Always check the weather
I learned this important lesson tonight. I was out for a trail ride on my green 4yo mare. She is great in the ring, but we are still working on confidence on the trails. She has only had 1 successful trail ride before today. She tends to rush back to the barn and we've been working on it.
I was about 15 minutes away from the barn when the sky started to get a little dark and it started sprinkling. I thought oh great (I was wearing a white shirt too!), and turned around to walk/trot back to the barn. I didn't want to rush because the grass was wet and she likes to rush back to the barn. About a minute later, the sky opened up and it started pouring and there was thunder and lightning. My mare freaked out and reared and started galloping towards the barn. We are still working on our brakes at the gallop (you can't really gallop in the ring) as she is an ex-racehorse. I was trying to slow her down while I only had 1 stirrup and could barely see because my glasses were covered in rain. I would've spun her in a circle, but the grass was so wet I thought she would fall. She galloped almost all the way back to the barn and probably undid at least a weeks work of training. I got back on in the indoor and finished the ride.
Lesson learned. Even if the sky looks nice- always check the weather before a ride.
Just leave a rain jacket tied on behind the cantle. Then if it rains you can practice putting on a jacket while seated in the saddle.
One more scary thing to desensities your horses to. Shaking out a rain coat and trying to get your arms in it while it flaps in the wind.
This is awful photo, Everything was so wet and raining so hard. But is a favorite of mine, My two youngest daughters got caught with me on long horse ride into the Uinta Wilderness when a thunderstorm rolled across and dumped. We were 10 miles up the trail from the truck and just had to endure the rain and ride. My daughters never complained and still had a great ride, even soaking wet. Probably the memories it stirs more than the photo are why it's still on my computer.
Our barn it's has a half mile loop around a hay field for our trail rides. It only takes 30 minutes to ride the loop so I never even thought about the weather. I can see where a
Rain coat can come in handy, but I wouldn't have been able to put it on because she spooked at the thunder. I just went for a ride in my jumping saddle for cool down- as you can tell, I guess I disnt burn enough energy because she still galloped off. I'm riding again today and the weather looks good :)
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I'm with your horse -- I wouldn't stick around for a lightning storm, either. I normally don't let my horse run back to the barn, as it's an irritating habit, to say the least, but back when I lived in Colorado, there were a few times when I misjudged the weather and *asked* her to gallop hell bent for leather back to the barn, outrunning a storm. I don't mess around with lightning.
It is amazing just how fast a storm can come up. I wasn't out riding, but we had a tremendous downpour today. We had an inch of rain in 30 minutes. It was sunny and beautiful before it started and the weather said that there was no chance of rain.
So far I have yet to need to outrun a storm, thankfully, but I am glad you both got back safe, even if it was quicker than planned! I am SO glad I got eye surgery- glasses in the rain were one of the things I hated! I doubt it undid all of your training though. You might have to worry about thunder again next time, but a sunny day might bring out what you've taken so much time already to teach her. :)
I rode her out on the trails again yesterday and she was a little more nervous than usual (is that possible? :) ). When I turned her around to go to the barn, she did her usual little "dance" (tossing her head around, prancing a little bit), but then she calmed down and we wlked back to the barn. There were only a few times when she tried to go faster and it was usually when she was nervous. I'm so glad I dont have to re-teach her. She isn't perfect yet, but at least she isn't spinning and rearing like she used to. She is usually such a curious, sane horse, but when we're on the trail she is a bit of a baby (she is only 4...)
You're braver than me! I can't see myself taking a 4 y/o TB out on the trails...heck I am cautious even when taking my 13 yr old hanoverian out alone (he can be a bit of a pill at times when he wants to be lol). I haven't gotten caught out in the weather with him yet, but there have been times I have been out with my mustang and gotten rained on. One time when it was particularly bad we raced it home (and lost lol). I don't generally check the weather before heading out but I probably should! There was one instance a couple months ago where my sister and I were several miles from home and got caught in a deluge, complete with wind, thunder and lightning.
Keep working with her and you will get it down. I had an off the track Quarter Horse that had raced 20 times with a few wins, etc. He was great on the trails! Being caught in the rain with a "green" horse bites. I have rode Biscuit in the rain once without lightening and it was just fine. Once with thunder like crazy and going back at a quick clip through the forest was fun but a little nerve racking!!
Glad you and the horse were not hurt!!!
I have been working with her and we finally managed our first walk/trot around the whole field alone! It was about a 20-30 minute hack and it was the first time with no spooking/bucking/rearing/spinning/ or nervousness. I'd take her out with other horses, but she just tries to race them, even if she's in front
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