What Should I Do? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 03-27-2010, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
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What Should I Do?

I haven't rode my mare all winter, besides once-a-week riding lessons in an arena, and now that the snow's gone (in March! Awesome, right?) I'm starting to get back into riding her. Last summer I'm totally guilty of not doing a whole lot with her, but my confidence has improved millions and our first ride around the yard today was AWESOME. I've already got quite a few big trail rides planned for this spring, but I'd really like to be able to take her out around our place. We're surrounded on 4 sides by wide-open potato fields (there's a forest about a half-mile to the west of our house) and I'm a little apprehensive about taking her out alone. My mare likes to go, and I'm not sure I'd be able to keep her under control in all that flat, open space that would just be inviting her to run her little heart out. The only other one of our horses that's rideable is a tiny 30-year-old Welsh pony, and though he might be a calming influence, I've got no one else to ride him and there's no way he could keep up with my spry little paint. Tango's been on many trail rides with her previous owner, so I don't think she'd spook too much-it would mostly be she's so eager to go that she won't listen and would look for the tiniest excuse to take off with me. There's also no one with riding horses that lives close enough to trail together.

Basically, my question is: what would you do in this situation? Should I go out anyways? It seems there's not a whole lot else I can do..
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post #2 of 19 Old 03-27-2010, 11:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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well i would say get one of your friends and get them on a four-wheeler or something and take them with you.... IMPORTANT! the one rein stop. the most useful tool for you (and your horse) to know and understand. if your horse in the unfortunate event does run away with you hang on to ur saddle and pull ur horses head around to ur foot....dont jerk!!!! pull easily untill she slows down.

to answer your question. no i wouldnt go out alone unless you get that issue worked out. the fields may have holes that could break your horses leg in them so be sure to walk on them untill you know the ground well enough.
there are also some excersizes u can do to help her with that issue. ok...... wen ur riding if she goes faster than u want her to, pull her around and stop her then start agian.im saying if your trotting and she starts trotting faster stop her. ANY change in gait! my grama trains horses and i have a barrel horse that does the same exact thing so dont think im telling u crap i read from a book :) it works

if you have any questions about anything just send me a private message

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post #3 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 12:28 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern Utah
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I have been riding my horses alone alot lately. A couple of the horse lack some confidence and are herd sour. By taking them out alone. The learn to trust me, They learn to progress down the trail with out the horses being around.

Yes the first few rides, they are looking at every rock, shadow stick as a troll who is going to eat them, But in time they get over it. My goal this year is to have the timid horses that my daughters ride, being very brave. Being able to be the first horse to cross the stream, the mud puddle, the bog etc. And rides alone are one of the best ways to teach this confidence.

Don't be afraid to go out alone. But do be prepared. Make sure you can control your horse and go have fun.
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post #4 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 12:49 AM
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Perhaps you can get her ready by handwalking her through these areas a little first? Another idea, if it's practical for you -- start doing smaller laps around your property instead of just heading straight out, lengthening the size/length of these laps with each ride. That way the newness for her will have worn off a bit, it'll be more routine and she may not be so prone to totally spazzing out with joy.

Also do you longe? If so, I would put her through her paces on the longe line a good 15-20 or so minutes before heading out, not to tire her but let her burn off some of that extra feel-good energy that has accumulated through a long restful winter. :)
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post #5 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Painted Horse View Post
Don't be afraid to go out alone. But do be prepared. Make sure you can control your horse and go have fun.
I love to ride alone. I don't have to please anyone but myself. I always start young babies alone out in the open.
If you are riding is a snaffle add a running martingale for far more control or get a curb bit. a tom thumb and good curb chain. Ride with soft hands but if the mare suddenly takes off haul her back harshly.
DON"T CANTER EVER.. Just nice easy jogs. Teach the horse that getting out isn't an excuse to run. NEVER let your horse run flat out, ever.
Spend alot of time just jogging, building up your confidence , your horse's stamina and quiet way of going.
Walking is too slow, too boring but a nice working trot works both you and the horse and keeps her from getting bored and keeps her from getting hot headed.
Go out and just ride
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post #6 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by RiosDad View Post
DON"T CANTER EVER.. Just nice easy jogs. Teach the horse that getting out isn't an excuse to run. NEVER let your horse run flat out, ever.
Spend alot of time just jogging, building up your confidence , your horse's stamina and quiet way of going.
Walking is too slow, too boring but a nice working trot works both you and the horse and keeps her from getting bored and keeps her from getting hot headed.
Go out and just ride
Exactly. I know many (young) people that love to 'let their horse loose' into that flat out run....and then don't understand why every ride through a field becomes a 'hang on for life' ride.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #7 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Ok, I'll do my best to respond...

Ponies4Paige: Thanks for the one-rein stop tip...I've heard about it, but never actually used it (when it would have come in handy many times).

Painted Horse, RiosDad & PaintHorseMares: There's no way I'd EVER go out without having total control over her first. If I ride her just around our sheltered farm it might show her some things that she'd encounter, and of course, it would be a good, safe place to learn. Definitely won't be letting her run anywhere out there for a long long time (thanks for that tip!)

Cheshire: Yeah, I walk her most places that I plan to ride later...very rarely will I send her into an unknown environment without seeing her reaction on the ground first (well, at least not near home). I don't usually lunge, and it's been a while since we last have, but if she's eager to go and I'm thinking of heading out, I'll definitely consider it.
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post #8 of 19 Old 03-30-2010, 09:26 AM
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I am in a similar situation in that I don't have anyone around me to ride with, so Spike and I always ride alone around home. Also, there are very few trails, so we are on the dirt roads alot. Spike can be tricky by seeming to be very sedate and lazy on the way out, then suddenly become a firecracker when his nose points toward home! I attribute this to 'spring fever', because it only happens this time of year when the weather turns nice, lol!
Anyway, if he is in such a mood, I find that distracting him works well. If I just try to keep him walking when he is so pent up, I find he gets frustrated and angry, and will tend to want to bolt. So I let him move, but under my terms. Lots of changes in direction, big zig zags and diagonals, that sort of thing. We have a shallow ditch along the shoulder of the road, about 4 inches of water in it. Last year we trotted all the way home in that, splashing all the way. But it kept his mind off running!
The warm weather is just getting here where I live, so I know my 'spring ride from hell' is fast approaching... then I will have my nice horsey back again, lol.
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post #9 of 19 Old 03-30-2010, 10:02 AM
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Location: SE Kansas
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I do feel sorry for you folks who live in areas where its hard to ride in the winter. I've had to go 4 months once without riding but that was an injury.
When I did get back on I started out doing some bending exercises (both of us ) from the saddle. Just very basic yielding stuff, and giving to the bit. I think it gets the horses mind back to what is expected.
Try doing that before you take off cross country. Have confidence in yourself and bring a cell phone. Always make sure someone knows where and when you are going and when you expect to be back. Think safety first and then just ride

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #10 of 19 Old 03-30-2010, 11:22 AM
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What's wrong with letting her run her heart out? If your potato fields are anything like the ones I have been around you won't make it all the way across before she is ready to stop. If I'm on a horse that wants to run I might let it and then push it past where it wants to run untill stopping is the horses idea. Don't worry about a ORS just let it happen and then keep the horse running untill it can't run anymore.

You also shouldn't ride expecting a problem. You can think about the problems and plan ahead but if you expect your horse to misbehave then you will not be disappointed.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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