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Basic training for trail horses

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  • Why does my horse walk fast down hills

 
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    01-02-2010, 07:33 AM
  #11
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by maura    
...pony another horse and be ponied...
I second this, and few people that I know other than some trainers ever work on this. A horse that ponies well has learned to behave and work well close to other horses, and a good pony horse is worth its weight in gold (for many reasons). I pony our young ones from our lead mare everywhere through all the gaits.
     
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    01-02-2010, 12:23 PM
  #12
Weanling
Thanks for the great tips - and keep 'em coming. Very helpful.

My horse is very good about many of the things you're all mentioning and has always been good about them - she barely spooks and I've exposed her to a lot on rides. When she does spook, she jumps a little, but stays in one place and I don't lose control or anything. I can move all around in the saddle, put on on a noisy coat, etc. without problems. She crosses bridges, crosses creeks, and goes up and down hills pretty well. I neck rein with her and she does that better than direct reining. I know that the trainer she'll probably go to teaches them to be okay with the rider shooting a gun while riding - a very important thing here in hunting territory!

It's the other stuff, the basic riding - side pass, backing, turning on haunches & forehand, and standing still. We definitely have trouble with standing still - during riding, during tacking, during mounting, heck - during grooming. If he fixes that one thing I'll be thrilled!

I wouldn't have thought about teaching her to pony or be ponied - I'll talk to the trainer about that. I can see where that would be very helpful if there was a problem on one of our long rides. If he doesn't teach that, should I just try it with my husband's horse (they're buddies) and then maybe some friends' horses.

Painted Horse - how do you teach them to allow room for your head and legs? If the trainer doesn't teach that, I sure need to. Some days my little darling is more bulldozer than horse! I've had to do some quick ducking to avoid getting knocked in the head.

Again, thanks for all of the ideas! I'm going to hate not seeing her for a month or two, so I'm hoping to only have to do this once!
     
    01-02-2010, 09:06 PM
  #13
Yearling
Put a couple blocks of salt in some panniers and have her pack them around for a day. If no panniers, Then tie an old tire on both sides of the saddle and pony her. After she bangs into a few trees, she will learn to go a little wider.

If I'm in the saddle, I put a foot against the tree and push away when ever she gets too close. They get tired of getting knocked off balance and pretty soon start to give a wider berth around trees.
     
    01-03-2010, 05:20 AM
  #14
Yearling
If I'm in the saddle, I put a foot against the tree and push away when ever she gets too close. They get tired of getting knocked off balance and pretty soon start to give a wider berth around trees.[/quote]

That is a very simple and great solution, I did that when I started doing gates on my horse - her natural instinct when she gets to a gate is to push and lean on it.

How the heck do I stop my horse from rushing down hill? She has a natural big fast walk, unfortunately it doesn't change going down hill no matter how steep or rough it is. She is not doing anything wrong but it feels really scary when she doesn't check her pace. She resents being made to walk slower than is normal for her so if I do try to check her she fights and ends up tripping and stumbling. Maybe I should just lighten up and let her go for it, she never wants to go faster than a walk but she sure likes to walk fast.
     
    01-03-2010, 10:32 AM
  #15
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwigirl    
How the heck do I stop my horse from rushing down hill? She has a natural big fast walk, unfortunately it doesn't change going down hill no matter how steep or rough it is. She is not doing anything wrong but it feels really scary when she doesn't check her pace. She resents being made to walk slower than is normal for her so if I do try to check her she fights and ends up tripping and stumbling. Maybe I should just lighten up and let her go for it, she never wants to go faster than a walk but she sure likes to walk fast.
I do a series of half halts while going down a very steep hill. My guy walks fast too so I check him by saying "easy" and making him almost stop. I do not say "whoa" when I check him since that means to stop right now, not another step but using the easy causes him to check himself , that verbal command plus a gentle reminder with the reins.
This series of half halts gets him digging in more with his hind end to check forward motion.
     
    01-03-2010, 10:37 AM
  #16
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiosDad    
I do a series of half halts while going down a very steep hill. My guy walks fast too so I check him by saying "easy" and making him almost stop. I do not say "whoa" when I check him since that means to stop right now, not another step but using the easy causes him to check himself , that verbal command plus a gentle reminder with the reins.
This series of half halts gets him digging in more with his hind end to check forward motion.
Really good advice. :) I taught my guy using the same thing.
     
    01-07-2010, 10:22 AM
  #17
Foal
How do you teach your horse to look up and avoid things over his head from hitting you?

I had one horse that I was training that had a problem with the sound of my nylon jacket brushing on branches or brush. He would bolt forward as soon as he heard the noise. I realized that we needed to desensitize him to that sound, so started working on the ground, and then started riding with lots of noisy clothes on.

Since he got scared every time a branch rubbed on my jacket, he taught himself to look up and avoid low-hanging limbs. He did get over his fear of the noise, but he always watched overhead for low-hanging branches and went around. He was great to ride, because I didn't have to worry about getting hit!

But I was able to capitalize on his issue. If a horse doesn't worry about the noise, how would you get across to him what you want?
     
    01-07-2010, 11:52 AM
  #18
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by WesternLifestyle    
How do you teach your horse to look up and avoid things over his head from hitting you?
Yeah, I've had trouble with this at times too - I'm flexible and have done lots of backwards ducking when necessary! (Limbo competition anyone?)

Honey is so fearless, she'll bulldoze through all sorts of things, low branches mean nothing! How do you fix that?
     
    01-07-2010, 04:13 PM
  #19
Yearling
I personnaly don't try to teach my horse to avoid them. I really enjoy using low branches as leg aid training tools. I like to try and make my horse go around them just by using my legs. It is great for getting my horse flexible and is good for schooling on the trail. Of course occassionaly I get a bit scraped but generally we can dodge and weave without me having to touch the reins. This is just a little game I like to play with myself.

Thanks for the advice Riosdad on the half halts for a hill rushing horse. I have been out a couple of times and once Phoenny got what I was trying to do it worked a treat. Another thing which I have been working on lately is getting my mare to walk down a hill nice and straight rather than mincing and prancing down sideways. Finally we are going down hill like a sane horse and rider for the most part.
     
    01-07-2010, 07:38 PM
  #20
Weanling
It's funny, my horse'll duck his head to go under branches fix feet high.

For me, I think it is very important for a trail horse (well, all horses)to have good ground manners. The last thing I want when I'm trying to open the lines of an electric fence is for my horse not to follow me through and risk us both being shocked.

On the subject of manners, I taught my horse to stop grazing with a voice command, he isn't perfect at it but he is getting better, it's an extremely useful trick after you stop/take a break to not have to fight to get your horse's head back up (I believe in letting horses graze on trails if we are stopped, it keeps them from getting antsy).
     

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