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I'm Nervous Going Out Alone

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  • Get nervous when i go out alone
  • When im alone ir doing something boring i get anxious and thing bad

 
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    01-16-2011, 10:53 AM
  #11
Weanling
Ultimately, I wouldn't ride by myself, especially on a horse that isn't sure of itself. But that's just me.

Horses are herd animals ... going out alone somewhere unfamiliar only provokes the instincts and they will act to protect themselves ; I don't think your horse is trying to behave badly, only looking for leadership. If you hesitate even for a moment, they will take over and try to lead themselves. So, if you get anxious, your horse knows it, and will take it upon herself to keep herself safe (which is where the anxious/alert behavior surfaces). The horses that are fine on the trail alone are the ones that don't mind being the leader. Some horses just aren't like that. Just be calm and don't EXPECT anything to go wrong - never get on a horse and expect it to do something bad, even if they do it every single time you ride. Get on and expect it to be the best behaved horse in the world and when something arises, correct it the best you can. Be prepared, but not expectant... if that makes sense.

Let her use her feelers and observe what's around her at her own pace; don't rush her or ask her for things she isn't ready for.

Also, if you want to "practice", go out with another horse in a single file line and keep your horse up front (don't pass sides). See how she acts. Is she equally alert and anxious, or is she more calm with another horse there? If she is anxious, move her behind the other horse and see if she relaxes. If she's not, the problem is the rider.
     
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    01-16-2011, 11:39 AM
  #12
Weanling
I've gone out with other horses once, and she was so great. I think it was also because I was with a bunch of experienced riders that I felt calm and safe myself, and knew that if anything went wrong they would help me. When we're alone, I don't have that feeling. It's all on me to make sure everything goes well, and she picks up on that.

Neither me nor my horse are natural leaders, and yeah...it really shows when we go out.
     
    01-16-2011, 12:04 PM
  #13
Yearling
This is something that the trainer gave me to do, that has helped my nervous horse, and me the tense rider, quite a bit. EVERY single time we ride we do the same routine. I lunge my horse until he definitely has the edge off. Do quite a few changes of direction (very important component) and make him lope a little more than he wants from just his first burst of energy. Then get right on, (no visiting and going to ladies room etc. first) and lope circles until he relaxes under me and is consistently following my direction and staying in the circle. If he is good don't nag about that anymore or over drill, let him rest for a bit so he knows all is well. Work on a few sidepasses and roll backs. Let him have a good rest, lope each way about 2 more times and then go on the trail ride.
Same exact routine every day and it calms him down more than anything else I have ever tried and he seems more happy and secure.
     
    01-16-2011, 12:45 PM
  #14
Weanling
Snookeys, I'm hoping this week to find out how Mr. Big behaves out on a trail, away from home, by himself. He's a bit barn sour riding the fields around the farm--we go out about a mile and he does OK, but his preference is to go home.

On a recent ride he was REALLY nervous, which is unusual for him. For some reason the trees we've ridden through several times were suddenly full of Horse Eating Monsters and he just didn't want to go there. I eventually got him into/thru them, but not without some bucking and spinning (first, and only, time he's done that with me). A few days later, riding with the Mrs., he was absolutely fine.

But he does have a bit of a problem going out alone. The first time trailering alone to some decent trails should be interesting! All the comments about the rider being calm will have to be understood and taken directly to heart or I expect problems.

Fortuneately, it takes a lot to get me excited, nervous, or the least bit concerned about much of anything. That should help!
     
    01-16-2011, 04:17 PM
  #15
Yearling
What type of riding do you normally do? I have trail horses, so getting them relaxed and listening on the trail is my priority. There are a few things you can do to improve both you and your horse:

1) Breathe. Sounds simple enough, but when I get nervous I tend to hold my breath and my whole body gets tense. My horse feels that and thinks there is something to be worried about. So, take some really deep breaths during your warm up and relax. I usually sing/hum the entire trail ride (when I am alone). It relaxes both horse and rider. Now it is more of a habit than a necessity.

2) Keep her busy doing something instead of just thinking forward all the time. If my horses are walking too fast I will ask them to do circles or sidepass. Sometimes I just work on walk/trot transitions.I might just work on shoulder control making them zigzag the trail....

3) It is a really good idea to go with a buddy, but keep taking her out alone, too. You need to be a leader she can trust. When she gets nervous, you need to stay calm and relaxed to reassure her there is nothing to be upset about.

4) Once she gets relaxed on the trail, you must continue to be the leader. My horses are very familiar with the way home so they will try to take shortcuts back. I never let them choose the way.

Good luck! Trail riding is so much fun!
     
    01-16-2011, 06:10 PM
  #16
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahara    
What type of riding do you normally do? I have trail horses, so getting them relaxed and listening on the trail is my priority. There are a few things you can do to improve both you and your horse:

1) Breathe. Sounds simple enough, but when I get nervous I tend to hold my breath and my whole body gets tense. My horse feels that and thinks there is something to be worried about. So, take some really deep breaths during your warm up and relax. I usually sing/hum the entire trail ride (when I am alone). It relaxes both horse and rider. Now it is more of a habit than a necessity.

2) Keep her busy doing something instead of just thinking forward all the time. If my horses are walking too fast I will ask them to do circles or sidepass. Sometimes I just work on walk/trot transitions.I might just work on shoulder control making them zigzag the trail....

3) It is a really good idea to go with a buddy, but keep taking her out alone, too. You need to be a leader she can trust. When she gets nervous, you need to stay calm and relaxed to reassure her there is nothing to be upset about.

4) Once she gets relaxed on the trail, you must continue to be the leader. My horses are very familiar with the way home so they will try to take shortcuts back. I never let them choose the way.

Good luck! Trail riding is so much fun!
Thanks for that. I'll be sure to remember all of this next time. Though, as I said before, it's not really possible to go out with someone else..
     
    01-17-2011, 06:59 PM
  #17
Trained
I think you're on the right track about just going out a little at a time so it's not a big earth shattering production. Make it boring. I did this same thing with my horse and eventually it paid off. The trick is to never turn back at the same place twice. If you go to the trail head and back the first trip, go at least a few steps into the trail the next time so your horse doesn't decide that turning back at the trail head is the next fun game to play with you.
     
    01-18-2011, 04:30 PM
  #18
Foal
There are two ways you can approach this and you will have to determine which one works with your horseís personality. If your horse is confident and just seeing what they can get by with you would want to do 1. If your horse is actually, genuinely nervous then you want to try approach 2.
  • Make home work and away rest.
With this method you will need to work your horse near the barn and where he wants to be and let him rest when he get further away. If the horse wants to be with the other horses or near the barn make that the place of work. Do circles at a lope and fast trot, do roll backs, work the hind end, but do it all with a lot of speed and work, after five or ten minutes when your horse if wanting a break take it to the place off the property and let the horse rest. If it starts acting up or wanting to dance around let it drift back to a place where it is comfortable and kick up the speed again. Making it work where you donít want it to be and rest where you do will teach the horse that going out is easier than staying in. Also, getting your horse feet moving is a great way to gain respect.
  • Baby steps
With this approach, which would be used on an unconfident horse, is a little gentler and takes longer. With this approach you leave and set a goal we are going to make it to the tree that is usually the place where the nerves start. Then walk three steps past that point turn go back where it is comfortable turn and go three steps past last turning point. Keep doing this until the horse confidently steps forward on a new area. Then go back home and start over the next day.

We have two horses and the highly confident Quarab had to have method 1 because she wasnít actually nervous she was just trying to win a small battle.
The draft cross was just unconfident and method 2 worked really well. Eventually they realize that you arenít going to hurt them and they are going to have to go out and they will go with no resistance. Sometimes if I trotted the quarab out sometimes we could make it miles before she would realize the left the other horses and then we would have a melt down.

Let us know how it goes!
     

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