Annoying Habit
 
 

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Annoying Habit

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  • Annoying horseback riding habits

 
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    12-21-2010, 03:12 PM
  #1
Weanling
Annoying Habit

In the past, me and my horse haven't rode off the property that much, and I'm noticing now that when we do, she blunders around with her ears up, looking at everything. Which is fine; I don't mind her enjoying the scenery, but..she totally loses track of her feet when she's doing this. She'll be looking one way, and the next thing you know we're walking off the trail into chest-high snow. So I constantly have to be on alert and correcting her, and it gets annoying because I'm constantly pestering her to stay on track. I'd like her to take some sort of responsibility for herself so that we both can just relax and enjoy the ride.

I don't know why she's doing it. My theory is that she is just so new to everything that she wants to soak it all in, and I'm hoping that the more we ride, the more she'll get used to seeing new things and eventually settle down. I'm also wondering if it could be that she doesn't trust me and feels insecure and like she has to be on constant alert. Though I have to admit, it feels more like she's: "Wow! Look at all this stuff!" than scared. She never spooks..the most she'll do is slow her steps and seem hesitant about moving towards the scary object, but she's only had one of those reactions in the past week. We usually return home the same way we went out (the snow's too deep to break new trails in), and she's usually a fair bit quieter and more focused on the way home.
     
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    12-21-2010, 03:18 PM
  #2
Showing
It's completely your responsibility to make sure your horse stays on the trail. In all my years of riding and owning horses, I've never met a true horse person who thinks part of the responsibility is on the horse to make the ride enjoyable.

As long as she's listening and responding appropriately, it's up to you to make sure her feet are where they should be. You're the leader, not her.
     
    12-21-2010, 03:22 PM
  #3
Weanling
True that. I guess I never thought of it that way...the fact that she's not blatantly trying to go her own way is good. I was thinking of all the deadhead trail horses that are set on the path and follow it.
     
    12-21-2010, 03:45 PM
  #4
Banned
A deadheaded trail horse would be no fun.

Just give her a little guidance as you go along and I am sure you two will figure out just what you both need to have a good time.
     
    12-21-2010, 05:44 PM
  #5
Weanling
As you ride together more two things should happen:

1. You will learn how to compensate for her wandering before it even happens, and

2. You will learn to correct her without even knowing you're doing it.

Notice, please, that neither item has anything at all to do with changing your horse's basic behavior. As Racer said, it's YOUR responsibility.

Your horse should, however, respond and stay on trail with just the tiniest, almost automatic, aids.

But, when all is said and done, the goal is to get out and ride. And ride. And enjoy.

BTW, if you don't mind my asking, where do you live where there's chest high snow? I can think of lots of places like that (some very close to home, actually), but I'm curious anyway. Tnx!
     
    12-21-2010, 05:49 PM
  #6
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorGriz    
As you ride together more two things should happen:

1. You will learn how to compensate for her wandering before it even happens, and

2. You will learn to correct her without even knowing you're doing it.

Notice, please, that neither item has anything at all to do with changing your horse's basic behavior. As Racer said, it's YOUR responsibility.

Your horse should, however, respond and stay on trail with just the tiniest, almost automatic, aids.

But, when all is said and done, the goal is to get out and ride. And ride. And enjoy.

BTW, if you don't mind my asking, where do you live where there's chest high snow? I can think of lots of places like that (some very close to home, actually), but I'm curious anyway. Tnx!
Canada! Big surprise there. Was riding yesterday and she got right into a deep patch and was stuck. I jumped off to help her, and the snow could hold my weight but not hers. It was the strangest thing to be towering over my horse.

I think really, that's the ultimate goal-to get her responding to and staying on the path with just very light aids...which, yeah, I guess will come from time and experience.
     
    12-21-2010, 07:28 PM
  #7
Weanling
Pretty, think about when you go out walking on a trail in a new area. You're rubber necking all over the place and, if you're not careful, you find yourself wandering off the trail just 'cause you're not paying attention.

What happens after walking that way for awhile? You find yourself "self correcting"--you start to recognize when you are heading off the trail before you actually do so and you give yourself a little "aid" to stay on the trail.

Guess What? The exact same thing will happen with you and your horse. You'll learn to anticipate errant movement and give subtle aids to address that movement--sometimes before it even happens. It'll become so automatic you'll swear you aren't doing anything!

Of course, the horse DOES have to cooperate and respond to the subtle aids. I suppose some horses just never figure that out and have to be worked a lot harder just to keep them where you want them. But most should be easily trained to stay put with minimal, automatic on your part, aids.

I live in norther Idaho. I understand deep snow, even tho we don't get it right where I live. Less than an hour away and there's all the snow anyone could want--or not want, as the case may be!

Ride often if you can, ride well if you're able. But RIDE!
     
    12-21-2010, 07:52 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
Pretty,

I don't know about responsibility, whose or what, but I can say that a horse I used to ride started out that way. He was big and clumsy and just went down the trail like a pinball bouncing off whatever he drifted into. I really had to work hard to keep this bargelike horse on the trail and heading forward.
A year later he was just a goer and though not nimble footed, did pretty well for a warmblood.
So, fear not, there's hope. However, some horse's just have a better sense of self preservation than others. The flip side of that is that YOU can usually talk them into going anywhere, whereas a horse with high self preservation may say "no!" to some of your suggestions.
     
    12-21-2010, 08:50 PM
  #9
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer    
It's completely your responsibility to make sure your horse stays on the trail. In all my years of riding and owning horses, I've never met a true horse person who thinks part of the responsibility is on the horse to make the ride enjoyable.

As long as she's listening and responding appropriately, it's up to you to make sure her feet are where they should be. You're the leader, not her.
So you're saying that a horse should not think for itself when on the trails, but to look to the rider for every step? I would never micro-manage my horse on trails. It is indeed his job to know where his own feet are. Yes, I'm responsible for not steering him off a cliff or even getting him into a bad situation, but I wouldn't want any business with a horse who cannot think for itself. Then again I'm an eventer. Horses who cannot think for themselves don't get very far. Perhaps you have a different reason for riding every step.
     
    12-21-2010, 08:59 PM
  #10
Weanling
Puck, the problem Pretty described is the horse NOT thinking for itself--and needing constant attention to stay out of trouble. I certainly expect Shandy to think for himself and stay on the trail--but, when he doesn't or gets too close to the edge or wants to go the wrong way around something or whatever --I expect to correct him. Subtly, but insistently. He is to go where I want him to go which may, or may not, be the same place he wants to go.

But, if he just flat isn't paying attention and is, therefore, getting into trouble I expect to have to micro-manage him until he figures it out.

That 400 foot drop into the river makes me not want to trust his stupidity too far!
     

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