young mare that enjoys "LOOKING"
I have a young mare that is a pretty good girl. When I trail ride with her she seems to enjoy going down the trail, but she really enjoys the views.
We will go down a trail that has a long drop off, she loves looking down it. We see deer and she is almost too busy watching (not scared) them to watch where she is going. She will go fast, but she slows way down because she really enjoys LOOKING around. I want her to become confident so I don't want to force her to hurry up and not enjoy the trip.
Should I just let her keep enjoying the views or should I push her to go on?? She is 4 years old and I think had just a small amount of trail riding before I got her 6-8 months ago.
With our mares, as long as they don't want to stop, they can look all they want.
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Let her look around but make sure she is paying attention to you still, if she starts not focusing on you just collect her and back her up a few steps. It is great that she has got a curious mind but losing to much focus can cause her to trip etc.
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I would never let them look around. They need to pay attention to the trail and where they are going. That site seeing is for the rider, not the horse. Site seeing by the horse will lead to all kinds of problems that will be difficult to fix if this is allowed to go on for very long.
What you do have to do is make sure what kind of looking she's doing. If she's sight seeing that is ok so long as she's still listening to you and watching where she put her feet. She starts stumbling or ignoring you then it's time to re focus her attention. There is a second type of looking and that's when they are looking around fearful, sure a bear will jump out at any second to eat them. With that type keep them focused on the trail and you 100% of the time.
I once had a horse who looked a lot, especially in the springtime or when we went someplace new. He'd even weave back and forth across the trail looking at everything. I'd let him do it as long as he wasn't tripping or causing problems for me or other riders.
His interest in new places made him a good horse to take along with less-confident horses and he had no problems getting up close to things such as caves.
I don't have a problem with "looky" horses as long as they're not so "looky" that they stop paying attention to where they are going or what I am asking them to do.
If she gets so "looky" that she stumbles and trips because she isn't watching what she does with her feet, then you need to work on getting her focus back to you. This is especially true if you are in the middle or back of a group.
Some horses get "looky" when they get bored. . .and then they use it as an excuse to find something to spook at. I know one horse like that - when he gets bored, he starts looking around. If you don't get his attention back to you, he will do an in-place spook at absolutely NOTHING.
My Little Black Horse is very observant about his surroundings, and it's one of the things I love about him. But when the footing gets sketchy, he focuses on where he's going and "thinks" about his next move before he makes it.
thanks everyone.. everything you said is pretty much what I thought..
She is young and very nosey.. she will go pretty much where ever I point her. In fact we were up at Big SouthFork, TN. at Timberridge campground and they had an obstacle course set up.. she was hesitant but went thru some scarey stuff! I was VERY proud of her. My hubbys horse would not even get close to some of the scarey spooky stuff!
I don't mind MOST OF THE TIME if she looks at everything, sometimes she does slow way down looking, but other than that I don't care.
Thanks for the replies!!
My gelding is the same way. He is not as young as your mare but I suspect he was rarely (if ever) trail ridden prior to my owning him. I have come to the conclusion that there has to be a healthy balance. I let him look but I also require him to be aware of where he is going. We are conditioning for endurance and now that we are doing a lot more trotting it requires a little more focus on his part. We are working on that. He still gets distracted at times. I actually have a couple verbal commands that we are working on (he is very good when it comes to verbal cues). When he starts to zigzag and slow, I will tell him "geeup" (don't know why but this works) or if we are walking (or just being too "looky" in general) I'll remind him to "Pay Attention". It's a work in progress:)
Honestly I don't understand why someone would never let their horse look at anything. I want my horse to be having fun too, and I know mine truly does! :)
My mare is 11yrs. now, I've had her for 8 yrs. now and she has always looked while out on the trails. She's not weaving/tripping but will turn her head to look at the river below us through an opening in the trees.......so long as she's listening to me she can site see along with me.......we will even stop on a ridge and she gazes all around looking.......I love my mare :)
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