teaching alone trail riding - Page 5

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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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    04-20-2013, 02:44 AM
Let's try this again people.

A horse will only be as good as you expect it to be. If you ask your horse to stop do you expect it to stop every time you ask or is 75% good enough for you? If you want to turn right do you expect the horse to turn right or is it ok if it turns left?

If you expect your horse to respond to an aid 50% of the time then it will.

I expect my horse to respond to whatever aid I give it 100% of the time.

Let's not make this discussion harder than it is.
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    04-20-2013, 03:17 AM
Beachluvr....It sounds like you are enjoying this nice young horse. Horses accept situations differently. Maybe yours just needs more time to be really confident on the trail. Personally, if she is happy walking right now, then that's what I'd do...but when she gets wide-eyed about something, I'd just ask her to keep moving and pay attention to you...no big deal...nothing to be afraid of. However, if she really is afraid (and someone earlier stated you can tell the difference), then I would pay attention to that. Paying attention to my horse kept me out of trouble a couple of times.
The important thing is that both of you enjoy the trail. : )
    04-20-2013, 03:28 AM
You know I have never seen a horse run a barrel pattern without a rider on its back. I never have. How do those riders get the horse to run the pattern? Is it because the rider is controlling the horse's feet? How do they turn around the barrel? Is it because the rider rates the turn and applies an aid to the body of the horse? Do they not have control of the horse's body?

James, how does your horse get anywhere on the trail? When does it know to turn around and go home? Are you just a passenger letting the horse go wherever it wants to? How do you turn left? How do you back up? Are you riding a green horse or an experienced trail horse? Do you think you could just tell a green horse walk, trot, canter? Clearly, you are reaping the rewards of someone's hard work.
    04-20-2013, 09:59 AM
Green Broke
Beachlvr, I think the horse is mirroring you. You are a bit uncertain about being out there alone, so you slightly tense up. Coming home you relax because now you see you are going to live through it.

I think for most horses, going with another horse or alone is not that much different, if the rider is comfortable. I would take her out with one other horse for a bit.

Most observers would think my horses don't like big groups because they act up, but I don't like big groups!

Good Luck!!

    04-20-2013, 10:30 AM
Sahara, I do too believe it is important to have control of body parts. I flex her, and practice one reign stops so when we are on the trail its second nature to me and her when needed. It helps me feel safer and confident. I love to do adventure trail riding, riding up over the berm, around trees and objects. It is a game for me and hopefully her. I usually ride in back so I can do that. She is young and is a bit timid when heading out alone with out the "safety" of the other horses. When they all spoke she doesn't budge acts all brave.
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    04-20-2013, 11:09 AM
Sahara, the issue I think is exactly that you did state 100%. Nothing is 100%; ever. Impossible. Whether it's a horse, a bike, a skill, the trail conditions, the crowd... nothing. That's the point. To expect absolutely 100% is an unreasonable goal. To DESIRE it and to STRIVE towards it, yes and we can all get a bit closer, but never will we be at 100%. To tell the OP that her control has to be 100% before heading out on the trail is basically saying she (and everyone else) should never go out on the trail.

You can't tell me and have me believe that every single time you have gone riding or worked with your horse, and that every single minute with the horse has always been absolutely perfect. That's the point. There is no perfection.
    04-20-2013, 12:57 PM
Originally Posted by Sahara    
You know I have never seen a horse run a barrel pattern without a rider on its back. I never have. How do those riders get the horse to run the pattern? Is it because the rider is controlling the horse's feet? How do they turn around the barrel? Is it because the rider rates the turn and applies an aid to the body of the horse? Do they not have control of the horse's body?...
No, they do NOT control the body. Horses have been bred for thousands of years to be willing and submissive. And we teach them in part by controlling their alternatives - making it unpleasant to refuse us, and easier to obey, until they form a habit of obeying.

The problem is the word "control". Can you direct a horse to do something? Of course! And they usually will do it, particularly if they are in the habit of obeying. But you do not CONTROL squat. Run your horse into some Teddy Bear Cholla and see how much control you have!

If Mia is genuinely afraid of something ahead of us, I can whip her rump with a leather strap, and she will still go in reverse. As the lady I took lessons from put it, "You cannot make a horse do anything. You can only make all the alternatives less desirable." And if something in front says "FEAR ME!!!!", then the leather strap on Mia's butt gets ignored.

With time, she is less likely to be overwhelmed with fear, because she gets used to my telling her to go from A to B being safe. But that isn't something I can teach her in an arena. And that is the point for this thread:

You cannot teach a horse in an arena that it will be safe outside the arena.

At some point, you have to leave the confines of the arena and go out and start facing those fears. And what will they fear? Depends on the horse. Some are born pretty level headed. Others, like Mia, have a lot of deep seated fears. And in an arena, she never needs to face those fears. The walls of the arena protect her - or so she believes. We could spend 20 years riding in an arena, and she would be no better prepared for the real world. She cannot face her fears until she is exposed to them.

And just as only about 50% of groundwork carries over to when my butt is in the saddle, only about 50% of what she learns in the arena carries over to outside. So at some point you have to take the horse out and let it learn about the world. 100% good in the arena is about 50% good on the trail, IMHO. That is because the horse's mind controls its body. And the horse can't learn to trust me in a scary situation until we've FACED scary situations together, me on her back. If that puts me in danger...well, I can accept the risk, or stay in the arena forever.

BTW - Cowboy is our BLM mustang pony. He is great on a trail. Ride him in an arena, and THAT is where he gets scared! So much depends on the horse!
    04-20-2013, 01:34 PM
To bsms...Amen, Brother!!!!!

I can be comfortable with what I can teach here at home, but for the trail horse I want, the trail becomes my training ground. I'm not heading out with a wild-eyed bozo or the greenest of mounts. That would be foolhardy to say the least. But in order to have a confident trail horse you need to get out on the trail. JMHO
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    04-20-2013, 01:35 PM
I think it's safe to say we all agree. Some are just uncomfortable with the word control. So let's call it "direct the body parts".

Yes, we strive for 100% compliance when I apply an aid. If she doesn't get it I correct her and ask again.

The point I am so desperately trying to make is that if you do not have the ability to direct your horse's body parts when you absolutely need to then you are an accident waiting to happen. You prepare for trail riding just like you would any other discipline. As far as I am concerned, being able to move a shoulder or hip when you need to is a very basic maneuver. I am not saying you should be able to do flying lead changes or a levade. I am talking about having a foundation on your horse so you can both be successful.

Think about it in terms of a kid's horse. I sure as heck am not putting my kid on a horse they can't "direct".

And just to make this crystal clear I said they should have 100% control of the horse's body. Meaning if you, in any circumstance, ask your horse to do a leg yield it should respond. Not ignore you and bolt back to the barn.
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    04-20-2013, 01:40 PM
Green Broke
Amen brother and sister!!!

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