Trail riding Help please! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 05-18-2013, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Trail riding Help please!

Hey guys!

I have this issue where my mare is in a hurry when we are on our way back home :( what can I do?

One more thing, if trot or canter, i ALWAYS have to keep my reins tight because she only wants to go fast...I would very much like to just trot or canter without having to tight my reins to hold her back...Is there anything i can do to make her slow down? (it's worse when i am trail riding with other horses because she's competitive and wants to be first...)

Any suggestions will be much appreciated! Thank you!! :)
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post #2 of 28 Old 05-18-2013, 06:19 PM
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Sounds like you need to walk, walk, walk, and walk. And then when you're finished, stop, stop, stop, and stop. Practice stopping and backing up where ever you are, even if you're just leading. I did this with my herd bound mare, I walked her in hand, and then I ground drove her, and now we are riding out peacefully by ourselves, and she will stop and back up instead of rearing.
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post #3 of 28 Old 05-18-2013, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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I should have also specified that on our way home she also walks fast, and i would like to have a slow relaxing walk. I have tried LOTS of check and release with my reins, not working. Have tried doing circles, not working either. When i keep holding my reins tight, she starts to jerk her head up (something she never does)
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post #4 of 28 Old 05-18-2013, 06:34 PM
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Turn her back around and walk back out as soon as she starts to speed up her walk. Check and release worked with one of mine, but I had to use the turn around method for a couple others. My current mare just has an energetic walk (constant, I like it though, lol).

The jerking her head up is probably to get away from the pain the bit is giving her. I can't use a single joint with my mare because she has a low pallete and when I have to up my rein pressure, she loses it. With a double jointed bit without the nutcracker action it's much better, but she just doesn't like a snaffle so will still do it on occasion, but her head isn't constantly up with the single joint.
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post #5 of 28 Old 05-18-2013, 06:58 PM
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Id keep her on a loose rein and when she takes that first quick step id calmly give the reins a tap to slow her and the more she speeds up id tap her back down to a slower gait till she walks calmly then id let her walk again on a loose rein calmly-- id keep doin that till she understands you want her to walk-- when youre tensed up shes tensed up.. keepin the situation calm is what you want.

When she tries to take off with the other horses id do the same- dont anticipate her runnin off- stay calm and tap her into a walk.. keep her focused on you- not the other horses.

Shes excited to get home so youll get off her back untack and let her go back to graizing or whatever she likes to do.. id also tap her into a slower walk at the first quick step and when you get back into the slow walk you want.. when you get home you can walk her around more after you dismount and let her eat some grass then untack. Dont just get home and untack and put her away.
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post #6 of 28 Old 05-18-2013, 07:02 PM
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^^^ agreed. And also make sure you are in a slow posture. Not hyped up yourself. Relax those hips and maybe exaggerate it a bit so she will get it.

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post #7 of 28 Old 05-18-2013, 07:15 PM
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You need to do an exercise at the stable that I like. Use an arena with a gate. Lope (or canter) away from the gate and make your way 1/2-way around, then half-halt to a trot the next 1/4-way, then half-halt to a walk until you reach the gate again. Immediately canter off and repeat, repeat, repeat. It's as if you are saying we're going back to the barn, well, maybe--NOPE we're running away from the barn. When you have lathered your horse up--a good hour of this works wonders, on BOTH reins, then dismount at the farthest point from the gate, and hand walk back to the barn. Tie your horse up, untack, and let him sit and think about this for an hour while you much out his stall...or read a good book. Don't leave him out of earshot.
A horse that runs back to the barn is very dangerous. My horses have a shelter that would knock my head off if one decided to run back and duck inside. I spent some sessions with my 16'3hh gelding last summer. I positioned my DD with a lungewhip at the entrance to the shelter. My horse didn't know she was there. We moved out away from the shelter, then slowed down coming towards the entrance. She walked forward with the whip horizontal to the ground in both hands and pushed him away. We will do more of this THIS year. I want my horses in no uncertain terms to know that there is probably a monster that lives in their shelter when I am riding, and you don't want to go there. =b
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post #8 of 28 Old 05-18-2013, 08:26 PM
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What I would do is take her head away (softly) every time she goes faster than YOU want and move the same leg to her hindquarters so she moves around in a tight circle. Also, try to keep your other rein loose. Have your riding buddies stop when you are doing this so she isn't trying to think you're cutting her off from her friends. Keep doing this and eventually she will get it. The truth is it won't be a one time thing, but she will soon learn that when you want a nice slow walk, she has to walk or she has to do stuff she doesn't want to.

Another thing I do (when they get really gun-ho) is to run them and create so much extra energy when they want to run and then when they slow down create more energy for like a minute longer until you give a slow/stop command. This is kind of dangerous, I'd probably do this on a western saddle only. This teaches them that the slow down command is a good thing and then they'll seek that in you.

Whatever you do, DO NOT go for a bigger bit or go harsher on her mouth. That's just a cop-out and both you and her will learn nothing.
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post #9 of 28 Old 05-18-2013, 08:56 PM
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When you get back to the barn, DON'T put your horse up. Instead, do some really intense arena work! Do this every time you come back to the barn, and she wont be in a hurry to get there any more. Most horses speed up or become "Barn Sour" because they know that the end is near, and that you are going to give them the ultimate reward: time off! So as soon as you get back to that barn, make her butt work. Go into the arena and get her good and sweaty, then do your cool down routine. Keep us posted on your progress!
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post #10 of 28 Old 05-18-2013, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Wow those are all great advice!! Thanks everyone!!! and as for the bit, no worry i ride in a bitless bridle :) Also i am sure that making her work when we come home might just work to get her to slow down BUT when im trotting with friends, she gets competitive and goes fast what do i do then??
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