Trail riding, not the lead horse
   

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Trail riding, not the lead horse

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        04-20-2014, 04:22 PM
      #1
    Foal
    Trail riding, not the lead horse

    I rode a friend's Arab and while we were cantering over rough ground I kept asking him to back off from the lead horse. I was worried he couldn't see where he was putting his feet and I also don't want him to ride up someone else's tail. This made him anxious that I was holding him back from the fun although I just wanted a half length of room.

    How do you keep your horse back without getting him worked up? Maybe I should just have faith that he'll put his feet where he should and forget about ME seeing the ground?
         
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        04-20-2014, 04:26 PM
      #2
    Weanling
    I would want more than a half length of room especially cantering. For m
    ine who likes to bite butts in front of him, I stop him, back him up a bit and make him stand quiet until the horses in front have gone on a bit up the trail and then ask him to walk off quietly.
         
        04-20-2014, 04:32 PM
      #3
    Trained
    He'll know where to put his feet. If you watch horses move in the wild, they don't look down at the ground unless they're in a really rocky area (I'm talking BIG rocks). Their eyes are designed in such a way that they can see the ground without having to move or tilt their head.

    As for him getting anxious, that sounds more like a training/buddy sour issue than something you did wrong.
    Posted via Mobile Device
         
        04-20-2014, 04:33 PM
      #4
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mochachino    
    I would want more than a half length of room especially cantering. For m
    ine who likes to bite butts in front of him, I stop him, back him up a bit and make him stand quiet until the horses in front have gone on a bit up the trail and then ask him to walk off quietly.
    After you have schooled your horse this way, he naturally stays back without fighting him?


    My concern is that he went from being very happy to losing it to his Arab brain. LOL I would like more than a half length but I was definitely settling for this. He took so long to settle down after that. I read so many posts that say, don't fight, let them relax. I'm not disagreeing with your advice and thanks for weighing in.
         
        04-20-2014, 04:33 PM
      #5
    Super Moderator
    Even if your horse sees the trail, you should never ride up into another horses' tail. It can cause all sorts of accidents - the lead horse may kick, he might stumble and then your horse would crash into him and stumble as well, your horse might cause the lead horse speeding up out of control if the lead horse takes it as a challenge to race, your horse might step onto the hind legs of the lead horse and cause him to trip, and so on...

    First, you should practice your stops and transitions in an arena. When everything is going fine, you can hit the trails again and, in the beginning, practice on holding the distance at the walk and the trot. Only when the horse is fully obedient in the slower gaits, you may canter and be very demanding when it comes to keeping the distance. Teaching independence - standing while the lead horse walks, trots and even canters off or in the opposite direction, going in opposite directions or past each other - will be very beneficial as well.

    As I don't know the level of your experience, I won't go into details right now, but don't hesitate to ask for help of a more experienced rider or a trainer, if you need to.
    ecasey, Woodhaven and SueC like this.
         
        04-20-2014, 04:40 PM
      #6
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mistyorbit    
    After you have schooled your horse this way, he naturally stays back without fighting him?


    My concern is that he went from being very happy to losing it to his Arab brain. LOL I would like more than a half length but I was definitely settling for this. He took so long to settle down after that. I read so many posts that say, don't fight, let them relax. I'm not disagreeing with your advice and thanks for weighing in.
    Works for the horse I have right now. I don't want him to be buddy sour on the trails, start to have confidence in himself and me in being further and further away from the other horses and be able to eventually go out alone. It has taken some time, but horses can now be completely out of sight, around a corner and we walk off nicely, then I might ask for a trot to get back in line, stopping about 3 lengths away.
         
        04-20-2014, 05:24 PM
      #7
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Saranda    
    Even if your horse sees the trail, you should never ride up into another horses' tail. It can cause all sorts of accidents - the lead horse may kick, he might stumble and then your horse would crash into him and stumble as well, your horse might cause the lead horse speeding up out of control if the lead horse takes it as a challenge to race, your horse might step onto the hind legs of the lead horse and cause him to trip, and so on...

    First, you should practice your stops and transitions in an arena. When everything is going fine, you can hit the trails again and, in the beginning, practice on holding the distance at the walk and the trot. Only when the horse is fully obedient in the slower gaits, you may canter and be very demanding when it comes to keeping the distance. Teaching independence - standing while the lead horse walks, trots and even canters off or in the opposite direction, going in opposite directions or past each other - will be very beneficial as well.

    As I don't know the level of your experience, I won't go into details right now, but don't hesitate to ask for help of a more experienced rider or a trainer, if you need to.
    I really have a lot of experience but am trying to put away my pride and ask. This horse is very responsive, a former dressage horse with lovely gaits. I could school him all day in the ring and get nothing but "yes". This is not the first time I've found myself fighting a horse on the trail to stay back and I think my fighting is making them nervous. I just don't see much use in letting them go and do what they want on the trail. I've never foxhunted but I think I'd be a nervous wreck wanting to have control while they all seem to just being letting go and flying.
         
        04-20-2014, 05:35 PM
      #8
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum    
    He'll know where to put his feet. If you watch horses move in the wild, they don't look down at the ground unless they're in a really rocky area (I'm talking BIG rocks). Their eyes are designed in such a way that they can see the ground without having to move or tilt their head.

    As for him getting anxious, that sounds more like a training/buddy sour issue than something you did wrong.
    Posted via Mobile Device

    I think I need to remember this. This guy was esp. Nervous because another horse had joined our ride, too. I think I'd feel a lot better if I could just let them go without deciding where their next foot should land on the trail, but that is sort of my nature. Thanks.
         
        04-20-2014, 07:11 PM
      #9
    Yearling
    Hiya! I know how this feels, because my Arabian mare used to get worked up when she wasn't leading, especially if there was a pace on. Using a mild curb bit really reduced the fretting and helped her relax. I rode her in a Spanish snaffle (port-mouth, slotted D ring) or port-mouthed pelham for such occasions, which meant things could be kept light. Then I found she preferred that to a snaffle anyway (mouth configuration, gradual action of curb bits, pressure spread over larger area and not just directly on bars) and it became our most-used bit. This is a mare you could ride bareback and in a halter at all her paces on her own, and we also did a lot of dressage training, at which she was super. During endurance rides we weren't attached to any particular group, so no issues.

    I totally echo everyone else's sentiment that you want a nice bit of distance between yourself and the horse in front to prevent accidents. I also like to ride slightly offset, for that reason.
         
        04-22-2014, 08:57 AM
      #10
    Banned
    Rule of the trail, "slow horses to the rear"!
    Always put the fast horse in the front and on down the line. Prevents Rear End Jack-Pots.
         

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