Where are my feet?!

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Where are my feet?!

This is a discussion on Where are my feet?! within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        07-21-2010, 01:50 AM
    Where are my feet?!

    I'm just starting to take my 4 year old gelding, Michael, out on trails. This is all I am planning to use him for (because of an old injury, I don't like to push him past a walk very often, and he seems to really love getting out on the trail). I probably have about 10-15 hours on him out on the trail so far. Definitely still in the "desensetizing and getting adjusted" phase.
    Here and there on the trail, it feels like he gets a bit ahead of himself, like he isn't really paying attention to where his feet are going. Almost as if he gets going a little more forward with his body than his brain can keep up with. Of course it is when he does this that he seems more prone to tripping and/or slipping. When this isn't happening, he is very sure-footed, relaxed, and smart about what he's doing. Do you have any suggestions as to how to get him focused back on his feet when he starts to get ahead of himself?
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        07-21-2010, 01:55 AM
    My girl does this sometimes, and the biggest thing that I do is not direct her around things. I mean, I keep her close to the trail, but if she wants to walk though sagebrush, trip on rocks and step in holes I let her. She usually learns quickly that the trail is the best place for her and that it's easier to walk around things, although she doesn't always remember. ;)
        07-21-2010, 02:01 AM
    I would say its kind of like when your driving, and your thinking about a lot of other things, and you pass your exit, or just realize you don't remember driving the last few miles. He probable just letting his mind wonder, to keep his mind on what he's doing mix things up a bit. Back him, tack him off the trail and do a little bush whacking, turn around and go back then come back again, make stupid noises (you would be surprised how many horses this catches off guard, and goes to show they really aren't paying attention. I break of branches on the trail, it keep my horse looking around and clears head room the next time I go riding. Good Luck...
        07-21-2010, 02:08 AM
    ^^ I've never even thought of that! lol
        07-21-2010, 02:15 AM
    Great suggestions! Thank you both!
        07-21-2010, 06:46 AM
    Good advise from Yukontanya and AQHA13 except for this part:
    ...step in holes I let her
    . That is a good way for a horse to break a leg or for you to have a wreck.

    I had a great trail horse that loved to take in all the sights. If you let him have his lead, he would actually bump into trees. Usually it's caused by boredom or curiosity. What I used to do was to jiggle the reins to get his mind back on the trail.
        07-21-2010, 08:04 AM
    When returning from a trail ride I was dreaming and my horse for that day was also dreaming.
    I had a loose rein, she was sleeping and walking in same time, I was admiring the sky, thoe horse was admiring the clouds and shuffling her feet...
    And then she fell on her knees
    I felt so bad. And my trail guide said to me
    "Well if you sleep and she sleeps, who's going to do the walkin? Want me to carry both of you guys perhaps"

    I felt quite bad about my musing and I try to shake my legs, hum a song, shake reins, pat the horse;s neck, anything to keep their mind on the track.
        07-21-2010, 11:32 AM
    Green Broke
    When my horses are not paying attention on the trail, I will usually make them weave back and forth on the trail for a minute....about 15 -20 feet at a time, it's a minor, leg or hand twitch of a fix that doesn't interrupt the ride and gets their mind back on paying attention.
        07-21-2010, 12:27 PM
    Thanks! I guess the part that is nerve wracking is that his feet seem to get going faster than he can handle while he's excited and taking in the sights on less-than-ideal terrain. I don't want to micro-manage him and completely discourage the forward movement, but I don't want intertia to send me flying if he trips, either! :)

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