Obstacle course / Trail courses - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
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post #41 of 48 Old 12-03-2019, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rambo99 View Post
@Animalia , ok if it makes you feel better I've done some pretty dumb things,to my horse.

I've posted about several of them,I'm not well liked by some posters. I've not always been thoughtful of my horses well being,like riding him when he's not completely sound.

I have taken offense to post on my own threads. But after really giving it a lot of thought I realized, I need to do better for my horse.

You obviously really love your leased horse, it shows in every single post. I can't say that for my post about my own horse..

I have really enjoyed reading about your adventures working with your horse. So keep posting everyone here wants to help.

If in doubt about something posted ask, to get it clarified on what was meant.

Just wanted to sincerely thank you for sharing this. It's not easy to admit this stuff, most of all to ourselves, but also in public. Sounds like you've done some healing and growing and I really admire that! I think we are all guilty of sometimes not doing things in our horses' best interests. When I was younger--teens and 20's and maybe even early 30's--I was a much more callous horseperson. If the horse was limping, I would ride, but not canter. But I might go out for over an hour trail ride! I would never do that today. I'm a lot softer and more understanding now. I'm not proud of some stuff I've done either. But the important thing, I think, is that we learn and get better. :) Thanks for the support!
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post #42 of 48 Old 12-03-2019, 12:17 PM
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Mod Note

Could we maybe get this thread back to the OP's question about Obstacle and Trail Courses please.

Its got rather sidetracked!

Maybe someone would like to start a thread about licking and chewing or any of the other things mentioned so they can get some discussion of their own?


Thank you

Jaydee

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #43 of 48 Old 12-03-2019, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the props, both of you! And Horsef, I don't find having your riding instructor there sometimes to be silly at all! My husband has actually offered to "hand hold" me the next couple of rides--maybe even walking alongside me if I need it, or leading the horse, until we are both more relaxed and less fearful of each other. LOL He's NOT a horse person, but he's very kind and sensitive and animals and people adore him, so he's good at this stuff. :) I'm not going to be embarrassed about this--it's worth it to me to build good feelings in the saddle again. And part of the reason I love riding so much now is that is really helps my pain and loosens up the stiff muscles and joints, particularly my hips. I don't need to be controlling the horse myself to get the benefit--as long as I'm in the saddle. So, pony rides here I come. LOL Thanks again!
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post #44 of 48 Old 12-03-2019, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Animalia View Post
Thanks for the props, both of you! And Horsef, I don't find having your riding instructor there sometimes to be silly at all! My husband has actually offered to "hand hold" me the next couple of rides--maybe even walking alongside me if I need it, or leading the horse, until we are both more relaxed and less fearful of each other. LOL He's NOT a horse person, but he's very kind and sensitive and animals and people adore him, so he's good at this stuff. :) I'm not going to be embarrassed about this--it's worth it to me to build good feelings in the saddle again. And part of the reason I love riding so much now is that is really helps my pain and loosens up the stiff muscles and joints, particularly my hips. I don't need to be controlling the horse myself to get the benefit--as long as I'm in the saddle. So, pony rides here I come. LOL Thanks again!
Could also make a little trail course and have husband lead you through on horse. Could also do some in hand trail course with your mare.

Great idea on having husband help you, nothing wrong having him lead horse. Then you can relax and get you confidence back. Keep us posted on how it goes!

Out riding my horse.
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post #45 of 48 Old 12-03-2019, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Animalia View Post
My husband has actually offered to "hand hold" me the next couple of rides--maybe even walking alongside me if I need it, or leading the horse, until we are both more relaxed and less fearful of each other. LOL He's NOT a horse person, but he's very kind and sensitive and animals and people adore him, so he's good at this stuff. :)
This picture is the very first time I rode my horse after moving her home from a boarding barn in July 2018- I had ridden her a hundred solo trail miles before bringing her home, and yet I was still gripped with fear riding her that first lap around the pasture at home. My lovely husband is exactly the same way you described your husband and he walked alongside us for that first ride.


Fear is a weird thing. I've ridden several hundred miles with this horse since I've brought her home, and while I've had dips in confidence and challenges- even plenty of moments wondering if she was the right horse- we've just finished a fabulous riding season and I'm so glad I kept going with her, even in the tough moments.

A clinic we did last spring, which included a lot of "confidence building" obstacles, was definitely a key turning point for us, primarily because it built my confidence in my ability to work with my horse. These are some of the obstacles in the clinic:
(Just to clarify, we are not in this video- this is the clinician working with a young horse she had for a Mustang Makeover competition. But she uses these obstacles when she's teaching too)

We practiced them all in hand first, and then rotated through them under saddle too. The in-hand time was key though.

Edited: Found a couple of pictures of us doing obstacles at the clinic. Here's the streamers:


And one of the pedestals:
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post #46 of 48 Old 12-03-2019, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egrogan View Post
This picture is the very first time I rode my horse after moving her home from a boarding barn in July 2018- I had ridden her a hundred solo trail miles before bringing her home, and yet I was still gripped with fear riding her that first lap around the pasture at home. My lovely husband is exactly the same way you described your husband and he walked alongside us for that first ride.


Fear is a weird thing. I've ridden several hundred miles with this horse since I've brought her home, and while I've had dips in confidence and challenges- even plenty of moments wondering if she was the right horse- we've just finished a fabulous riding season and I'm so glad I kept going with her, even in the tough moments.

A clinic we did last spring, which included a lot of "confidence building" obstacles, was definitely a key turning point for us, primarily because it built my confidence in my ability to work with my horse. These are some of the obstacles in the clinic:
https://youtu.be/8yl3XDmJOtc
(Just to clarify, we are not in this video- this is the clinician working with a young horse she had for a Mustang Makeover competition. But she uses these obstacles when she's teaching too)

We practiced them all in hand first, and then rotated through them under saddle too. The in-hand time was key though.

Edited: Found a couple of pictures of us doing obstacles at the clinic. Here's the streamers:


And one of the pedestals:

Cool! Was last Spring the first time you did obstacles with her? How long did it take for her to get used to streamers and things being dragged behind her? My horse seems to not mind walking on and over stuff, but waving things around at her or making scary noises (like velcro jacket pockets, noisy nylon jackets, etc) are somehow terrifying to her. LOL How long had you had and worked with/ridden your horse before you started obstacles? My horse's owner says that she is very brave--once she trusts her rider. Then she will go anywhere, even if it's something she hasn't seen before. I guess a lot of horses are like that. Are you planning to try any competitions?
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post #47 of 48 Old 12-03-2019, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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I'm going to go start a journal about my horse tails to chart my progress. I am hoping to look back on these early posts a year from now and laugh at myself and marvel at how well things have actually gone. LOL
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post #48 of 48 Old 12-03-2019, 06:55 PM
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I'll preface all of this by saying I'm not a horse trainer- just fortunate to have a fairly forgiving horse to work with while I improve my own riding (I'm an adult "re-rider" that got back into horses in my early 30s, dabbling in some basic dressage lessons and a lot of trail riding).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Animalia View Post
Cool! Was last Spring the first time you did obstacles with her?
We had done some work with poles in the course of dressage lessons, but nothing with pedestals, objects, etc.

Quote:
How long did it take for her to get used to streamers and things being dragged behind her?
She had never seen any of those things before the clinic weekend. I think this was day 2 or 3 of the clinic. I think it's important to note though, what they stressed in the clinic (and I've heard from a lot of people here over the years too), is that it's not really about the "thing" you're asking the horse to do- the "thing" is just a way to check-in on how well the horse is listening and working with you. If you have a horse that willingly goes forward or sideways when you ask, the "thing" you add to the scenario shouldn't really matter much. Not to say they won't be curious or worried or startled the first time you try something like that, but if they have already demonstrated that they're working with you through more basic leading or ridden activities, then adding in the thing goes pretty smoothly. With the streamers for example, I think I walked it through her once from the ground while we were waiting our turn for another activity, and since she was forward-thinking and leading well she didn't even look at it. When we started riding through it, the instructor recommended taking it in steps- first time we went through, all the streamers were pulled fully back and we just walked through the opening; next circle, they let out the layer of streamers farthest from the middle; next circle, let out the next layer; last circle, we rode through the full curtain. She didn't hesitate at all even though she had never done something like that before.

Quote:
My horse seems to not mind walking on and over stuff, but waving things around at her or making scary noises (like velcro jacket pockets, noisy nylon jackets, etc) are somehow terrifying to her. LOL
I think that just means breaking things down into small steps and rewarding what you want (if you want to use the positive reinforcement/treat approach- I know not everyone works with their horse that way, I personally am a fan of food rewards but that doesn't work for everyone or every horse). My horse is terrified of cows- she can see them from 1/2 mile away and plant her feet and not want to move. So, we've been working on that in baby steps from the ground. It's slow going, and someone else probably would have gotten her over it by now, but we've been improving all summer to the point that we can now ride past them on the opposite side of the road. At the beginning of teh summer I couldn't get her to approach them at all. I truly believe she was scared, so we focused on doing things that got her mentally "unstuck" and helped us make progress.

Quote:
How long had you had and worked with/ridden your horse before you started obstacles? My horse's owner says that she is very brave--once she trusts her rider. Then she will go anywhere, even if it's something she hasn't seen before. I guess a lot of horses are like that.
I got her in Nov 2017. She was boarded until July 2018, and then she came home. This clinic was in March 2019 (I think? Maybe April?) Between Nov 2018 and the clinic, I barely rode her because we don't have an indoor, and winters in Vermont are challenging for riding outside. I was at a real low point last spring trying to get her going again, since my only options at the time were riding solo on the dirt roads around our house. She was very barn sour and very on-edge when I was trying to get back into riding in the spring. I didn't feel equipped to deal with that and nothing I was trying seemed to be working. The clinic helped a lot because it re-upped my confidence that I did in fact know how to handle this horse, and helped me think about what was in it for her- what could I do with her that would make her want to work with me as a real team? Getting some basic, simple strategies for defusing nervous behavior went a long way for me.

Quote:
Are you planning to try any competitions?
Unfortunately I don't have a trailer right now, so I'm a bit limited by going to competitions that are within riding distance (there is a great equestrian venue ~10 miles down the road, and we've done some distance riding there this summer), or where I can catch a ride. We also had a pretty serious trailer loading problem last summer into the spring, so I was pretty hesitant to catch a ride and then cause a scene with a horse that wouldn't load to come home. What I learned here, as well as from a trainer we worked with, is that a loading problem is related to the same leading issues and willingness to work together that I was describing above. By the end of the summer, I got her loading really well (as long as I wasn't nervous about it- that definitely made her refuse ). She is still nervous during the trailer ride, but we're working on it so we can go to more activities next year.


Sorry this turned into a novel; your questions really got me thinking about the past year with my horse. Thanks for that! I will look for your journal to follow along.
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