i am an english rider, and soon we r going to start taking my horse out on trails! do u no of any trails in louisiana? i was also wondering if there is any preparation i should do with him since he has never really been on a real trail.....the first time i go i will probably go with a group so he can see that there is nothing to be afraid of and he can see what it is all about!
if the barn has back pastures and open land that can be spooky or like a trail, then take him on that alotby yourself and witgh a group of about 5. then blue can get use to those enviroments and his surroundings. hope this helps.
Trail horses will see lots of things the first few times they go out that they may have never been exposed to in the arena. Turkeys flushing and flying off, Deer jumping up and bounding off. Logs and large rocks that cast funny dark shadows. Muddy river banks and very rocky river bottoms that you need to cross. And many other things.
Work with your horses to stay calm. Teach it a "Calm Down" queue. Make sure you can control your horse. A One Rein Stop is must. If the horse gets sppoked and wants to run off, You can control his emotions. I don't care if they spook. But they must learn to spook in place.
Trail horses need to learn to go forward on queue. I don't want them rushing obsticles. But they do have to try to cross them.
Trail horses need to learn to pick up their feet. I don't like doctoring nicks and cuts in the lower limbs because of rock bites or tree snags. They just have to learn to keep their balance and pick up their feet.
How does one go about teaching this, Painted Horse? I have a very sweet pony mare with correct *showy* gaits and arena manufactured straightness and balance. We both enjoy trails very much, however I often have problems with going on rides with her nicking, scratching and scraping her lower legs. Nothing serious, but a nuisance all the same. It would be wonderful if I could teach her a bit more sure footedness. I drop the reins and let her pick her own way through the difficult parts, but she knocks anyway.
If you have any advice or idea of how to help, your advise would be usually appreciative.
Horses will always get a few nicks and cuts. Its too be expected. I just don't want to see the kind that need medical attention.
If a horse is rushing obstacles, they get more worried about whats going on around them than about where their feet are. With time they learn to calm down and watch their feet.
Just keep asking your horse to cross obstacles and encourage her to be calm while she does it and they will learn to relax and watch their feet.
I teach them to pick their legs up higher when I slide my leg forward. I start out by keeping my leg forward and tapping their elbow when I want to them to step higher. Over time they learn that when I start to move my foot forwards they need to pick up their feet. My horse starts to drag his feet and goes into robot mode so it was my way to keep him focused.
Try horsetraildirectory.com for ideas on places to ride in your area - I'm not at all familiar with the riding in that region, but I know people who have been there and enjoyed it.
If you have access to an arena with any kind of jumps/rails/standards, you could always create some trail-like obstacles to prepare you and your horse for things you might encounter. While a jumping course is measured and things are supposed to be evenly-spaced, Mother Nature is much more random. Your horse may have to pick its way through uneven footing or roots, and learn how to step over logs, weave through trees, etc.
Nothing you do in an arena can really substitute actual trail time, but it is good to at least be sure your horse is prepared and responsive to you.
Relax, have fun, and enjoy. Don't push your horse or yourself too much the first time out. It's better to take a shorter ride and end on a good note, at least the first rides. See how it goes. If possible, ride with a buddy on a seasoned trail horse - that can do wonders for a horse that has had limited trail experience when it comes to boosting confidence.
I to am like you just learning all this and what I have been told is any time your horse is looking around and not paying attention to you. You have to make them pay attention flex there head around and make them do a round about. Then go on if they start not paying Attention to you again flex them around again. the horse needs to learn that no matter what is going on around you he has to do what you tell him to.
That's what everyone is talking about when they say your horse has to trust you.
Don't know what area of Louisiana you are in but Kisatchie Forest is gorgeous. I have been to The Lazy 4B Ranch in Melder, La right outside of Alexandria to ride there twice. Gorgeous trails - wild horses - etc. Love love love Kisatchie! Just above Baton Rouge and over the state line into Mississippi in Gloster is Brushy Creek in Homochito Forest that is wonderful riding. We stayed at Brushy Creek Guest Ranch - fabulous.
Hodges Gardens in the Many, La area has trails but I haven't rode on those.
Thank you everyone for your prompt and informative replies.
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