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No more good trail horse?

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    11-20-2012, 09:52 PM
Originally Posted by bbsmfg3    
Not True. Practically all well trained horses can be in the pasture for months or even years and still be well trained. That is the mark of a truly well trained horse. A horse can not be a "great trail horse" if it is not well trained, impossible.
Perhaps I should restate my thoughts. Most horses are not well trained. That may sound extreme, but I suspect that it is true.
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    12-14-2012, 08:55 PM
Just to throw my 2 cents in there, it sounds to me like there was something wrong on the day he acted up. You said that is not normal behavior for him and that now, "he's back to normal". You said he sometimes gets sores on his back, and looking at the pictures, it appears he has some years on him. He looks a little thin, and it sounds like you haven't been riding him much, so he's probably not well muscled right now. I suspect he had sore spot, or maybe there was a burr or twig under the saddle pad that irritated his back, or maybe something caught in the cincha. Or, maybe he just decided to get ornery on that particular day. It happens occasionally, and if you're not confident enough to put a stop to it, he's going to get the better of you.

There is no fitting with a bareback saddle or a treeless saddle, so that's not the issue. If a horse has a sore back, riding bareback can further irritate it, so that might be something, especially if there is an open sore on his back. I'd stick with the Aussie saddle you mentioned for a while, and a good wool felt pad.

As far as pasturing a horse, I have to disagree with Celeste as well. I pasture my horses. In other words, there is no stall. I ride at most two or three times per week. Pastured horses tend to be mentally healthier and stay in better condition than stalled horses (when not ridden regularly). There may be some truth to the idea that a well-trained horse, ie for the show ring, may stay better trained when stalled, but your average trail horse is not in that category.

My dad has always pastured his horses. He might ride them once or twice a month, and maybe not at all through a whole winter (he lives at 7,000' elevation). They are rough stock, not what you'd call "well-trained" horses. Still, they don't act like idiots when we get on them for a long trail ride.

I had a horse in New Mexico that was always pastured, and never even supplemented on feed, just grass year round. Because of my work, I rode him at most three or four times a year. No, he was not well-trained, but a better trail horse would be hard to find. He was a mustang and was the easiest-keeping horse I ever had. He could live in a junk yard and never get a scratch. The only problem I ever had with him on the trail, was that whenever he was heading east he thought he was going away from home and would walk slow. When he was headed west, he thought he was heading home and would put up a great walking stride. Didn't matter where he was, just which direction he was headed. Funny thing. The only thing I can attribute it to is that maybe he grew up on the Navajo reservation range west of Farmington, NM. Who knows?

I just took the horse I have now (see avatar) out for a short ride this afternoon after not riding her for about 2 months. She is always pastured. For the first mile or so, she acted like she had forgotten everything I have taught her up to now, shying at things, looking back toward home, walking slow, being a knot-head in general. It took about a half hour to convince her that I was back and wasn't going to put up with that stuff. We had a nice ride and actually did a bit of training after that. She's a green 7 year-old I've been working on.

I take some issue also with bbsmfg3's assertion that if a horse is not well-trained it cannot be a "great trail horse". A good trail horse is simply one that will do what you ask of it when you ask it to do it. They don't have to know how to do pirouettes or sliding stops, or jump 4' fences, or dance the two-step. They need to know how to walk through creeks, up and down slopes, cross logs, get along with other horses and dogs, remain calm when problems occur, and generally watch what they're doing with their feet, and to do all that without hesitation. Anything further than that is a bonus in most trail horses. Now don't get me wrong, here. There are plenty of folks who have very well-trained trail horses. I'm working on one myself, but most folks who ride trails out there have no need of what most folks call "a well-trained horse". They just need a calm and obedient one, which is my definition of "well-broke", and that is what makes "a great trail horse" in my book.

Icrazyaboutu, what your horse needs, most likely, is more riding. Make sure he's getting the nutrition he needs and that your dad's horse isn't pushing him off his feed. You might even think about having a vet take a look at his teeth. Might need floating (nothing to do with his behavior, but he looks a bit thin).

Sorry so long. Got to typing and just kept going.
    12-14-2012, 09:01 PM
I seem to have problems communicating. Pasturing a horse is good. I did not mean pasturing as opposed to stalling. I meant pasturing as opposed to riding. Thenrie, I suspect we are on the same page. Riding the horse on a regular basis should solve his problems unless he has some sort of pain issue.

I keep my horses in the pasture as much as possible except when I am riding them.
    12-14-2012, 09:24 PM
Dozer is 9 years old, not old and not thin. I can garuntee that. I don't think I said he was back to normal. But let me try to rephrase what I ment.
After the pony died, Dozer(who was a reliable trail horse) turned into a spooky high strung mess whenever I took him out of the yard. He remained perfect in the arena. About a month ago (6 months since the pony had left) I took him out on a ride with my cousin on my dad's horse. Dozer only spooked a few times and I thought he might be going back to how he was. However, the next week when THE SAME HORSE AND RIDER went out with us, he was back to constantly jigging. He has had the little scabs on his back for years and those normally don't upset him but I figured the scabs or the saddle(since I was bareback the first ride-the good ride- and not the second ride) could be what is setting him off.
He has never been a horse that needs to be ridden often to behave well. He is turned out with my dad's horse daily(he is the alpha so the other horse is NOT chasing him off his food) and he gets ridden once or twice a week in the arena. His teeth were floated a ittle less than a year ago and everything looks good.
    01-03-2013, 01:24 PM
Hi there! I'm new here, but I've had some issues in the past
That are similar to your experience with Dozer, maybe it can help you.

All I feel is going on here, is Dozer is completely testing you, and winning from what you've said. Sure, he could be
Missing his pony friend, but you need to work this out of him so he's safe again. When he acted up on
The hill the first time, and you finally broke down and had your father come and pick you up, Dozer won. Now he
Has found a way to get out of working. Most horses would love to never do any chores - what a life, huh?

When he begins to get spooky, you need to work him right there.
Circle him in a trot if you have the room, until he begins to calm. Every
Single time he does it, you need to react positively and calmly. You
Need to take control of his actions and show him. It may take some
Doing, because of that very first time that he won the battle on the hill. Believe me, these guys remember.

I had a quarter horse years ago that I boarded, and the owner
Before me was a weekend warrior city police officer that could
Not ride, and when the horse reared, he got scared and got off
And put him away. Yeah, then I got him. Took me FOREVER to
Show him that I wasn't giving up. It took me awhile, but I did
Manage to semi-cure him of it, but it was always right under the surface.

So it may take awhile, but with some work on both your parts,
You may be able to get him back to being safe. I don't think he
Looks thin in the picture with the pony at all, he just looks like a
Narrow chested horse. The first picture his hips are not quite as
Rounded, but he does not look malnourished to me.

Good luck with him.
Icrazyaboutu likes this.
    01-03-2013, 06:05 PM
Super Moderator
Since you said he would ride nicely for you in your arena, why don't you approach it this way:

Ride him for an hour or more in your arena. Do a lot of joogging and loping and make it a good workout.

Then, when he is riding quietly and not 'on the muscle', take him out for a trail ride. If you think a horse might give you trouble in a certain place or doing a certain thing, work that horse hard BEFORE attempting that difficult task and never go into it with a 'fresh' horse.

This is the sensible way to approach anything new or anything that has been difficult in the past. It is just simply 'riding with your head'.

Try it and let us know how it works.
Annanoel and peppersgirl like this.
    01-03-2013, 06:30 PM
I would try bareback or a different saddle.

Before I bought my horse the trainer had a couple other people ride her and the one lady loves her treeless saddle, so they threw it on my mare and apparantly she was a bit grouchy. Switched saddles part way through and she went back to her usual fun/interesting self

Also just push through...
    01-03-2013, 08:52 PM
Originally Posted by Cherie    
Since you said he would ride nicely for you in your arena, why don't you approach it this way:

Ride him for an hour or more in your arena. Do a lot of joogging and loping and make it a good workout.

Then, when he is riding quietly and not 'on the muscle', take him out for a trail ride. If you think a horse might give you trouble in a certain place or doing a certain thing, work that horse hard BEFORE attempting that difficult task and never go into it with a 'fresh' horse.

This is the sensible way to approach anything new or anything that has been difficult in the past. It is just simply 'riding with your head'.

Try it and let us know how it works.
I think that might help. The day I rode him bareback out, I had been riding him for a while before. The the time with the saddle (his first freak out day that starrted all of this as well as the second time out with my cousin) I just hopped on and rode out.
It's just really odd because I used to be able to just hop on and go.
    01-03-2013, 09:18 PM
The arab mare I had for years is not what I would considered well trained.. she would go forward and turn left and right..I could barely ever get her to back up (at that time I thought this was just how horses were trained)...And forget about yeilding to pressure..

She was (still is- for my older lady friend) the best trail horse I have had.. I could let her sit for a year and she would be the same as the day you put her away.

My now heart horse is a professionally trained cutting horse who has spent the majority of her life with trainers.. when I ride her consistantly at least once a week, she leaves very little to be desired in the way of trail riding (except small water crossings..she loves to superman catapult over small creeks.. and she is too much of a princess to walk through mud- wide prob)...If I let her sit for say a month, the first one or two rides she is a ding bat.. she has to spook at EVERYTHING... after she gets it out of her system, she is a great horse..

So with that I have to say I think It comes down to a horses personality on wether or not they can sit..
    01-03-2013, 09:21 PM
At his old home, he use to sit in his stall for about 2 months with no riding, then be taken out on a weekend camping trip. Then again, his 'training' was less than desirable... (I've had people approach me and him and tell me they will never go on a trail ride with him again because he's old owners use to allow all kinds of horrible trail manners)
I've ridden him three days in a row and today was his best day for sure. I plan on taking him out tomorrow with my friend riding my dad's horse. I'l let you guys know how it goes!

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