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Trail riding solo

This is a discussion on Trail riding solo within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Dont want to ride alone

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    05-24-2012, 03:35 PM
  #31
Foal
Singing and talking to a horse is great for relaxing. I know I can practically feel the tension drain whenever I start to talk and sing while nervous. There is a different tone of voice you use when singing and talking vs. giving a command such as Woah or trot or calling their name (or at least there should be). Similar to dog training, tone of voice conveys a lot. You can be talking around a dog all day but when you focus your energy and tell them to sit, suddenly they direct total attention at you.
     
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    05-25-2012, 10:28 PM
  #32
Weanling
Well I don't think my horse or anyone else would like my singing voice, but I do talk to him constantly. I almost feel like he knows what I'm saying. Like yesterday when I was cleaning his sheath and he raised his leg. I held onto his leg and said " I know you don't really want to kick me and I don't want to get kicked" and he put it down. It's like he understands. I know I sound crazy but when I tell him it's ok. I think he actually believes me.
     
    06-05-2012, 09:20 PM
  #33
Weanling
It amazes me how dead set against people are of riding alone. I can see no other way because the thought of having to coordinate times and wait for others horrifies me. I want to ride when I want to ride and I don't want to have to hang back and wait for others. I think it would be fun to go on a trail with a group , but I don't want to have to be stuck to that all the time.
     
    06-06-2012, 03:34 AM
  #34
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by hberrie    
It amazes me how dead set against people are of riding alone. I can see no other way because the thought of having to coordinate times and wait for others horrifies me. I want to ride when I want to ride and I don't want to have to hang back and wait for others. I think it would be fun to go on a trail with a group , but I don't want to have to be stuck to that all the time.
I think it just depends on whether or not a given rider has sufficient confidence in him/herself and his/her horse so as to be comfortable riding alone. When my wife is not able to go with me, I totally enjoy riding alone. When I was an early teen, I went trail riding alone many many afternoons after school as well as other times. It was tremendously enjoyable and the experience probably helped me develop confidence in my riding ability as well as my connection with my horse. And, the time in the saddle was extremely valuable as well as enjoyable. It's all about the connection/relationship with your horse and riding by yourself is conducive to being "tuned in" to each other, I think.
     
    06-07-2012, 11:06 PM
  #35
Foal
I think riding alone builds a bond between horse and rider. It is peaceful. I like big trail rides but lone riding is really nice
     
    06-08-2012, 12:03 AM
  #36
Foal
Awesome to hear you guys are getting out on your own well.

When I got Nugget last year, I wanted to be able to ride alone. Our first ride out went AMAZING!....then I think he realized there's not other horses around, because on our second ride a week later, we got 50 ft out the gate and he started throwing a fit. He was backing into ditches, trying to run home, being a goof in general....but we were finishing on my terms! I finally got 10 steps in the right direction, stopped him and calmly had him walk home. The next time we got 100ft farther down the trail, and the time after that even farther. Now he's an AWESOME solo trail horse, we've had 3 solo rides this week, and he's been a good boy for every one of them

And to agree with everyone else, I talk to my horses too, they listen :) and I've never had a problem with them tuning me out when I needed them to hear me.
     
    06-08-2012, 02:08 AM
  #37
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunavi    
Awesome to hear you guys are getting out on your own well.

When I got Nugget last year, I wanted to be able to ride alone. Our first ride out went AMAZING!....then I think he realized there's not other horses around, because on our second ride a week later, we got 50 ft out the gate and he started throwing a fit. He was backing into ditches, trying to run home, being a goof in general....but we were finishing on my terms! I finally got 10 steps in the right direction, stopped him and calmly had him walk home. The next time we got 100ft farther down the trail, and the time after that even farther. Now he's an AWESOME solo trail horse, we've had 3 solo rides this week, and he's been a good boy for every one of them
That's really great! I'm so glad that you were able to get things worked out with him. I think you handled it very well indeed. He just didn't understand what a good team the two of you are!
     
    06-08-2012, 03:54 AM
  #38
Foal
I saw that a few people have recommended getting off and walking your horse, in situations where he's spooky.

I'd strongly recommend AGAINST doing this, in almost all circumstances. As much as it might not feel like it, you're usually safer on your horse, in those types of situations. If your seat isn't good enough to be able to stay in the saddle while your horse gets a little spooky, then you probably shouldn't be riding out alone. You don't want to be on the ground, leading your horse, if they're acting a fool, you're likely to get hurt. I've watched a couple people insist on getting off to lead their horse across water. The horse gathers and leaps across the water and the person leading them almost has a horse on their back. Much better to just stay mounted in those situations and hang on! Not to mention, if you get off when your horse gets spooky, you're just teaching them an easy way to get you off their back.
Of course, if your horse is having a total meltdown, and it's getting to be more than you think you can handle, don't push it. Especially when you're out on trail alone.
     
    06-08-2012, 09:31 AM
  #39
Trained
Singing and talking to your horse is fine. However if you're in a group I think you should tone that down. Not everyone finds the constant chatter agreeable - personally there's several people I dislike riding with because they get SO NERVOUS that it's a constant stream of chatter and conversation that it's hard to be mindful of the surroundings and enjoy the ride. Talkin can also confuse other horses, who will not be used to "your way" and they may think you're talking to it instead of your own horse.

I think that people who are nervous about riding alone should determine WHY they're scared and address that. Scared of falling? Work on your seat, your whoa, your one rein stop, etc. build up your confidence and your horses confidence.

I prefer to ride alone.
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    06-08-2012, 10:00 AM
  #40
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by enh817    
I saw that a few people have recommended getting off and walking your horse, in situations where he's spooky.

I'd strongly recommend AGAINST doing this, in almost all circumstances. As much as it might not feel like it, you're usually safer on your horse, in those types of situations. If your seat isn't good enough to be able to stay in the saddle while your horse gets a little spooky, then you probably shouldn't be riding out alone. You don't want to be on the ground, leading your horse, if they're acting a fool, you're likely to get hurt...
I could not disagree more.

If I can choose to be on the ground or on the horse when the horse hits the fan, I'll choose the ground every time. Worst case, which has never happened to me on many walks, I can let go of the lead. If my horse then bolts into traffic, she would die and I would not die with her.

Here in southern AZ, a bolting horse can take you thru cactus or into a hidden wash. One about 50 yards from my house is 10 feet deep and hidden by vegetation until you are within a few feet of it. A bolting horse would kill herself and her rider if she went that way.

But it has never happened. It is much easier to control a nervous horse from the ground than from in the saddle. They are much less nervous once they see you, for one thing. Nor has my mare EVER tried to go over me. When she can see me, she knows where I am.

I think the key is to learn your horse well enough to know when the scary thing is getting nearer, rather than wait until your horses legs are spread out and her eyes rolling. At that point, you have lost. Even if you get the horse to 'go', it becomes such a big emotional event that my horse, at least, has just learned that it is REALLY scary.

When she is startled, she hops sideways and then stares. Those can usually be overcome with a bit of time & talk until she approaches what startled her. But if she genuinely is afraid of something ahead, there are warning signs. Learning those signs, and getting her to go far enough to be uncomfortable but not so far that she squirts liquid poop out the rear is "success".

Success doesn't mean 'make her go past the culvert'. It may mean get her closer to the culvert today than yesterday, and closer still tomorrow. It can mean 'lead her past it on the ground today', followed by lead her up to it tomorrow, and let her stand next to it for 10 minutes after that, and then ride her past it.

I don't think horses are acting scared. When my mare rolls her eyes and squirts poop, it is a real fear to her. Desensitizing is a matter of pushing the envelope, not exceeding it. Push her until she is nervous, but not until she freaks. The first teaches her you are a good leader, the second teaches her you are cruel.
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