Letting the horse make a decision about where you go? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 11-29-2010, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Letting the horse make a decision about where you go?

While I was riding today I realized that I often let Lacey choose where we go on rides and I thought it would be interesting to see how many others do...

For instance, Lacey and I were going out for a ride today and we got over to where 4 different roads all meet. We usually turn to the right to go on the easiest to get to trails, but today Lacey was really pushing for going straight (we've never gone that way before since it's a lot more riding on the road to get to the trails) so I decided "what the heck" and let her go straight. After a bit we got to the trails and once we reached the end of them (maybe half a mile down) I turned her around to go home. Well, we got about halfway back up this trail (towards home) and she started acting weird so I had her stop. When we started again, she immediately turned around (I let her because it's amusing to watch her mind work) and headed back down the trail. She maneuvered around the gate at the bottom of the trail and walked straight out into the neighborhood there. I was basically crying, I was laughing so hard. She was being all weird becuase she wanted to look at the neighborhood! Silly girl.

Anyway, we went through the neighborhood and down to the cemetery where we had a little run and then headed home.

I love it when she takes me on adventures like that. She never goes faster than a walk on her own but she gets so into "her job"-ie taking me somewhere. I guess it's just great to see her personality coming out...

Does anybody else do this?

Also, we had a great ride, btw.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #2 of 21 Old 11-29-2010, 08:38 PM
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If I manage to beg/borrow a horse for hunting, I will often let them choose their own way up or down a hill, unless its a steep hill and they think they should go straight up or down. That way they are taking a route they feel is safe. Other then that I dont really let them choose where to go.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #3 of 21 Old 11-29-2010, 09:13 PM
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I had a pony just like that. She was not barn sour at all! She loved going out on adventures. Always had fun with her cuz I didn't have to fight her to get off the property. Its great to have a horse confident in itself and rider to be able to just go!
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post #4 of 21 Old 11-29-2010, 09:17 PM
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I do it. Surprisingly, my horses know our land better than I do, so I figure they won't take me off too far.

Tango - 6 yr Sorrel Quarter Horse Gelding
Corn - 8 yr Gray Quarter Horse Gelding
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post #5 of 21 Old 11-29-2010, 09:20 PM
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I used to ride a horse that would want to go the opposite way all the other horses/riders were going. It was a bit annoying, because once she realized she was all alone, she would walk soooo slow to get back to the group.
But she was my favorite horse. I miss her :(.
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post #6 of 21 Old 11-29-2010, 11:39 PM
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That was a good story. Lacey sounds like a real character.
I do let my horse choose the way sometimes. I think it is good for the partnership. Whenever we can join with our horses we create harmony. Yesterday I took Mac out for two rides. After the first one, we came home and went back out again with another friend. Mac was really pissed off, 'cause we never go out again and he felt it wasn't fair. He argued with me at several forks in the trail, so when we came to one that kind of leaned toward home and Mac felt like cantering along it, I just wen with him. It was the nicest forward canter he had in ages. (usually he is mentally holding back , getting ready to spin and run from the bogey man)
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post #7 of 21 Old 11-30-2010, 12:10 AM
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If I let my horse choose, we'd be standing in the middle of the highway greeting semis. So nope, no way, not going to happen!
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post #8 of 21 Old 11-30-2010, 02:42 AM
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If I am on a horse that I trust very much then I don't mind making a consensus once in a while. I could never do that with Deja. She's a very "give them an inch and they'll take a mile" type.
Thelma, I'll let her get away with things and let her pick the way around the pasture sometimes. She seems to understand that just because I let her choose once, doesn't mean that I've relinquished all power to her and she can do what she wants.She also doesn't seem fond of over exerting herself for nothing so I can drop the reins and let her wander without worrying that she'll take off. I can't wait to take her on trails!

Proud owner of ~Mana: 6yo Arabian gelding~Pearl 13yo Arabian~Danzer 14yo Arabian mare~ Tiny mini filly
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post #9 of 21 Old 11-30-2010, 03:08 PM
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I tell Mr. Big where we're going but I often let him pick how to get there. On yesterday's cross country ride (no trails) we were just out exploring--in quite a bit of snow, in some pretty hilly country. I let him know what hill, valley, saddle, etc., I wanted to get to but let him pick the way that he seemed to think gave the best footing in the snow. Well, within reason--he had to stay more or less on course!

The exceptions were times when I wanted to look at something in particular. Like, looking for rabbit sign for example (didn't find any, darn it all). Then he had to go where I wanted, how I wanted to get there.

And, for a bit in the middle of the ride, I was making him walk around bushes on the side he obviously didn't pick--just to make sure he knows I'm the boss and, if I say so, he WILL go where I want him to go!

He got all bent about something at one point and I ended up pulling him into a tight spin one way, then the other, then back again. Then I said "We ARE going where I say!" and after that he was a lot better. Guess he just needed a strong reminder of who was boss!
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post #10 of 21 Old 12-07-2010, 08:06 AM
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Molly is a little funny on trail rides as she always wants to pick a slightly different way to go than the other horses. For instance, where the others will just splash through a puddle, she may decide to walk on the side of it. Or she won't follow them between two trees, but instead decide she wants to walk through those two trees about a yard to the right. Or she's not going down that bank right there, she's moving about 6 feet to the left to navigate it. She won't walk over a fallen log or cross a stream without putting her nose down to check it out.

Mostly I just let her do these things, because I figure she usually has a better idea about the best footing for her than I do, but I have to pay careful attention because sometimes (in her infinite wisdom ) she'll run my leg into a tree, or try to cross the creek where it's deepest and soaks my feet.

Not sure why she's like this, but she's definitely not a nose-to-tail type of horse.
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