If the horse is fearful, spooking, balking, then these are holes in the training that need work. You have to remember when we cue a horse to go through something like this, it is just a go forward cue. Personally, I do not have a cross the water, cross the puddle, cross the log cue system. Just go forward. So, as long as the horse is obeying my cues I am good.

If you think your horse has a vision problem, have him checked by the vet, but remember there are blind horses that are ridden and shown, so just modify your training/riding to accommodate your horses handicap.
    01-07-2010, 05:31 PM
Gee thanks^^^ so its my riding ability and my horses lack of confidence in me?
    01-08-2010, 01:08 AM
Nope, I am sure you are a very accomplished rider to take on these obstacles. Trail tells us a lot about what our horse understands. They are constantly challenged by new situations and in them we find areas that need improvement.

Will your horse step calmly and controlled out of a trailer head first (slant load)? Does she have any issues crossing large obstacles such as fallen trees, or any troubles negotiating step ups? How about crossing bridges or passing through narrow passages. If she does not have problems with these then it most likely is not her vision.

I wrote a post on crossing obstacles a few days ago. Take a look if you haven't already, and see if there is something in that lesson that your horse could use more work on. Her confidence may not be lacking so much in you as in herself.

I am trying to think of ways at home that you could simulate the obstacle such as stepping down out of the trailer or maybe off a 'trail' bridge that is flat, not arched, onto a tarp or manmade puddle. You could make large puddles not necessarily deep, but murky so she can't see the bottom.

The more obstacles you can create at home to build her confidence will help on trail. Be creative, but make them safe. One that I like is taking 4-5 landscape poles (flat on two sides and round on the other two) drill a hole at one end and secure them together (stacked) with a rod then fan them out. You can make them close together or far apart and because they are stacked on top of each other you can step over the low end, middle, or center heights.

Some horses just need to learn where their feet are. Horses cannot see where they are stepping and that may be what is unnerving your horse. Practice putting each foot where you want on the obstacle and have her stay there. Have fun with it and get as much control of her feet as you can.
    01-08-2010, 02:06 PM
One of my worst challenges. After a big downpoor I was going through the park and ran into a bridge but the water had detoured around the bridge washing out the ramp heading up to the bridge. It was a straight up concrete wall that I was looking at. About 100 yards above the bridge was a dam. It was about a 30 inch concrete dam with high water on one side and boiling water about 12-15 feet down the other side and about 30 feet across. There is a low railing on both sides but it didn't come past the horses belly.
Ride across or get off and walk/ lead him???

If I ride across I can control his hind end better, he responds to leg cues but if he panics and goes over the railing both of us are dead?

Lead him but if he rushes he will run me down but if he goes over he goes alone??

I rode him, talked soothingly to him and step by step he crossed without rushing. My legs held him steady so we didn't brush the railing.
All was well but he trusted me and responded as he was trained to do.
    01-08-2010, 02:11 PM
Originally Posted by Vidaloco    
Stepping off into deep dark water. Vida has no problem crossing water unless its a step down into very deep water. I guess I don't blame her if neither of us knows how deep the water is. Also stepping down off a cliff side. If its a straight drop of more than a few feet she likes to fight me especially if its a deep drop into water. Is that a depth perception problem?

I watched my guy handle a tricky 3 foot straight down drop. I switched horses with a lady who was afraid. She knows my horse and knows he handles everything in his stride. Anyway she went first and my horse sat down like a big cat. As his front legs dropped over the ledge his hind end squatted down until he was sitting on the bank with his front legs fully extended into the drop and then he just pushed off as nice and level as can be. While I couldn't watch the guy I was on he seemed to do the same thing. No sudden drop of the front end but it seemed like a level push off.
    01-08-2010, 02:13 PM
Riding along with the same lady as above and the trail was blocked by a log pile. It was only 4 logs high but a pyramid all the same. I got off, led my horse up and over, he climbed the ladder up and down the other side. The lady was afraid so I led him back , turned around and did it again with her leading my guy and me leading hers.
Again total trust. No problem.
    01-08-2010, 03:03 PM
Outstanding. My Arabian gelding will go anywhere I ask and would probably do anything I asked him dangerous or not. Reason - hours and hours of work on gaining control (which is given with trust) of his feet, shoulders, hips, nose, legs, you get the point.

I never fully understood the gravity of that point until the day I was on a trail ride with my husband and we were going down a fairly steep slope when my husband yelled out to stop. It was too late, my boy stepped into and was tangled in some buried barbed wire. I pulled up before he continued on and ripped his legs apart and he waited on a downhill slope with the wire around his legs until my husband was able to ride home (thankfully not too far away) get cutters and cut him free. My boy never moved a muscle.

I also had an incident where I decided to take him into a lake. Being a kid I thought why that would be fun. He hesitated, but finally went in. My mistake, as there was no shore at that spot and we were instantly swimming. Yup, we had to find a way out and did and he was unscathed. My deepest sadness is that he suffered a torn ligament in his knee while turned out and can no longer be ridden.

I don't mean to sound mushy, but the more time and interest you invest in your horse, the deeper the rewards you will receive. I am talking about the silly stuff like getting your horse to place his front feet say into a tire while you are riding or even better from the ground without halter or touching him. Being able to lunge him without a line. Treating him like a dog or even a friend. Knowing when he is off and where he loves to sleep for a nap.

Get insanely specific in your requests and have fun.
    01-08-2010, 03:13 PM
While some carry hoof picks I carry a good pair of wire cutters. I had a really nice leather holder made that totally protects the wire cutters and it is permanently mounted on my saddle. Every now and then I take the cutters out and WD-40 them really well and check that they are not rusting.
While I have never needed them I always always carry a pair.

My friend came home one day with his horse wearing a sock. It was the horse's skin that had been torn off and hanging down over his hoof.. He was tore to shreds and he didn't have wire cutters to free him.
It was not a pretty thing.

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