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LovesMyDunnBoy 08-13-2011 03:55 PM

How can I get my mare ready for trail riding?
I got a new mare, she's a real good girl. Very willing to do what I ask, and even if she doesn't understand she tries her best. What are some ways I can further despook her and get her as bombproof as possible? We have been playing in the water in our drive way, lol, and she will walk thru water easily. Other than that I don't know what else.

Also, she is an ex barrel horse, and any tips to slow her down some. She has a very go go go attitude when it comes to riding.

Thanks! Any suggestions appreciated :)
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pintophile 08-13-2011 06:11 PM

The only way to make a good trail horse is to trail ride. Preparing at home only goes so far. Nothing is the same as actually getting her the experience.

Just go out, ride, and have fun.

PaintHorseMares 08-13-2011 09:23 PM


Originally Posted by pintophile (Post 1135638)
The only way to make a good trail horse is to trail ride. Preparing at home only goes so far. Nothing is the same as actually getting her the experience.

Just go out, ride, and have fun.

Exactly. Many people think that trail riding is just a simple, lazy walk down a path that any horse can do without any effort at all. In reality, every ride is different, even if you are riding the same trail over and over. Horses do not like change, and out in the real world the smells, sounds, wind, animals, etc. are always different.
You can work on de-spooking at home with plastic bags, tree branches, etc, but keep in mind that your horse knows that she is still at home, and home is a safe place.

People often ask me how you get a horse like our youngest (7 years) to the point of our seasoned, 'bombproof', lead mare (17 years), and I always answer '10 years in age and a couple thousand miles'. There are no shortcuts...enjoy your mare and ride, ride, ride.

As for slowing her down, if she hasn't been worked a lot, very fresh horses will typically have that "let's go" attitude. First, never let your horse pick the speed, even if you feel comfortable going fast(er). If I'm on a fresh horse that wants to go, I'll work lots of up/down stop/walk/trot transitions and lots of turns to insure I'm controlling the speed and getting some softness.

LovesMyDunnBoy 08-13-2011 09:56 PM

That makes sense about despooking her. And as for slowing her down, here's the thing. She doesn't really listen to the bit hah. The person who owned her told me (after I had her home mind you) well she does bolt, but with some persistence she'll stop, really?! I am so upset with her. But back to the point, today I completely tacked her up and lead her around with my boyfriend on her. She was practically dragging me or trying to run me over. It was excusing. It seems like as soon as she's tacked up, she trys plowing over me. Her breathing gets fast and it seems like all she wants to do it take off running.
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Cherie 08-13-2011 11:34 PM

This horse has a lot more problems than just needing seasoned on trails. She needs basic manners.

Stop trying tolead her with a person on her. Teach her to lead without pulling on the lead-rope and without going past you.

Teach her what "Whoa!" means.

Teach her to back up, move her hips over each direction, move her shoulders over each direction and teach her to back up and back up and back up. You need to be in charge of every move she makes on the ground before you have any hope of getting her respect under saddle.

I do not believe in 'de-spooking' horses beyond the basic sacking out they get prior to saddling and riding. I believe in teaching them that I am in charge and they are to do everything I ask and go everywhere I point their heads -- without hesitation. When they respect their rider and go everywhere their rider asks, the spooks are just not there anymore.

So, no matter what you want to do with your horse, you need to start with respect -- first in hand than then under saddle.

LovesMyDunnBoy 08-14-2011 12:45 AM

Well I just bought her a week ago, and I notice when the woman tried haltering her that she was a complete pushover, like "ok, put you head in the halter, no please stand still" she was not very firm with her. And her manners have actually improve believe it or not. And I have been doing some thing such as just leading and making her respect my space, I stop her and back her up when she rushed ahead. As far as leading she is just fine now, but when someone is on her or she is tacked up she completely ignores me. If she tries going somewhere, such as the fence line to see her buddie, I turn her around and walk her the other way. I think her owner before me just let her get away with everything. She said she can't be bathed or flysprayed, I have done both with not too much of a fuss. She is scared, but my confidence of it calms her some. Her owner seemed ignorant when it comes to horses..
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tinyliny 08-14-2011 04:03 AM

please listen to Cherie here. There are too many holes in the training to consider going out on the trail yet. A bolter? walks through the bit and into a human on foot? Yikes, you 've got more work to do before you put her out there. I think you seem to have a bit of a start, erasing the lack of training of the former owner, but again, really look carefully at Cherie's post. she knows what she's talking about here.

LovesMyDunnBoy 08-14-2011 12:49 PM

Yes, I plan on going outside sometime when it's stops raining and taking her advice. And I hadn't planned on taking her on trails anytime soon, it was just for the future once I have got her under control. How could I get her to move her shoulders away from me, she moves her hips just fine.
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