Trail ride emotions
Hey, how do ya'll keep your cool when trail riding by yourself?
I have a pretty decent horse that is fine trail riding but is rusty but
doesn't spook unless reason. But sometimes he'll spook a little and not
want to go forward and try to turn around sometimes and it makes me think that he sees something I can't and then I start to panic because what if there's reason because I can't see something he feels? So, how do you
keep calm and not stress beforehand when there's probably nothing to worry about?
I always keep in mind that it's my job to "Help my horse" through whatever scary thing that he sees/hears. He does hear things I don't, but mostly they are not actually dangerous or threatening. So, without belittling his need to be sure about anything he cannot see , I keep in my mind that I need to "help" him. Just haveing that word in my mind keeps me from becoming angry . Most of the time.
The times when he has suddenly spun a 180, without any discernable warning, and dumped me on the ground , have been the times when I really wanted to clobber him and had zero empathy for his need for "help". He needed spanking , as far as I was concerned. However, I did not spank him after getting up off the ground. just get on and get going.
ALWAYS think of the positives! Helps me everytime. No matter what stupid little thing I get pissed off about, just remember everything that went right!
If both of you are nervy, get off and walk him in hand for a minute or two. This always helps me, as Bunny is pretty spooky and I've just got my confidence up, I'd rather calm both of us down than risk something.
Obviously you can't do that allll the time, or you wouldn't be riding. But it does help in bad situations.
To help with it when I'm on her, I talk to her a lot. Usually this calms us both down, gets rid of anxious feelings.
My barn manager/riding buddy says to sing. She said you have to breath to sing, breathing keeps you calm...singing calms the horse (well, unless you sing worse than me which is probably not possible) and I do quiet a bit of singing to Biscuit when we are alone.
I just took a bomb proof horse clinic. He said NOT to grab up the reins/tighten the reins as this telegraphs your fears to the horse.
Singing has helped me or I tell Biscuit the story of my life...that bores him to tears and he is pretty much a good boy then. :clap:
I agree with most of the advice, but I, personally, would not get off and walk when my horse gets antsy and I'm not sure if there's a reason or not. On the off chance there's a bear, I'd rather be on my horse than lose it when it runs from the bear. One, it makes you bigger than the bear, and two, running makes you prey. Not that I've ever come across anything more frightening than a deer, lol. I also know when my horse is acting up because she's being a dingbat, which is every time she acts up.
I bring my iPhone, let it play out the speaker, and sing along to that. It makes noise so I don't get antsy at the sound of a falling leaf, but I also don't have headphones in so I can hear anything actually worth hearing. I can stick my phone in my bra so it's easy to hear and won't get lost, lol.
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More miles.....the more you ride the more both of you will get comfortable and you'll learn when there really is trouble ahead.
Ricci: Haha, was thinking more of the squirrel/other small animal spooks. More for if you know there isn't anything dangerous and want to calm them down.
My boy can be nervous alone on the trail... getting him to go out alone has taken baby steps. If he stops, tries to turn around ( or in his case, back up) I usually just let him stand for a minute and collect himself, reassure himself that there is nothing there to eat him, and usually he will move on without much more coaxing from me. I figure if it were something truly dangerous, he would do much more than refuse to go forward.
We do have great conversations ( pretty one sided I admit) when he is feeling nervous... reminds him I am there, gives him something to concentrate on besides all the potential horse eating dangers of the trail...
I know it's hard when those things happen to not het worked up, but if it does just take a second calm yourselves down then just forget about it if your not thinking of it your horse will feel more comfortable. If you keep thinking about it and worrying your horse will feed off you which could lead to more spooks and not an enjoyable trail ride. Just always think that everything is ok and you should have a good ride I hope this helps!
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