Thoughts from a new trail rider - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 02-11-2014, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thoughts from a new trail rider

I;ve been riding just 9 months and went on my 2nd trail ride today. We were 3.. the instructor, me and one other rider. So, teacher is first then, the other guy bec his horse wanted to be in front then me.. I dont like being in the back. I dont like worrying about getting kicked from the middle horse if we get too close, ( horses like to be close) and I dont like it when the middle rider is going too slow as a big gap is evident between him and the first rider. I'd prefer a trail where 3 of us are all riding side by side, equal pace.. etc.. Does this exist? Am I a bad trail rider for being annoyed by all this? ( It does cost a lot of money to go out on a trailride ) this trail had some people and dogs too.. Horses are ok but certainly froze when they saw an object.. that ok for trailride?
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post #2 of 21 Old 02-11-2014, 04:31 AM
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That all sounds normal to me. Hang in there, it'll all get easier in time.
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post #3 of 21 Old 02-11-2014, 05:39 AM
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Around here it is unusual to see a trail that you can ride 3 across.
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post #4 of 21 Old 02-11-2014, 05:57 AM
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Around here it is unusual to see a trail that you can ride 3 across.
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post #5 of 21 Old 02-11-2014, 09:59 AM
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Around here it's unusual to find a trail where you can ride two abreast for more than a short distance. You'll have to get comfortable going in a line unless you ride by yourself as that is the most common trail ride you'll find.

Horses naturally wants to get on the butt of the horse in front of it so it's incumbent on every rider to teach their horse to back off. Depending on how competitive or insecure your horse is pretty much dictates how long this will takes. This is done by being consistent and persistent in your request to back off the horses in front of you. Eventually they get the idea. FYI trail etiquette is for someone riding a kicker to tie a red ribbon to their horses tail (some tie it to the head stall). But, that doesn't mean a non kicker wont kick if irritated enough by a horse riding their butt so be careful.

As for the person not being consistent in front of you, that is one of the most annoying type of riders. Only a couple things you can do about that. One is have a talk with them about it as some just are not aware of what they are doing. Get in front of them if you can. Refuse to ride with them in the future. Last of all, grin and bear it...
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post #6 of 21 Old 02-11-2014, 10:10 AM
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Yeah, most horses get irritated eventually if another horse is on its butt. It's up to the rider to make sure to keep a safe distance between their horse's nose and the other rider's horse's butt.

Yes, it is up to the rider to get the horse to move out. However, some do have faster gaits than others. The horse in front will set the pace. Horses that are slower I prefer to have in the middle or back sometimes because having a horse in front of them will quicken their pace since many horses are naturally competitive. Sometimes, a slow horse just needs to lengthen his stride, which is something a novice rider will have difficulty asking for.

I'd make a lighthearted joke to get the point across, like, "Hey, slowpoke! Is that all the faster you can go?!" And smile. Don't make it a sneer or a jab, just a joke. Otherwise, live with it.

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post #7 of 21 Old 02-11-2014, 10:17 AM
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Honestly, I'd prefer to be at the back in a situation like that. You don't have to worry about someone else riding up your butt. Like others have said, in some trails you CAN'T ride three abreast. They're too narrow for multiple horses. If you're following another horse (be it you're the second or third rider) it's your responsibility to keep your horse from riding up on the horse in front of you. If your horse is consistently walking up on the other horse AND the second horse is allowing there to be a big gap between them and the first one, then maybe the pace would be better if you're in the middle. Consider that for next time, but don't allow your horse to pass the middle horse on his own terms. You don't want to be teaching any bad habits If you have room then circling is also an option to get your horse to back off. Still, remember that you'll have to worry about running up on the horse in front of you. Since you're a new rider that isn't as familiar with the trails, it makes sense that the trainer needs to be first.

I understand the frustration with trails. I often ride out back with my friend on her 17hh TB that gets a bit jiggy on trails. He walks considerably faster than my 15hh QH and gets upset if my horse were to trot up behind him, but we've gotten a routine. I try to get my guy to walk at a brisk pace, she tries to slow hers down, and circles if she has to. Things get thrown all out of the loop if it's summertime and spider season. She HATES the banana spiders and webs that form across the trails, so I go ahead of her to knock down the spiders. Her horse gets nervous and rides up my butt, and it is really frustrating! The chances of my guy kicking hers are pretty slim, but still...

It's all about getting used to it. You're a bit nervous, and it's normal. Perhaps ask your trainer if you can go on trail rides more frequently so it becomes a routine for you. Trails aren't for everyone, but most people love it once they get used to it
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post #8 of 21 Old 02-11-2014, 10:39 AM
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That is pretty normal for lots of trail rides. We are riding at Ebenezer Park in Jasper, Texas this coming weekend. Most of the way the trails are single file - some spots aren't but most of the way is. When I first bought my gelding he had been trained basically to put his nose in another horses tail and follow. His former owner would put anyone and everyone on Biscuit, people who had never rode in their life, little kids, etc. and he wanted Biscuit (who was then Goose!) to follow closely. It took me more than a year of working with Biscuit to get him to stop that. He still will do it if I do not stop him!

Most horses also walk at different paces. My cousin's half Arab has a nice pace and so does Biscuit. Yet at times both will walk slower than molasses in January. My former horse Red was a former race horse with big long legs and walked slower than any horse we rode with and was constantly falling back and then trotting to catch up.

If the second person was going so slow your horse was running up his backside you can ask if you can move ahead. Smile and enjoy the ride. Horses will freeze/spook/shy at all kinds of stuff. Biscuit has literally thousands of miles on trail rides. IN.THE.WOODS. He shies mostly at logs on the ground - he thinks they are alligators that are going to eat The Biscuit's legs.

Enjoy your riding and hope you have many happy trails.

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post #9 of 21 Old 02-11-2014, 12:31 PM
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Luke, If you intend to be doing this trail riding thing there are just all sorts of things that you are going to have to get used to. Good considerate riders with well behaved horses to just the opposite. There are no guarantees in this endeavor that I have found. There are good safe trails with pristine surroundings but I haven't found it yet. You are ultimately responsible for you and your horse and how it behaves and you can't be controlling everyone else. I have ridden with people that will eventually end up in front before the ride is over. I have not figured out whether it is a macho thing or what. Wait until you are still on the ground and a riding partner rides off and leaves you to mount a horse that is afraid that he is going to get left behind - Your going to love it. My suggestion is to stay with it and gain experience and eventually pick and choose who you go with.
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post #10 of 21 Old 02-11-2014, 07:46 PM
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QOS, we have seen the pictures of the alligators on your trail rides. I am with the Biscuit on this. Are those your legs in danger?
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