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beachluvr 02-09-2013 09:11 AM

horse prefers to follow
I have a 5 year old mare and she loves to trail ride but has to be behind a horse. If she is last they all can get ahead and she doesn't really care. she will not lead at all when asked. She is very dominate in her herd of 2. Does this make sense? Do I really need to get her to lead? If so ideas?

Speed Racer 02-09-2013 09:43 AM

She doesn't want to lead, so there's no sense pushing her. Being a herd alpha has little to do with whether or not a horse wants to be out front on a trail ride.

Iseul 02-09-2013 10:01 AM

This is how ST was when I first started riding her. She'd inch along and spook at a leaf or twig.
You just have to build their confidence up. Get a group together that's willing to bear with you and your horse for training.

I did that with ST and she'd rather lead than bring up the rear now. Which I love, because my last horse kicked and I was always in the back.
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mvinotime 02-09-2013 10:13 AM

I think alot of horses prefer to be following. Being out front makes them more vulnerable to a predator ;) I have found them to be more alert and sometimes spooky in front rather than following. That being said I ALWAYS make mine ride in all positions during a trail ride. We switch up often. I have certainly had a couple battles with my stubborn mare who doesnt prefer to lead but it is just one of those things I think make a good trail horse, to be able to ride in any position. I always ride with a core group who understands and we are always patient when one acts up or doesnt want to take the lead, as long as it takes since having someone else just head out would defeat the prupose so it might be harder to do in a larger group or organized ride etc. I would try and practice this whenever possible and make sure some time is spent out in front so your horse can get used to it and know that your the leader and you will keep her safe whether in front, middle or the back :)

Island Horselover 02-09-2013 10:25 AM

IMO every horse should be able to go in front on the trails, it is much more for them then for us, they actually have to think more and do not just do what the horse in front is doing, it is a great exercise for your horses brain and gets it used to so much more than as if you are just following. What if you ever go out by yourself? What if the other horse refuse to go over something, like lets say a bridge? If you feel comfi staying behind thats fine but for me it would be unacceptable if my horse would refuse to lead on the trails, but that is just me.... I like to be independet from everyone else :0)

beachluvr 02-09-2013 10:33 AM

thank you so much all! I will certainly work on her leading some! the interesting thing is we go out alone all the time! she is more cautious but we cover miles!

Darrin 02-09-2013 10:38 AM

First your horse has to have confidence in your leadership. Once that is established they have to gain confidence in themselves. Both come from miles in the saddle.

I don't know what kind of confidence you project to your horse with out watching you ride but that is a major key in making a good trail horse. Problem is a lot of people think they are confident when not. Second issue is even when not confident in yourself you have to project confidence to your horse. Try to give yourself an honest evaluation here. Friends are likely to tell you that you're a greatest rider around so they are not the best people to rate you.

Now your horse. Move her out front for just short periods at first then move her back behind again. Try to move back in line before your horse spooks or misbehaves in anyway. If they do, don't let them back in line keep them out front for a short while longer. Moving her back for spooking is a reward in her mind. You should be able to gradually keep her out front for longer periods of time. Watch your horse like a hawk, they generally transmit when they are thinking about spooking. As soon as you start seeing signs of a spook, change her mind by asking her to do something. Also, don't stare down something you think will spook your horse as they can see where you are looking. If you stare at something then obviously there must be a reason so they need to worry too.

The other way...go out by yourself and do not turn back because you are frustrated. When you do turn to head for home, don't let your horse hurry. Go back at the same speed as you left.

Celeste 02-10-2013 06:50 PM

If she will ride out alone, I wouldn't really worry about it myself.

Saddlebag 02-10-2013 07:06 PM

My good trail gelding had to be out front when leaving the yard. After a few hundred yards he didn't care who was out front. He didn't mind being the last but he was a fast walker so we'd wind up in front again with the others trotting to catch up. He didn't care if they caught up or not, we were going somewhere.

Thunderspark 02-15-2013 02:05 AM

I ride with a group of friends and we have all switched off front/middle/ mare used to always be in a hurry but has learned to slow down, now she doddles way behind everyone LOL

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