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(horse in training) very FIRST trail ride?
I have a 3 year old MFT gelding that has been put in my care to train. When we got him it took 5 days just to halter him. He was born, barely messed with then at a year and a half old, halter was put on and he was taken to the vet to be gelded. Until 3 and a half weeks ago this horse knew nothing.
Was fearful, pulled back, spooked at anything and everything. Wouldn't let someone catch him, would jump at the sound of someone patting him. Was just a over all, untouched 3 year old scared horse, would even spook at the sound of someone talking right next to him.
Now, he is green broke and has been for about 2 weeks. He learns amazingly fast. You can teach him something one day, or begin to teach him something one day. He may not get it the first day, but you'll come back the second day and he'll be doing it almost perfectly.
He is moving off leg pressure to turn, neck reins, backs under-saddle, pivots some, uses kisses to go, when I sit deep in the seat and say ho he stops right on. He picks up all four feet, stands for the farrier, ties nicely and is okay with baths, lunges, yields his hindquarters, flexes in the neck and saddle very nicely and stands to be mounted. He has very good ground manners and has good saddle manners as of now. He never once over to kick or buck. rearing is a different story, while teaching him how to back he reared once then reared again on the second day of trying it. But now backs like he's been doing it forever.
Tomorrow I'm taking him on his first ever trail ride. With a seasoned none spooking trail companion. He will be one of those spooks and bolts horses. No doubt in my head he'll be one of those. His owner wants wet saddle pads and I intend to give him that.
This horse has really taught me, that if a horse trust you they'll let you do anything.
Advice for the first trail ride? I know, no stopping to smell, look or anything like that. Keep his attention on me or try to keep it on me at all times.
Make it super short and sweet, and then go back to the ring to do a little more so he doesn't think when he heads back to the barn he's done.
Our trails lead out from our arena so I'll just kind of ride in and out till I don't feel like the horse cares much then start going further on the trail. I want the horse to be doing things that make it just a little nervous, so it learns to rely on my confidence some, but ideally not push it over its threshhold so it's spooking or trying to bolt.
But then I don't usually have the benefit of riding out with another horse the first time...
While you're on the trail, you're probably going to want to start him on obstacles, like water puddles, crossing small logs, ascending and descending slopes, etc. Make sure you pick your battles well at first. Start him on simple stuff and have a partner with a trail saavy horse that will go through obstacles without hesitation. As he begins to handle simple stuff, ask for more, but pick your battles. Once you ask him to go through an obstacle, you need to get him to comply and do it. Every time you let him off the hook, he wins and undoes some of your training. Don't ask him to do something, like cross a mud bog, that you know he's not going to do at this stage. If you do, and you try to force it, you will likely end up in a wreck and undo a lot of training. Sounds like you've laid a good foundation. Be patient and take it slow.
I took him out yesterday actually. Trudged along like he'd been on trails for YEARS. Stopped and looked at some cows but other then that he was perfect. No spooks, no hesitation. Even when a car went by he just stood there. His trot is SO smooth like floating on air. They say if you ride a fox trotter you'll never wanna go back. If I ever get another horse, it'll fir sure be a fox trotter lol!
Sounds like you've done all the right things! Good stuff!:-)
Congrats. Horses are kind of like kids. They usually aren't afraid of something unless they've been taught to be afraid of it. That's something I've learned from our babies.
My only suggestion for trail riding is to keep your attention on what HIS attention is on. If you can "see the deer" before he does and begin to manage it before it's upon y'all.....well, you know what I mean.
What a wonderful success story! Great work! :D
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