I don't know if my horse is OK on trails... - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By sinsin4635
  • 1 Post By LoveMyTBPacha
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-06-2012, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Norco, CA
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I don't know if my horse is OK on trails...

I have a new horse, she's exceptional in the arena. I was told by her previous owner that she's great on trails too, but there were no trails in the area that the horse was located at before I bought her. I'm cautious to take her out on street trails (I live in an area where the trails go through the neighborhoods) because I don't know how she will react to things like a motorcycle passing or dogs barking. Any suggestions? Should I hand walk her around these trails first and see how she responds to the atmosphere? What would you do when you don't know what to expect?
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-06-2012, 11:32 PM
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The best thing you can do, is take someone with a good, calm trail horse with you. Your horse should just follow right along.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-06-2012, 11:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Southern California
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hey, i live quite near to you and my trails are the same. I was skeptical about taking my mare on our trails too. I took her to the mountains and she was fantastic but the street trails are completely different. I did hand walk her a couple times, mostly because i wanted to know what she would do, how would react. one of my horses rears and the other bolts so i wanted to see if i was going to have to deal with that haha.

she did good and it gave me that extra confidence to ride her out on them. i feel really safe on her because ive ridden her enough and placed her in different situations so her reactions are more predictable to me now.

i took a whip with me when i hand walked her a couple times in case she got in my space while spooking at something (she was pretty pushy when i first started working with her). I found it really helpful. I probably only hand walked her a 3 or 4 times before i rode her out and it was more than enough for me to be prepared.

edited to add:
i agree with the poster above that your horse will be more confident and secure with another reliable trail horse as a buddy. I dont often have anyone to ride with so this wasnt much of an option for me. I also didnt want her to get so used to having another horse with her that she would be misbehaving on her own.

Last edited by attackships; 10-06-2012 at 11:41 PM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-08-2012, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: New Hope PA
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The walking her should give you a good indication of how she will react to things, but remember- even on the ground she is going to react to how you react. Make sure you are confidant and calm about everything you encounter from the very start. Don't let there be anything negative coming from you, down the lead line and into her head. She trusts you to keep her safe. If you make no mind about a car whizzing by, or that flag flapping in the yard, most likely, neither will she :) I personally would also make sure she is walking with me, not slack dangly off behind me. When she is next to you, you can watch her more- her ears, her eyes, listen to her breathing etc. You know your horse best, what her signs are.
Finding someone that has a horse that's been where you want to go and can give your girl that One Time through showing her the ropes... and as long as the walking through and one time with a buddy works, I would just go from there.

Best of luck!
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-13-2012, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Norco, CA
Posts: 84
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Thanks everyone for the helpful advice :) I will probably walk her in the area a bit (mostly so I can know how she reacts to things). I also have a friend nearby who has a great bombproof quarter horse mare, we'll do our first rides with them :)
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-14-2012, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Alberta
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Like others have said, your horse will pick up on your state of mind. Relax, breath and stay calm, especially if you see something up ahead that might be scary to her ( a car, a bike, etc ). If she feels you're not stressed about it, she'll take your lead and will ignore it as well.

Its good that your friend can go along with you, it definitely helps to have a solid horse and rider with you. With my friend's younger horse, anytime we were out and there was something scary like an atv I'd just move my horse between them. This acted like a buffer, because Nugget is not bothered by that sort of thing, and it helped her horse relax as well.
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-15-2012, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Eastern Montana
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Something else you may try...can you expose your horse to some of the expected "dangers" on the trail to see how she may react. Maybe enlist the help of a couple of kids on bikes, a plastic bag or two, car horns etc. and expose her to them at home and teach her that they are not scary and if they do try to eat her to look to you for guidance and not blindly running away.

Once you find something that frightens her, keep exposing her to it until she decides to look at calming down as the right anwser. Once she shows a sign of relaxation take the scary object away. Doing that a few times shows her that to make scary things go away you get calm and quiet. She will also start to look to you for guidance as to what is scary or not. If you are her herd leader and you are not running away then maybe she doesn't need to either.

This might just be a safety net and confidence builder for you before you take her out so you get some kind of idea how she will react. It is surprising how often they will only react to what we do. We get scared...so do they. You stay calm, so do they. Etc.

Have fun!
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