Barn Sour for Trail Riding
Jubilee is not a trail horse in the least. I rarely take her away from the barn because I'd much rather do ring work with her in the arena. However, a lot of people at my barn trail ride. Unfortunately, she is barn sour, and whenever I do take her on the road, she freaks out and tries to go back. I want to start getting her used to riding on the road and through woods away from the barn, for a couple reasons: 1. In the winter, the roads will be the only place I can really ride because we don't have an indoor arena, 2. everyone always begs me to go on trail rides with them, 3. I do enjoy a nice, relaxing trail ride after a working session.
Let me explain a little bit more. I'll take her on the road, with other horses too, and the moment she can't see the barn, she starts turning and not wanting to go forward. It will take a lot to kick her forward and keep going and she'll eventually do and it and be fine for a few minutes. Then she'll start being stubborn again and want to turn around and not go forward. It is quite annoying. The good news is, the last time I was on the trail with her, she did eventually get used to it, and she did enjoy it. She IS NOT SPOOKY, which is awesome. She likes going new places, and gets excited by seeing new things. She has a lot of courage, as a TB. It's just the initial stages of getting her away from the barn.
Are there any tips, other than just making her go and repeating it?
Thanks in advance! :D
I'd keep doing exactly what you're doing. Trail ride at least 2 or 3 times a week, and she'll get the idea soon enough that you mean it.
Trail riding is very good for a horse's mind. It gets them off the ring work and gives them something else to see.
For a horse that is barn sour it's just a matter of training. Time and Patience. I would take her out a little further each time until she is as comfortable on the trail as she is in the ring. The thing to be careful of is not letting your horse get fast or jiggy on the way back. Once you are back put her to work so that the thought of going back is not to the comfort of the barn but harder work then being out on the trail. What I may do is to tie my horse up for an hour while still tacked (tied with a halter of course). Your horse will learn soon enough that going out is relaxing but being back at the barn is not as much fun.
iride, thanks, that was helpful. I'll have to try that. :P
It always helps going out with another horse, preferably a older trail pony. Keep your mind on the "one rein stop" if you need it. If your mare wants to head back try riding her in small circles to the right then left or figure eights. Always stoping with her face to the trail. Dont worry about taking two steps back to take three forward. Never turn for home when it is her idea. Always try to go a few more feet down the trail and then "you" turn her for the barn letting her know it's your idea. Dont go to far at first but keep adding distance the more you ride. Remember there is no training for a trail horse like miles down the trail. But above all be safe...
You already got good advice from everyone...and lots of praise, too. I've found that the hardest part is about the first half mile...when you're still close enough to hear and smell 'home'.
Thanks everyone for your advice and encouragement. I'll have to put it all to the test. :P
I rarely ride away from my home. We load up in a trailer and haul to the places I ride. My horses seem to throughly enjoy being out. In fact I could probably open the trailer and the gate and they would just hop in. Any horses left at home are the unhappy ones.
I guess my suggestion is that you might try trailering off the property and then doing your trail ride. When on the trail, Keep asking for something from your horse. A lateral or verticle give, A disengagement, any and all the things you work on in the arena. In other words, don't give your horse time to worry about where she is. Keep her mind focused on you. Before she knows it she will be a mile down the trail and enjoying the outing.
Sorry to hijack this thread, but I had a question on my own.
I just adopted a QH that has done extensive trail riding. But she has not trail ridden in about a year. She has sort of just sat. I have been working with her in the ring to get her conditioning back. And I thought as a treat we would unwind and go on the trail.
She was very good going out. No spooking. Just a nice forward marching walk, ears forward etc. When I turned to head back, she started jigging and wanting to take off. After spinning around a bit, I decided I was safer on the ground. So I got off. (she stood nice and still but tense) As I walked her back, the minute she started jigging or getting pushy, I ask her to whoa, and make her stand, until she quieted. Then I would ask her to walk on. If she couldn't walk on quietly, we would repeat the whoa and stand. She settled down eventually, but was still very tense and ready to 'go'.
My question is, should I work her in hand on the trail until she gets back in the swing of things. Or should I ride. I do not like the idea of dis-mounting on trail with a horse that is misbehaving. Too much can go wrong. But I am new to riding Western and trail riding. I haven't done much riding in over a year and I don't feel that my seat is too secure right now. What do you suggest?
First, JubileeRose, the advice you have been given above is excellent, and I really like what Barbarosa said about miles on the trail being the best training for the horse. The more you do it, the easier it will be.
Second, Amymcree, If you need to dismount and do ground work, do it. Whatever makes you feel safe and in control is what you should do. Eventually, you won't have to get off or you'll get off much later. Either way, whatever you need to do to be safe and give the horse a job to do.
Eventually he'll learn it's a lot easier just to listen while you're in the saddle, because boy he sure has to work a lot when you get down! :-)
To develop a more secure seat, ride where you can, arena, round pen, ect... and ride a lot. Also practice your one rein stops until it is an automatic response for your horse. These things will give you more confidence on the trail too. Circling is also great to give a horse something else to think about instead of home. Practice all these things in a safe place until it is an automatic response. And remember to breath when things get a little tense. They can feel when we stop and it really does add to their tenseness.
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