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MySerenity 11-14-2011 10:53 PM

What do you do with a drunken sailor?
So I've been taking my 5 year old on some trail rides this summer and over all she's been doing very well. My question is for the trail riding pros out there:

What do you do with a drunken sailor? She weaves her way down the trail. Someone said she may be looking for a nice place to put her feet since she's barefoot but I think she's just easily distracted.

So, if I try to correct her I can keep her between my legs and going straight but that's a lot of work when you're trying to relax :wink: If I keep trying to keep her straight, am I just training her that I have to tell her to keep straight? Should I care if she weaves her way down the trail? It really only bothers me because I ride with other people and usually ride side by side and talk. She tends to bump into the other horses or cut them off.

I've noticed that other horses do this too (my dad calls his a drunken mule) so am I making something out of nothing?

My goal for trail riding is just to go and be able to not think too much and be relaxed. I love that she enjoys the ride and is very interested in her surrounding.

What do you think?

Dreamcatcher Arabians 11-14-2011 11:11 PM

I find that when my horse turns into a 'drunken sailor' it's because I'm not looking where I want him to go. I'm looking sideways at my friend, body follows. I'm looking down at his feet, or just down in front of his nose..etc etc. When I raise my eyes an look down the trail straight out into the distance, he tends to walk straighter.

BarrelWannabe 11-14-2011 11:19 PM

Not to impede, but I actually feel proud of myself for knowing what a "drunken sailor" is.

I had a horse like that. Couldn't walk a straight line to save his life. Looking forward and to a distance did help. I wasn't concerned where or how is feet fell. Just made sure we were headed in the right direction.
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Darrin 11-14-2011 11:21 PM

What Dreamcatcher said. Believe it or not your horse is watching you and in turn looking where you are looking. Everytime she turns her head to see what you are looking at she will arch her body and shift to a side. Try keeping yourself looking straight down the trail.

Joe4d 11-15-2011 06:59 AM

What kinda trails? he is either trying to getoff the gravel or he is purposly trying to go as slow as he can and stay as close to the trailer as possible, Mine will do this heading out some times. He just doesnt wanna go, break of a handy branch and smack him the ass a few times to get the lead out.

QOS 11-15-2011 07:20 AM

Biscuit was all over the place because he was allowed to do so by whom ever former owner threw up there to ride him (read anyone and everyone - most people had never rode horses). So when I got Biscuit I have found that to not make a pleasant ride for me. The barn manager has helped me and he is actually being ridden by a trainer 2 times a week to learn his aids better and to specifically train him to go straighter. Barn Manager does alot of dressage training and said going straight is a very hard skill for horses to learn. Biscuit tends to arch his entire body and double track with his front and back hooves...even if he is just cantering free in pasture and arena.

I ride sometimes with a very nice lady who lets her horse be all over the place. :shock: She cuts in front of you, weaves in and out, pushes people over, etc. Her mare (both of them actually) do this because she allows them to. It makes for a very nerve wracking ride because the old mare will kick and the young one will snake her head at Biscuit, ears flat teeth bared. Now she never actually bites and now won't do it after I got onto her while doing her feet (she was actually well trained until this lady got her!). But there have been a few times that it made for an unfun ride for me.

I rode with her a week and a half ago for 4.5 nerve wrecking miles. My cousin and I and our horses were a nervous wreck :evil: when we dismounted because of her weaving in and out, speeding up, slowing down...she was all over the place.

So yeah, I think it is a big deal for other people you are riding with. I have had to work every single ride with Biscuit to get him to GO straight. If you are on the trail by yourself or with one other person and they are ahead of you the drunken sailor mode won't effect them.

Biscuit has improved so much by not allowing him to just drunken sailor along - teaching him his aides, etc. Makes for a much more fun ride for me!

iridehorses 11-15-2011 07:35 AM

Bonnie is 14 years old and I've owned her for just about 6 months. She was the dictionary definition of a drunken sailor and it drove me crazy. It's taken a lot of work and constant attention to keep her on the path. She's gotten much better - it just took consistency.

What still gets me concerned is when we are on a narrow path with a steep drop off on one side; she will walk very close to the wrong side and I've got to keep my aids on her.

QOS 11-15-2011 08:01 AM

OMG Bill - I live in mostly flat country!!! I am scared of heights where I don't feel secure - and on the back of a weaving horse on a drop off is not a secure place!!

iridehorses 11-15-2011 08:04 AM

When I'm on a trail like that, I keep my feet very shallow in the stirrups. My thought is that if the trail gives way under her, I can get off and not take the trip to the bottom with her.

QOS 11-15-2011 08:55 AM

ok...note to self...shallow in the stirrups!!! We are going riding at McKinney Roughs near Austin, TX Thursday - Sunday. It has some trails that drop off pretty darn steep - when we were there in April I just kept my eyes ahead!!!

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