Not a good trail horse. Help?
I currently board my horse at a stable with miles upon miles of the most beautiful trails I've ever seen, and they lead to a stream that is absolutely perfect to ride through.
Problem is my horse is not a great trail horse, at all. He spooks at tree's, and only tree's, and there are plenty of tree's out there. So when I take him out there he's tense, spooky, and unpredictable.
The last few times I took him out there he's spooked, and when he spooks on the trails he crow hops, and sometimes he'll buck big. One time he bolted across the field and bucked me off, and I got a concussion.
I really want to be able to ride my horse on the trails though, it's so fun to take him down to the river and let him play.
I only go out on the trails with my mom on another horse as company now, but even then he'll freak out and crow hop! So I don't know what I can do to achieve a good trail horse.
I know this may have suited the training section as well, but I decided to post this in the trail forum as a lot of you seem very experienced with trail horses.
Desensitize! Is there any way you can start out by hand walking him? Does he spook at trees when you're leading him?
When I'm leading him he's fine, it's almost like he only trusts me when he can see me. I've led him on the trails several times, with no help.
I'm wondering if I worked him out really really hard before I took him out there, he would be a little less tense?
You know, he may just be one of those horses who don't like trail riding.
He does sound as if he doesn't trust you to be the leader when you're riding him. My Casper was the same way for awhile. It took time and miles in the saddle for him to calm down enough to trust that I was the leader as much in the saddle as when I was on the ground, where he could see me.
Time, time and more time, plus boatloads of patience are what's needed here. Horses don't have a schedule, so if you try to rush something like this you'll only make things worse.
I agree with this. Sounds like he just needs more mileage on him. Walk him up to several different trees, walk around them, walk away, walk up to them again, move on to another one, do the same thing. Ride him on the trails as much as you can and make sure you have someone with you in case you need help out there.
SpeedRacer has it right here. You can't take him out, say ten times, and decide for him that should be enough. You have to do it until it's enough for him. Spend hours. Pack a picnic lunch, walk only, stop and get off, get back on, just really dedicate to making it a calm, unhurried experience and be aware that he is scared, do your best to be a calm and cool presence to help him learn there is nothing to be afraid of. Hours and hours, and lots of miles under the trees are what it is going to take. Keep trying!
Should I take another horse and rider with me? It would be for safety reasons, he's seriously injured me by bolting on the trails before, and if someone is with me I think it would be safer.
Absolutely. You won't be able to take him out alone until he stops being so spazzy.
In fact, you may never be able to take him out alone. Some horses just don't do well without company.
IMO it's NEVER a good idea to go out on the trails alone anyways, no matter how safe your horse is. I'd take him out with horses that are calm and very used to trails, as much as possible!
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