Avoiding Dusk...Kind-of a rant. Worried for my safety.
So Mom and I have been trail riding together a lot lately with Rebel and Selena...I still do take Selena out alone though during the day, around four or five for a couple miles and then come back. As you guys know, she is green on the trail, and before was really dangerous. Bucking, rearing, crowhopping, bolting, jumping around, etc. We have since then resolved most of that but she still gets strong on the trails, jiggy, nervous, etc sometimes. I've been trying to build her confidence by going out in broad daylight, when the bugs and other animals aren't out, and a little guilty because for my personal safety she is less apt to act up when it's warm out still...:oops:
Well my Mom really wants to ride when it's cool. I don't mind doing that, but Selena gets really nervous when it's cooler and we have a lot of animals (Deer mostly, but I know we have lions and bears around here too. I've actually seen a couple when I've been out driving and once when I was out on Rebel, the experienced trail horse) and plus the mosquitos come out with a vengeance at this time of night and really aggravates Selena.
Well I feel bad because Rebel (Who my Mom rides) is fine with all this. He just goes around, does whatever, unbothered because he's got a ton of miles and experience. But Selena is another story. The past couple rides I had had to get off and walk because I haven't felt safe on her. It's not fun for me...She is fine during the day, but not perfect, and I really want to put a lot of miles on her during the daylight without all that extra stimuli before we start riding around dusk. And if we have to go out at dusk, I really want to go on trails she is familiar with...But I get talked into bushwacking and exploring most of the time.
I kinda mentioned it to my Mom before, but she brushed me off. I feel bad because I don't want to ruin her ride because she seems to really be enjoying Rebel which makes me happy since I don't have a lot of time for him these days, but I'm scared of my own horse. From her past behavior, I'm worried that she's going to revert back to that if she gets scared enough and get me or herself hurt.
Do you guys think I'm overreacting? I'm a little more emotional than normal right now too...Which, I feel like it might be effecting how I feel too. I am confident I can handle Selena if she is just feeling strong, but I don't want to put extra stress on either of us if it can be avoided...
I guess I just had to voice my concerns. We're supposed to be going out again tonight...I'm going to ask her if we can just stay on familiar trails.
Most any fly spray will knock the mosquitoes back. The more you ride her at whatever time, the better she should do. It sounds like she needs lots of miles put on her. If she is too crazy, you might need to go back to the training arena and work on basics. The time of day should not be that big of an issue. If you are anticipating trouble, she will probably sense it and provide you with plenty of it.
Be calm, but be ready.
I'm not a big advocate of lunging before a ride, unless the horse is stalled and is a nutter butter and whatnot, but lunging her before the ride might help.
I am ALSO not a big fan of drugging horses. I like training instead. However, a friend of mine used to ride in parades with her paint and he would rear and carry on. She aced him once and from then on, he was a sweetheart in parades. I never got that or understood it, but it worked for her. I don't know if I would ever do it, but again, she just had to do it once and from then on, he was like an old parade horse. Go figure.
If this continues after ride upon ride upon ride with no improvement, you might have to face the fact that she might not be a trail horse. Some horses love trail riding, others hate it. She just might be an arena horse and thats the end of that.
The only way to know is if you keep riding her out on trails to improve her confidence. If nothing improves, she just hates the trails and would rather do arena work.
Arena work before you hit the trails will get you some added attention and get her listening before you open the gate as well.
Is it also that it is close to supper time and she is focusing on that?
Could be she doesn't see well too, when it is more shadowy?
Agreed -- the more miles, the better it should get regardless of the time of day. As a matter of fact, if you avoid dusk it will continue to be something new to her. Keep the rides shorter at dusk for now so you are not so stressed.
Also, don't confuse being energetic with being nervous. Just as people tend to not want to do anything when it's hot, then perk up when the heat breaks, horses are the same. If you perceive nervousness, as posted above, you are transmitting that to your horse.
Here's a few random things for you to mull over
1. Maybe a riding fly sheet to keep the bugs off her?
2. What about trying some trail bells to make some noise and help scatter wildlife before you approach?
3. A light up breastplate may offer a bit more light and comfort
4. Earplugs for the horse?
5. Try timing your rides so that you're coming back at dusk so she knows she's going home And won't be worried about her destination
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OMG when you said "lions" I thought you were from Africa lol! I guess you meant mountain lions. My horse is always a little spookier at dusk and I think alot of it has to do with shadows at that time of day. I would keep going out so that he gets used to it and be careful that you are not nervous and projecting that on him.
I guess it's just me, I know she definitely needs more miles, but I'd rather get a her comfortable during broad daylight BEFORE all the scary things come out and then add that later on. I have tried a ton of fly sprays and they work okay but not great.
We just got back from the ride, I convinced Mom to go a little earlier than before, and she did okay expect for a couple times when things were in the bushes and she skittered away or tried to spin around to go home. Oh and I don't need an explanation of barn sourness, I know how to deal with it, it's just I get to the point now where I want to prepare the **** out of her for things so that way I won't have to enter an argument with her. Sure we're always going to have something to fight over, but I'd like to minimize the effort...
My one mare is really spooky when I ride her out at dusk. Part of that is because she can't see well, and has more difficulty with the shadows. She walks with her head real low to the ground, which she doesn't normally do during the day.
I also don't see well at that time of night either.
Irregardless of how your horse is, you need to be confident. If you're out there riding her and are a rack of nerves waiting for her to explode... Odds are it's going to happen. And there's no sense in putting yourself at risk for the sake of your horse.
It sounds to me like the best plan for you is to keep working her until she and you are at a place where you guys are comfortable with each other. Then move on to things more challenging.
Perhaps it's an option that you could have someone more experianced take her out during the evenings for the first while? Someone confident with help keep her calm and set her mood in the right place.
Absolutely all these new things are great for training and the exposure will do wonders for her, but your horse isn't worth you. If you're not comfortable and ready yet, just wait. It'll happen, so there's no sense in you rushing and ending up hurt.
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