teaching alone trail riding - Page 4

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teaching alone trail riding

This is a discussion on teaching alone trail riding within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    04-19-2013, 08:10 PM
Originally Posted by Sahara    
Well, I don't know where you trail ride, but if I don't have 100% control of my horse's shoulder or rib cage or hind end, we might go right over a bluff should something unexpected happen. If she spooks at a wild turkey or we flush out some pheasants, I'd like to know I can disengage her hind end before she decides to bolt or buck. So, yeah, I want to be able to control my horse's body parts. It is called preparation. Setting up for success. Whatever. I will spend as many countless hours as it takes to make sure my horse and I will be safe no matter where we ride. You say it like there is something wrong with that??

I didn't say you needed an arena. You can work with your horse anywhere it is feasibly possible. Even on the trail.
I think it was your wording :)

You can't have 100% control of your horse's body parts. You can, however, have training in place that will let you take over your horse's body parts (such as the case would be in the examples you gave ^^), but 100% control all the time just isn't possible. If it was, no one's horse would spook ever. Then we'd all complain about how dull our horses were!

ETA: OP, look up those Bombproof Your Horse books, they're really good. There's also some stuff from Clinton Anderson about problem solving on the trail.
outnabout, bsms and nvr2many like this.
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    04-19-2013, 08:54 PM
The OP has already stated that the horse is fine in the arena and only shows difficulty on the trail. The more miles you put on the less issue the horse will have. You can train to death in the arena and groundwork to death, but the trail is a constantly changing environment and the horse has to learn to recognize what is truly scary and what isn't. It takes time.

You can't train for trail anywhere but on the trail. If I will ride a horse in an arena, or in the paddock I will ride it on the trail. Whether or not the horse is "finished." It's ALL training.

The only thing different is being alone. If you're alone in the arena and no one else is at the barn, you're still alone and still at risk. Alone on the trail -- the difference is distance from help and ensuring someone knows where you are. So, when alone ANYWHERE take precautions and think about what you would do, need to do, if you end up on the ground seriously injured. Or if the horse is injured.
    04-19-2013, 09:16 PM
Originally Posted by DancingArabian    
I think it was your wording :)

but 100% control all the time just isn't possible.
I am sure your right. It takes a lot of time and dedication to the horse. A task not everyone is up to.
    04-20-2013, 12:16 AM
Originally Posted by Sahara    
I am sure your right. It takes a lot of time and dedication to the horse. A task not everyone is up to.
Time and dedication will not give you 100% control 100% of the time. If you had 100% control of your horse, it would never spook and risk running you into a bluff or decide
Originally Posted by Sahara    
I am sure your right. It takes a lot of time and dedication to the horse. A task not everyone is up to.
Time and dedication will not give you 100% control 100% of the time. If you had 100% control of your horse, it would never spook and risk running you into a bluff because you'd already have control and wouldnt have allowed the behavior. But, horses spook, they buck, they do horse things and its about taking that control back that you're after. If you had it in the first place, they wouldn't do the things where you would need to know how to disengage the hind end or shove the ribs over or whatever.

So you can keep stating that it takes time and dedication - and I agree with you there. It's just not possible to have 100% control - even you don't have it, and you said as much.
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    04-20-2013, 01:03 AM
I think you are smart enough to understand that an effective rider who can influence how a horse moves has a better chance of avoiding mishaps on the trail. I didn't say controlling my horse gave me super powers and that I could stop things before they happened. I can get us out of trouble because I know I can move her where I want to if we get in trouble. It's called training and preparation.

How do dressage riders get high scores? How does someone cut a cow? How does an eventer run a course? Because they are controlling 100% of the horses movement. Now why would that be any different in trail riding?

I wonder how stacy Westfall rides bridleless and bareback if she isn't in control. Magic?
    04-20-2013, 01:13 AM
The only way you can control a horse 100% is to shoot it and sit on the corpse. If it is alive, it has a brain and can choose to use it (and its body) in a way contrary to your desire.

You can reduce problems with training, or getting a dead-head horse, or both. Nor does arena training carry over 100% to the trail. My mare dislikes running in circles, but get her outside with a trail stretching out in front of her...THAT is very different.

The point being that while you want to train your horse reasonably well, most of us would die of old age in the arena if we waited until our horse was 100% anything before heading out. You can take some precautions. I like to go out with someone, with a helmet, and riding in an Aussie-style saddle.

But if I need a 100% compliant horse, I need to go buy one:

    04-20-2013, 01:23 AM
Of course they have minds of their own. No one said they didn't. I didn't say 100% control 100% of the time. I don't care what she does in her pasture when I am not there. But every time I ask my horse to do something I expect her to try or comply each and every time I ask. Otherwise, what is the point? If I want her to disengage her hip or side pass I should let her do it when she feels like it? Who is the leader in that relationship?
    04-20-2013, 01:29 AM
I do have access to an arena, and when I'm just starting a horse on the trails I'll leave the gait open to the arena and go out a short time, go back in, go back out, and back in. Venturing out more as the horse and I feel more comfortable. Eventually it tends to become boring and then we're ready for the rest of the trails.

Honestly I let the horse let off some steam once we get back to the arena (not on the way back) just a fast trot till the horse is able to relax some more before we head out again.

Do you have an open field? That is an ideal step between the arena and trails if you have one.

I don't have complete control over the horse's every movement for sure, but by the end they realize I am in charge and totally trustworthy. Then you have your awesome trailhorse :)
BellaIris likes this.
    04-20-2013, 01:31 AM
Originally Posted by Sahara    
First and foremost, you have to have 100% control over your horse's body parts before you ever go out on a trail. Secondly, you have to be 100% OK within yourself before you ask your horse to be 100% OK with what you are doing to it. Thirdly, you need to know the moment your horse loses focus on you and get that attention back immediately. I am guessing your horse "loses it" way before you notice anything is wrong. By the time you notice, he is already in over his head without any help from you. So, pay attention to his breathing. This is a huge indicator that he is getting uncomfortable. If he starts holding his breath stay where you are and ask for a circle or a leg yield, anything really, that gets the focus back on you and his breathing returns to normal. Then proceed. You might only make it one foot before he starts holding his breath. That's fine, just repeat the process.

And it isn't that they aren't scared or nervous going home, they just have all their focus on home, so less chance of noticing the scary bush or horse-eating log. Same thing, though. Don't let them rush, or pick the way. You make all the decisions for them. If it feels like they are anticipating a left turn, take them right.
I think you all are getting too hung up on the 100%. Here is my original post. First and foremost you need to have control of your horse's body before ever going out on the trail. Why would you want to ride any horse anywhere that you can't control? I don't get it.

If I had a death wish I'd ride the bike bsms posted.
    04-20-2013, 02:36 AM
Originally Posted by Sahara    
How do dressage riders get high scores? How does someone cut a cow? How does an eventer run a course? Because they are controlling 100% of the horses movement.
I don't think so. Perhaps we have different ideas of what's meant by "control"? Take for instance the cutting horse: I don't think the cowboy (or girl) riding that horse is 100% in control of every part of the horse's body. Rather, the horse has learned to do the job of cutting, and does it with little direction from the rider, who is concentrating on his part of the job. If the rider was controlling 100% of the horse's body, then an experienced cowperson should be able to do cutting on any healthy horse, an experienced dressage rider would get the same scores riding any horse, etc.

Really, I wouldn't even know how to control my horse's body parts. I just tell her "walk", "trot", "canter", etc, and she handles the business of making her legs move appropriately. I don't control the parts, I control (usually: sometimes there's a little discussion ) the intention.

The other point here is where people learn. Some don't have access to arenas, or even nice open fields. In my case, the first time I rode was on a trail (actually a nice, smooth dirt road).
bsms and BellaIris like this.

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