Difficult trail ride - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 02-26-2012, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Difficult trail ride

I decided I was brave enough to tackle my first trail ride alone today. No one was at the ranch to ride with, it was a gorgeous day, and my gelding has been been doing great.

Well, it was pretty horrible. We started out ok, although I had to battle two very minor tantrums. About 5 minutes in, he threw an enormous tantrum. It started with hopping and turned into full blown rearing. I did all the things I have been taught; pulling his head to my foot and turning him and then setting him straight and trying to drive him forward. Things escalated to the point that I was really scared. I didn't want to give in and let him return to the barn, so I got off and made him walk the trail. I figured that once I got past a certain point, I would get back on.

I was unable to get on after 30-40 minutes of trying to mount. He kept backing up or running forward and refused to let me on. He even backed himself up a mountain to avoid it. I did circles and circles and more circles. Nothing would work. I was in tears with frustration. Finally, I decided to walk back, with the intention to do major ground work in the round pen. I gave it another try and finally succeeded in mounting on our way back. I then happened to run into two other riders that welcomed me to follow them. I turned my horse back and followed. He balked a teeny bit, but followed along and did as asked, perfectly.

Once we got to the point in which we needed to go opposite directions, I rode him back with no difficulty at all. He didn't rush and he listened well. I'm glad it ended on a good note, but I'm still discouraged.

Do you think it was the fact that he was alone that made him act up or do you think he could sense my lack of expertise? I certainly wasn't timid with him, but could he sense that I was super nervous? I guess I just don't know what the best course of action would be. Should I stick to riding with others or are there things that I could do with him that would help for next time? Any tips are appreciated. Thank you!
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post #2 of 45 Old 02-27-2012, 12:50 AM
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I don' t know but once he starts rearing, if you can't deal with it, get off. Rearing is just too hard to deal with and too dangerous to much around with.

I don't know what I would have done, so let's hear what other ideas might come .
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post #3 of 45 Old 02-27-2012, 04:25 AM
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Oh my word OP... I'm so glad you're okay. That could have gone so much worse since it seemed to escalate so fast.

I think you were right to get off of your horse after you felt you couldn't really.. do much about it? I don't want to sound rude nor question your skills as a rider and horse owner.

But rearing is dangerous, and out on a trail it is downright terrifying.

Has he acted like this EVER before? :/ Once my gelding reared on me three little rears in a row after bolting from a standstill his first go in a western buck stitch saddle. Now I may conclude that the saddle probably didn't fit.. but still! I was paralyzed and made him stand still while my friend called my trainer down (she lived on premises,) told her what happened and we worked through it.

But had it happened while I was completely alone.. I would have gotten off same as you and tried to figure something out.

You couldn't have done much different, I'm just sincerely glad you're okay.
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post #4 of 45 Old 02-27-2012, 04:41 AM
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Is this the first time this horse has been ridden without the company of others?

Because it is, I am not surprised that you got such a reaction.

The first time I rode my horse alone on the trails she was spooky and balky. Nowhere near as bad as yours, but of course we know horses are all individuals.

I honestly think you did fine. You kept yourself safe. You kept asking that he do your bidding until you got what you needed. And as you can tell he started to realize that the world was not going to end if he found himself alone with you.

Next time, try to go with someone with the purpose of slowly increasing the separation from the herd until he's cool with it.
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post #5 of 45 Old 02-27-2012, 09:00 AM
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First, I am glad you are ok. Not hurt, not scared at the end. Getting off is always a smart move if things get a little hairier than you feel comfortable with.

I don't think you could have done any differently at the time. Some horses don't do well by themselves - Biscuit is one of them. He doesn't misbehave - he is just balky about going. He will often not move away from other horses so this is something I work on and understand is one of his quirks.

I am going to start riding Biscuit out at the ranch in the back by himself. It is not a huge place in the back so he will not be that far but it is a step in the right direction of getting him going out alone with me.

Hope you get it worked out soon and can go out by yourself. It is something I am working on too.

Enjoying my Garmin and mapping trails
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post #6 of 45 Old 02-27-2012, 09:12 AM
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I think you did very well, all considering. I agree with the other posts - if you feel yourself in danger, get off. You did right by working him and making him continue on the trail, even if it was you leading him. He didn't win - you made him continue. It was good that you met up with others and were able to make him go out, separate from them and ride on alone. If you can ride with others, take time to move away from them as often as possible. Go off in front, stay back while they go off.....always meeting back up. This will help your horse to understand that while he may be alone, he will return to his group.
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post #7 of 45 Old 02-27-2012, 11:30 AM
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never be to proud to get off. I have no problems getting off a horse that is acting stupid. But dont reward the bad behavior. If you have to get off work the heck out of him.
Bo was really bad when I got him and acted the same way. I was determined though. One way or another we are doing this trail either at your speed or mine I dont care we are doing it. Bo is a TWH, he hates moving at QH walking or Joe Ford walking speed. Any time he would get close enough beside me he gets popped in the chest. Seriously when I first got him I had to walk him at least a mile down the trail to get him to settle down and quit his rearing and spinning and heading back to the trailer.
I think you did great, got off lunge him in circles, make him work, lead him down the trail, get on see how he does, get off repeat if you have to. Try not to get frustrated, but dont tolerate the bad behavior. If it is more than you can handle from the saddle get off work it out on the ground. Trust your judgement and instincts. From the sound of your posts I'd say you know exactly what you are doing. Step back take a deep breath and think about it.
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post #8 of 45 Old 02-27-2012, 12:04 PM
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Joe, I think it's a great idea to hang a lunge line from the saddle if you have a horse known for these trail antics.

If you have to get off, tie him up, grab a stick, and make him sweat.
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post #9 of 45 Old 02-27-2012, 01:13 PM
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You did good

I agree with get off and lunge the snot out of him. if he doesnt want to behave, he gets lunged. He doesnt want to let you get on, he gets lunged. Pretty soon he'll figure out its a) easier to behave and b) you are definately the boss. Had a little paint mare that pulled the same tricks. As soon as she started getting worked up, I would hop off and she would lunge untill she felt like behaving. Always end on a good note. Took 3 sessions and she never tried it again.
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post #10 of 45 Old 02-27-2012, 01:16 PM
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My reins are one piece 10 foot, with screw lock o rings, so they double as a lead line, tie line, lunge line when needed, unclip them from the bit, clip em to the halter.
depends on the horse though. I think walking slow down the trail does more good with him, hes just gotten in too good a shape for running in circles to phase him much. He speaks with a french accent like those dudes in the castle in MOnty Pythons search for the Holly Grail,
While lungiing in fast circles, Bo tells me ,
"I fart in your general direction, you english Kaaaaa nig hit "
"Come back here and I shall taunt you a second time"
Now ****it on the other hand hated running, a few laps at a run/walk would straighten him right out..
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