Horse leaving "the herd" - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 16 Old 01-02-2011, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
QOS
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Horse leaving "the herd"

Today we went out on a trail ride - 8 of us. One was a 17 year old girl who's horse hasn't been out on the trails in a year because she couldn't get him to load. Gorgeous QH gelding but he is a pill and kicker to boot. We went around the woods, down the canal (that is 2.2 miles from the trailer going just half way through the woods) over the bridge and started up the other side of the canal. We had gone probably 2/3 of mile when he had a cow. Rearing up and spinning around and wanting to go back the way we came. All of the horses would move forward and it is odd to see a horse that will "leave the herd". He slap dab was going the other way and we yelled for her to get off of him which she did when she was able to stop him. She was having problems controlling him and a very experienced rider got on him and he settled down some - they walked him a long way "leading" him with a rope. Finally she was able to remount and he came on along - his owner was in tears and later FB that she was afraid of him. What a shame. He is beautiful but just too much horse for her - I understand he was trained in either reining or cutting - not so much a trail horse. But I just thought it was odd for a horse to "leave the herd". Anyone with experience with that?

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post #2 of 16 Old 01-02-2011, 08:51 PM
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I haven't had this experience, but my guess would be that the horse is WELL AWARE that he's too much horse for his rider and that she doesn't have the confidence/experience to change that currently. Does she have the help of a trainer? I think that horse has got her number big time.

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post #3 of 16 Old 01-02-2011, 08:55 PM
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Where is he in the herd?
Some horses are just independant like that. My Fjord mare for example has NO desire to follow other horses. If she wants to go another way she will unless TOLD otherwise lol.
In a situation like that, with an inexperienced rider (or someone who can't handle it well) on the back of a horse like that it can be good to have another rider pony the horse for a ways.
It could be he just has NO manners (which it sounds like with the behavior you described) and therefore doesn't respect his rider. This is the most likely reason over "he just isnt used to trails".
Horses are always different in an enclosed space where he has limited room to pull any such shenanigans.

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post #4 of 16 Old 01-02-2011, 08:56 PM
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That is interesting that the horse was willing to go it on his own just to get back to the trailer. That's quite a ways away. It would have made more sense if he tried to turn around sooner. I'll be curious to hear what other say.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 16 Old 01-02-2011, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Oh I think he knows that too. He tried pulling that baloney on Esther but she didn't let him get away with it but even she couldn't make him go forward except for a short distance. Esther is a trainer and eventer so she is pretty experienced. I felt bad for the girl, she was crying when we got up close to the road. We had to change our ride to accommodate which was fine. Poop happens. Hubby and I tried to help her get him in the trailer about 2 or 3 weeks ago with no luck - what a pill. I think he has been too much for her for a long time and he pushes the envelope. She FB'd that she would save for a trainer - but I think he will still be too much for her. I'd hate to see her hurt.

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post #6 of 16 Old 01-02-2011, 09:11 PM
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That is sad that she's so upset about it, but there are a lot of good horses out there. No sense putting up with a butt head. Better she switch to one more suited for her than to get hurt.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #7 of 16 Old 01-02-2011, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know what she will decide. She was a little nervous when we started out. I have seen her ride her other horse and not seem nervous at all. She sold the other horse to concentrate on this one. I don't know that much about this horse other than he is well taken care of and drop dead gorgeous and a butthead. He lifted up his leg to kick Biscuit - but Biscuit was a little close. Geez...he isn't a good trail rider!!

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post #8 of 16 Old 01-05-2011, 09:20 PM
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Poor girl :( Is there not someone with experience who can take the horse out on a few trails and put some miles on him for her? Someone who has the time & would do it for free to help her out?
He sounds like my mare who will test her rider to see just how much she can get away with. If you lack confidence, she takes advantage. If you ride with confidence, she's perfect.
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-05-2011, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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I talked to my cousin today and she spoke to the very experienced lady who got on the horse during the ride. Esther said that even SHE felt uneasy on this horse. That surprised me. Esther is an expert rider - she teaches dressage, hunter/jumping/ does eventing and speaks with a cute German accent (lol like that matters!!!) We think she needs to get rid of the horse and get one she can feel confident on. We are very fond of this young lady and are loath to see her get hurt.

It just really struck all of us as really odd that this horse wanted to leave the herd. Cousin said that they did take this horse out ONCE last year and he did the same thing near the same place. We were on a levee that was probably 18 feet wide and drops down steeply to a canal...and on the other side drops down and is heavy with trees/brush/palmetto plants. Kellie (cousin) thought perhaps he gets claustrophobic.

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post #10 of 16 Old 01-06-2011, 04:57 PM
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Does she have other horses? If this horse is independent (like my Creampuff), especially with all these "stranger" horses, he may feel no safety attachment to them and will just want to go to what he knows is safe.

It may also be lack of work. Sometimes our horses will misbehave on the trail, they don't get used in a day or two, and then the behavior just got worse because they learned that if they do such-and-such, they get time off of work!

To me it just sounds like this horse doesn't get exercised enough and that he doesn't know who's "boss." Especially if he's been on this trail only a few times, about once a year. Has your friend tried to be more firm with him?

I know how it feels to be scared. When Creampuff first bolted on me (she spooked at a deer that ran away, which she could just barely see it) and I nearly fell off I was trembling! She may need to get an experienced rider out there a few more times to rope him back in; it'll also give her some time to cool down and sort her head. I'd hate to see him sold because she's afraid of him; it's a story that we all hear too often.

But everyone, even Esther, has a horse they don't "click" with. I have one -- Lightning -- who's a wiry mutt of a horse that just makes me nervous. (And he's a beginner level horse!) Part of my issue with him is when you pull back to stop he lifts his head (trying to take his reign to run more) and then acts like he's going to rear.

But, then again, if your friend and this horse aren't "compatible," it may be better that she get rid of him. Is she an experienced rider herself? Does she have a lot of experience with owning horses or did she just get in over her head?

I wish I could see what's going on for myself. Maybe his tack hurts him, or his feet or his teeth or maybe he's bruised/sore; horses will act out when something is bothering them. I don't blame Esther/the experienced rider for being nervous on this horse after seeing what happened. Maybe a tie-down is in order?

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