Can you hack out alone? Share your story!
Can you hack out alone or does your horse fuss? Please share your experiences good and bad. and how you would handle a fussy horse.
I've been blessed with one that loves going out alone, so now that I have a fussy one I'm not quite sure how to handle him trying to get antsy and go back to the barn.
I hack out alone a lot. My horse is a very confident hacker and we meet all kinds of wildlife (moose, deer, wild birds, hares, etc.) and vehicles in our rides, he is also sure footed and can be trusted in risky situations. We can cross water, ditches, fallen trees, we can go over almost all kinds of terrain - just point and go.
However, even he sometimes spooks or gets scared in strange, new environment - then he plants in place and tries turning home, if it's a medium scare, or, if it is a major spook, he may also jump in the air and sideways, he once reared and tried galloping home. Luckily, all it takes is to lean closer to his ears and breathe out loudly, maybe also say his name in a soft manner. Then he calms down and stops. The most important thing with him is being confident during the ride, because he's known to buck or bolt with scared riders or those who lack attention and focus - then he takes the matters in his hands. So I just sit tall and look far in the trail, breathe deep and feel good about anything that awaits us after a turn or in a new part of trails. It is a fantastic feeling, when you can gallop safely down a road your horse sees for the first time in his life.
My mare prefers going out by herself. When we're with other horses, she gets focused on being first in line... she seems to think it's a race! We also come across wildlife, people, tractors, 4 wheelers, cross rivers, climb hills, etc. She occasionally gets a little nervous- she really doesn't like foxes, which we've come across quite a few times. As long as I stay calm, she's ok. I have had to dismount and lead her past something scary, but she gets her head back right away.
Lately, we've been riding with another person, who's horse is nervous out of the ring. It's good for my mare to get comfortable with other horses and the other mare has gained a lot of confidence because my mare is extremely confident.
Do you know anyone with a confident horse that your new guy can rely on for a little while? What I've been doing is having the nervous horse lead once she's settled on the trails, which gives her more independence. I also have my mare get far ahead or far behind the nervous mare to encourage confidence by herself.
We make our horses hack out alone whether they like it or not. It has put us in some bad and very complicated positions but we have to know that when me and my husband go up into the mountains that if something happens our horse WILL go alone. Yes, it can be very hard and very frustrating but they have to do it. My mare is bombproof with another horse. Which is annoying being when she hacks out alone it can take us 2 hours to cover what should have only been a 30 minute ride. But she has to learn. Period.... She got so used to riding with other horses that she hates being. Now, what I will do alot of the times is make her ride in the front and get distance from the other horses. That way if something does happen they are there but she should NOT rely on another horse for confindence. She should rely on ME for the trust and confidence that she needs to feel she can go away from home and back and nothing happen. I fight her tooth and nail everytime. Spinning, rearing, stopping and planting, bucking, whatever. If she wants to dish it out and be stubburn and think everything is a bugger, thats fine. Let pick up the pace and I will PUSH you. When there is something I think she is going to shy or spook at I gently start leg yeilding and pushing her hard threw it. I dont want her to stop and I dont want her to spin. I want her to keep moving forward. My word should gold and if I say its okay, then you keep moving. Some horses this may take four or five rides and they do great other horses is may take years before they finally get the idea.
I make mine do it too! I am hoping this year as I work with them it will become less of a fuss. And as long as the demon Llama stays away from my girl we should be ok, lol.
My guy doesn't have a choice. He's going out alone when I want him to and I'm the boss mare, so he has to. He's a major scaredy cat, but so long as I am telling him what to do and he knows that I will take care of it and continue to take care of him, he is okay. Anymore he doesn't seem to care if we're out by ourselves or with another horse and rider.
ETA: Now that I think of it, he's actually worse/more spooky when there are other horses since if they spook, he does too. When we're out by ourselves, there are no other horses for him to focus on and react with, and I'm always telling him he's fine, so he has to believe me.
All it takes is one time, one little incident when I rider gets spooked more than the horse and they head home. That is it. After that you have five times the battle on your hand and it can take months on end to undo that one little episode. My mare is nervous wreck coming back into camp grounds after being up in the mountains and we literally spin and spin and spin till I get her focus back on me. By this time all the other riders have done left us and its just me and her which gives me a good oppurtunity to work on our issue. Now I have had her jump four foot in the air spin down into a ten foot hurricane ditch and then I got MAD. I used the back end of my reins and just fried her. I was done. That was it and she walked calmly back to the campsite with no more fuss. She does it to be stupid and test and yes its annoying and it will take me many more ride and episodes to get her out of this.
I wonder how many of my neighbors have heard my sailor mouth after an episode, :lol:
My girl doesn't like going out alone but she's never really bad about it. She'll stop if I LET her and she'll try to turn around but after we officially get onto the trail she's usually fine! We go out with my trainer enough that she knows the trails and she just likes to follow another horse, or lead, as long as she has a buddy!
Usually I just end up talking her forwards and often I'll carry my crop or whip out since I try to trail before or after a work to help her relax.
I have patience and tolerance to an extent. I can understand if they are truly afraid of going out alone or whether they are just being testy but if they just want to test there comes a place and time where enough is enough. For some reason it only takes about 5 seconds of the " OMG Im going to kill you if you dont straighten up" and then they turn into little angels.
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