Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northern Illinois
Consistency. The problems you describe are very typical of horses that are green on the trail. These problems vary from sheer panic when being behind others, to just rushing. These horses just need experience to realize that everything is normal. Same thing goes for when they lead the pack. Take it in short bursts when leading. Aim to lead for a good 1/4 mile or so. Then let your horse go back to following. Anytime the horse picks up a speed you do not like, circle him or her and then ask again for the correct pace. If needed, you can have the other riders stop while you correct your horse. It is good for them to know how to patiently lead and follow.
The most important things are to remain calm, communicate with your fellow riders, and be consistent with your horse.
Oh and you mentioned a loose rein. That is important. I enjoy riding on a loose rein. I have seen riders who hold their horses face on the trail because they will pick up a jog if they let the reins relax. This inadvertantly teaches the horse to ignore that pressure. Horses are all about pressure and release. If you keep that pressure, they will eventually ignore it. So instead, when he picks up that trot without being asked, put him in a tight circle. He will slow down, even if it is temporary, because his hind quarters will disengage momentarily. It is a useful technique called a one rein stop. If the horse picks up his speed, ask for that one rein stop and then ask that he continue to walk. It may take a lot of circles at first, but he will eventually get to be the horse that can walk the trails on a loose rein quietly. Also, this needs to be practiced. So if you have a place to try it out, it is fairly simple to teach. It is basically bending the horse around your leg and asking for those hind legs to cross. Practice practice practice and then when you go out you can be confident that your horse will respond to it on the trail .
** Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him **
Last edited by Lakotababii; 03-08-2012 at 08:14 PM.