Loose rein or constant contact for the spooky horse? - Page 2
 
 

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Loose rein or constant contact for the spooky horse?

This is a discussion on Loose rein or constant contact for the spooky horse? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Long reining spooky horse
  • Stop spookiness on the horse trail

 
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    06-06-2010, 07:41 AM
  #11
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovemyarab    
Hmmm It's a problem for me too. My Arab mare is really spooked out by the trails in our back woods. I've been working with with her on and off for months just to get her so she's not jumping all over the place on the trails. It's hard because you want to pull back to get some control but not be pulling on thier mouth all the time.
BTW, if anyone has ideas about getting her less afraid on the trails they would be appreciated.

Never pull back on their mouth, instead take your left or right rein, whatever one you feel most comfortable with and turn the horse around. A "one rein stop". If you pull back all you're doing is giving the horse something to brace against, which makes for a tenser/spookier horse that can keep going on in the buck or gallop.
     
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    06-06-2010, 04:13 PM
  #12
Showing
Interesting discussion so far. I'm riding english and I ride on trail "on line". :) I mean I don't keep full contact like I do in ring, but I still keep some. Two reasons for that

1) My paint is spooky. I mean, I trail ride her for 3 years already, still ANY new thing (like new bridge, or fallen tree) makes her very unsure and takes us time to cross. I've never seen a horse that would be SO careful about where she goes and steps she makes (and I tried lots of new trail horses for the sell barn). I don't pull on her mouth, but I rather prefer to keep the reins short if she decides to jump over the obstacle (that happened before, VERY big jump from stand still) or shy on side.

2) If I give a loose rein to my qh she drops all her weight on front and nose goes almost into the ground. With some contact I remind her to keep her head higher and work from her hind.
     
    06-06-2010, 04:28 PM
  #13
Showing
I think you should ride however the horse is most reassured. I personally ride with loose reins all the time; however, I will keep them a bit shorter on green, spooky, or broncy horses. I like them short enough that I don't have to make a lot of adjustment when something happens. There is a method that I just recently learned for dealing with spooky horses and I have found that it will work wonders.

As opposed to re-writing it, I am just copying and pasting and I added just a little bit more:
Quote:
whenever they spook and move their feet, tighten them down into a tiny little circle almost like a one-rein stop but keep leg on them and keep them moving in that little tiny circle. It will sometimes feel like they are about to fall over and you will get dizzy but just keep them going. If they start getting sluggish, bump them a little bit with inside leg, outside leg, or both. Even bump them with a leg back onto their flanks or up onto their shoulder, that will help them to realize that you aren't going to kill them when you move a leg around a bit. Then when you are ready to stop (not them, you), switch sides and turn them in tiny circles the other direction with leg or bumping to keep them going. If he starts laying on your hand, just give him a little bump with the bit to get him off the bridle and don't stop turning a direction until you like where his head stays. If you do this every time he spooks and jumps, it is amazing how quickly he will quit finding ordinary things that he wants to be afraid of. Do this throughout the entirety of your ride. If he sees something scary, let him look at it so long as he doesn't move his feet but if he jumps or starts to bolt, start the circles all over again. You can drain the piss and vinegar out of any horse in 10 or 15 minutes of doing this and they seem to be less spooky and more attentive when they can't get enough oxygen. I used this on the little Arab gelding that I rode and the difference from one day to the next was like night and day.
     
    06-06-2010, 04:54 PM
  #14
Weanling
I usually keep soft contact when trail riding my arab. He does really well on trail, but he prefers to know that I'm still up there with him. It helps him, if he sees something scary, to know that I'm engaged with what's going on and ready to help him. It's a fine line though. Too much contact and he'll start to think something's wrong.
     
    06-06-2010, 05:12 PM
  #15
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs    
As opposed to re-writing it, I am just copying and pasting and I added just a little bit more:
smrobs, how would you do it on trail when it's almost just as wide as your horse? I've seen similar suggestion before and always wondered how it'd work on trail where there is not space at all for even tiny circle.
     
    06-06-2010, 05:21 PM
  #16
Showing
Ideally, it would be best to work on that in an area where there is sufficient space to get the spookiness under control and then hit the harder trails. I understand how unnerving it can be when a horse spooks and there isn't enough room to do much of anything except hold on and pray for the best. If you can work on it in an open field where you can put lots of scary items, the more you do it, the less spooky the horse will be, even in unfamiliar areas.
     
    06-06-2010, 08:19 PM
  #17
Trained
Loose, but with my hands out in front of the pommel. That way if there is a sudden spook, I've got easy access to either rein just by sitting back or bringing my arms back. Otherwise, he's got his loose rein which allows for both of us to be relaxed and unrestricted for a nice relaxing trail ride. (hee hee)
     
    06-06-2010, 09:24 PM
  #18
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs    
Ideally, it would be best to work on that in an area where there is sufficient space to get the spookiness under control and then hit the harder trails. I understand how unnerving it can be when a horse spooks and there isn't enough room to do much of anything except hold on and pray for the best. If you can work on it in an open field where you can put lots of scary items, the more you do it, the less spooky the horse will be, even in unfamiliar areas.
Yeah, that's the problem unfortunately. We don't have too much open space down here (unless you keep a horse in a fancy place). :) So have to deal with what's around (ring and parks with set trails).
     
    06-06-2010, 09:55 PM
  #19
Weanling
Caleb can be spooky, but I still ride him with loose reins on the trail, if he spooks, my first reaction is to slide my left hand and open the rein. That way, I can take control quickly without pulling on his mouth, the bit just slides and pushes the opposite side.
     
    06-06-2010, 10:00 PM
  #20
Super Moderator
I usually keep my reins just short enough that I can take contact immediately if need be. (if I'm on a spook-meister) on a quiet horse I am really bad about dropping the reins all together.

The trick with a spooky horse is not to let him look around. It's ok to let him see something like a horse eating stump, let him sniff at it and what not but just walking down the trail you need to keep his attention and not allow him to let his eyes wander... that's when he'll find the gnomes and the pixies preparing to attack....
     

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