Did I do the right thing on our problematic solo trail? What would you have done?
So I bought my horse 3 months ago. We have been bonding and going on short trail rides, just down the road or around the park nearby as well as ring work. She does well with it. Well yesterday I decided to take her out on a longer ride. (She has been out this way before with other horses I should add)
Well as we were walking up a hill, surrounded by farmlands, (which we have walked up muliple times) she decided to throw a hissy fit. She started totally ignoring my leg cues, and ending up in the poor farmer's field! (I fear she trampled several corn sapplings) She was tossing her head and side passing in the direction of home. I couldn't get her to go anywhere near the road and she wouldn't stop moving. She would buck or almost rear up (I forced her stupid butt forward before she could get up with my crop)
I forced myself to relax and got her to stand still. (I was really scared of her hitting a random hole and falling since she wasn't watching where she was going) Once she was calmer I tried to get her to go foreward agian, she again started and by this point her entire neck is lathered and she is really upset. I don't think it was a scared thing, I know her scared (she flattens herself out) this seemed like a dominance thing. Or barn sour, IDK I have never expirenced that before? In the interest of safety I decided to get off her.
After dismounting I forced her to walk up to the stop sign and beyond the turn to enforce that she didn't tell me when we were turning around to home. She was still flustered becaase I had to be really firm with her (which upsets her, she was an abuse case), but she did it.
I was going to walk her back to the barn (about a half mile) and decided I didn't want to. It took me 20 min but I remounted her in the field (she kept moving since she was so worked up). We walked back to the barn and I then worked her in the arena hard for a good 45 min. Until she was listening properly and not fighting my cues any longer.
Did I do the right thing in brigining her back to the barn? I feel like that is what she wanted which is why I chose to ride her hard when we got back. Should I have kept going on the trail? Even if it resulted in me walking her on the ground the whole way?
What would you have done?
She doesn't listen well enough to trail ride yet. You need MANY, MANY more hours in the ring. She needs to be trustworthy. I do NOT ride alone--EVER.
Training is on the horse's schedule--NOT ours. (Just heard this from Julie Goodnight.)
3 months is hardly long enough to make a horse. You are lucky that she didn't dump you out there...alone...hurt. Learn from this.
Personally I feel like if you felt unsafe then getting off was the right thing. I probably would have tried to push her through whatever it was bothering her on the trail. But I think you did just fine. She maybe wanted to go back to the barn and got her way there but it was not all fun times when she got back. I think you handled it just fine based on what you are saying. It's hard to tell what you'd do sometimes until you are in that situation. I think you should always consider your safety first.
Corp when I bought her all her owner did was trail ride. Solo and in groups. And she is usually quite well behaved on trails. This was just strange for her.
It's not like I took a horse that has only ever played in a ring out on a solo trail.
I agree with the alone thing, but its not helpable right now. My riding buddy in preggers which means I have to get used to riding solo for at least 10 more months. I ALWAYS have a cell on me and ALWAYS wear a helmet. I also lunge or work her before I take her on a trail so I can see how she is working that day.
Safety first you know? =)
I ride alone all the time. I prefer company, but do ride alone, as do lots of people.
I think you did well in all your decisions with the possible exception of after working her in the arena, I would have started back out on the trail for a ways, if she started to act up, I'd go back and work some more (not 45 minutes, but quick hard work for 5 or 8 minutes) then offer her to walk outward and see if she can go without acting up. keep that up until when you do ask her to go away from the barn, she will do so without a fuss. Don't go too far once she goes forward without complaint, jsut up to the point where you feel she is going to lose it, just before she does, then turn back to the barn ON YOUR DECISION and let that be the end of today's lesson.
Ok thank you TinyLiny I will try that next trail ride. =)
I think you did just fine. Biscuit used to not want to go away from other horses. We have worked on this and I made my first solo ride a week or so ago. It may take several rides/walking trips to get her to go where you want when you want. You may want to take her out just on a lead rope and go the way you did and keep going, let her stop and get a bite, keep going and repeat. Then ride her that way...if she balks, get off and walk her past the point. Eventually she will go...she has done it before. She just may have trust issues or dominance issues with you. Biscuit did. We have worked on it alot and we are getting there!!! He will now go away from other horses and go where I send him (most of the time! Not all the time!)
All horses have the instinct to be herd sour and buddy sour. That may be one of the hardest things to get them out of. Training in the arena is good. It helps a lot. That is something that I am working on more. Arena training does not, however, do the whole thing. You have to do the trails. There is nothing that will condition a horse for trail riding like trail riding. All that stuff the experts do like whacking them over the head with feed sacks and tying walmart plastic bags to the fence posts will teach them not to spook at plastic bags on fence posts and feed sacks on the head. That is nothing to do with deer, buzzards, armadillos, etc, as well as just going away from the security of home. Like Corporal said, it is great if you have somebody to ride with. This doesn't always happen. I think that you did the best you could have done in that situation. The most important thing is that you didn't get hurt.
what did the horse do before you bought her? was she used for trails or was she trained for arena work??
as for what you did, i think you did fine. i ride out alone all the time especially when i am working a green horse for the sole fact i can't find anyone who wants to ride with a green horse. you just have to stay calm in your head and take control of the horse. when my guys lose there head like yours does and starts hurting farmers crops (i know first hand how pissed they get.). so i get off quickly bring them to the trail and force them to do quick circles around me or to move them as fast as possible backwards in the direction i wanted them to go in before the acted up.. once i start seeing them listen to me again i turn them around and continue walking them in the same direction they were backing up towards. the slightest hestiation i start to distract them before they get to there frenzy by walking them in a circle or something to get them to refocus on you. and then i make them walk until my i reached our goal point. if the goal of the ride was to make it 5 miles down and i can't ride him then i walk them the 5 miles and depending on there behavior will ride back. and seeing as you brought her back and continued to work her i think was a great idea.
She was trained for all sorts of things. The lady I got her off of moved from barn to barn alot. She did hunter work. Dressage. Even some western. (It depended what the barn she was at was into...she was a wagon jumper) The only constant she had was that she often trail rode her, and even took her on overnight trips around the state parks of PA.
Shulla is now a dressage mare in training and we trail ride for fun.
I think if she does this again we will be walking the rest of the way and do the try and retreat method that was mentioned. It is a great idea I wish I would have thought about it while I was on her...I guess I let myself get worked up too much.
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