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let horse choose gait on trail?

This is a discussion on let horse choose gait on trail? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        11-28-2012, 10:46 PM
    Green Broke
    I have let the horse pick their gait and speed. I've bought a few show world and gaming rejects that seemed to be unsure when traveling normal, uneven ground. Once I knew they really did have stop, go, right and left in their repertoire, I let them travel at will. Sure, if a decision needed to be made, mine stuck. But, it did seem to help them relax quickly.

    If I'm riding a long distance to check something, I will let a horse choose it's gait, too, if it's safe to go faster when they want or we aren't dealing with time constraints. I know when I allow this I may get some "I feel good" wiggles from them as we go.
    bsms, Beatrice9 and Herdof2 like this.
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        11-29-2012, 07:39 PM
    If I'm riding a train I've ridden a lot I'll let my horse do whatever he wants. Unless we're crossing a road or a stream then I almost never hold the reins. If I need him to slow down I'll pull him in but most of the time he knows. On new trails I'll keep a very loose hold on him but unless we're in an open area or a wide straight trail/lightly used dirt road he's usually a slow goer enjoying the scenery more than the option to bolt.
    If it's any other horse the most I allow is breaking into a trot unasked for. Only I get to chose when we canter or gallop.
    Mochachino likes this.
        12-01-2012, 12:06 PM
    I allow my horses choose their speed alot, but im still in control of them. Both my horses and I are very in-tune with eachother. They know what parts of the trail are safe for a run (they know all our trails well), and I can tell when they want to speed up. If I don't want to alittle tug on the reins is enough. My horses can ushually tell when I want them to speed up without me asking, I do cue them somehow obviously, but I can't tell ya what the cue is lol. Speaking of rescue groups, I would love to join one with my horse. We know all the area around us. But nobody does anything around here!
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        01-12-2013, 01:34 AM
    I let my gelding have the reins if I want him to make a decision that's in the best interest of our safety, but other than that he's kind of the "give an inch, take a mile" kinda guy, so it's favorable for me to command him rather than the other way around! LOL
        01-12-2013, 10:17 PM
    I have always let my horses have their head and pick their speed on the trails. Having said that, I have always had horses that were trail horses that knew to only walk on a trail. It helps that there is usually more than one horses with me, and if the other horses are walking, usually mine will just fall in place with them. I usually go on rides through pretty tough terrain when I do go on trails, so I like to give the horse their head and let them choose their pace, and where they want to place their hooves. I have found it can be dangerous when you are going down a steep hill and you hold your horse back, or make them go the direction you want them to go. Typically, the horse knows where they want to place their feet better than the person does.

    I look at trails and riding on the road differently though. When I ride on the road, I keep my horse at a easy walk, never letting her choose her pace. Occasionally I will let her trot up the road some, but only if I am crossing the road, or there is a blind spot I want to get around quickly. But I never let my horse canter/lope on the roads(And I mean blacktop ones). That can be harmful to their legs if done for a long period of time.
        01-12-2013, 10:26 PM
    When on a relaxed trail ride I allow my older gelding to think for himself a lot of the time, but he never takes advantage of it and I can always get him back. If we come to a fork he will chose a direction but if I ask for the other way he always listen. If we are bush-wacking he chooses the way unless it is ridiculous, and even on the trail, he wanders over and back working his way around rocks etc. I hate to micro-manage my horse, I always ride on a loose rein, however I know am very lucky that he listens to me the second I ask for it and is always willing to follow my lead when I ask. I know that with my younger one I will not be able to do this.
        01-12-2013, 10:37 PM
    That would be a big fat no for me. Letting my ottb gelding always choose his speed especially when he's in a new place would not be the safest thing to do. Plus, we do compete in the hunter/jumper rings so every ride we have we are still working on control.

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