Why I Gotta Trot - Page 291 - The Horse Forum
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post #2901 of 2933 Old 05-19-2019, 11:03 AM
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Gotta, you should be proud! He looks wonderful.

@Dragoon , I am always so excited to see you post something. You never fail to have something interesting to say. I think it is great that you are having someone help. Losing confidence is not worth it at all.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2902 of 2933 Old 05-19-2019, 06:03 PM
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Thank you Knave! <3

I love this mare, and am relieved to have the realization that she is "normal".
I thought because she bucked, she was 'broken', and needed to be fixed. I have had a sheltered education with horses, only learning to ride this past 5 years, and on broke school ponies at a small riding place. The uneducated tb mare sure seemed 'wild' three years ago...

I have followed Hero's journey with interest...and Gotta's assessment of him. She is enjoying her horse, and doesn't think he is broken for bucking. Its a means of expressing himself and is a part of his range of behaviours...I have changed my thinking. The mare doesn't need to be fixed so much as I just need to ride better. And prepare her for riding better. And get a better mindset regarding her. I've been sooo sheltered! LOL

She is weak, and not confident balancing herself in the smallish indoor arena. And what I thought was bucking is not really bucking...she more just kicks out her hinds. (Mostly...) In frustration, or just rebalancing. She is improving so much! NOW I can see it. I'm grateful for reading people's journals. Cash bucks, Bones, Bandit and Hero bucks...and y'all don't think your horses are broken. Far from it...
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post #2903 of 2933 Old 05-19-2019, 10:45 PM
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@Dragoon donít think that we never get frustrated or lack confidence either! :) Cash bucking was getting to me because he is such a powerful horse and because I didnít have him broke enough. Now it doesnít bother me so much, and he is getting over it too. If heís just quit falling! Lol

Actually, I didnít at all think he was wrong for bucking, he just doesnít know what he doesnít know and gets frustrated. Much like Hero gets is still learning the ropes. He never meant any harm. It still got to me, but it didnít make me think less of him.

Bones bucking is more irritating to me. I say that only because he does know better, but he has an actual problem. No amount of training will fix what ails him. I guess there are many who do consider him broken, but I assume God made him that way for a reason. Much like a person with a disability, it doesnít mean he lacks value. I need to learn to do better by him. I cannot continue to put him into situations where I know he will fail. It is hard because we are down numbers until Zeus is ready to work.

Bones has a place where he shines and can put a lot of work in. He is great at the ranch and pushing cows, and he loves arena work at home. He is a good teacher for the girls and perfectly safe and actually extremely handy in those environments. Yet, even tonight, it is storming and we looked out the window and he was self-mutilating like crazy. Pete wasnít scolding him for whatever reason, and we had to go outside and call to him for him to come out of that headspace. It was a bit sad.

I assume your mare is much more like Hero and Cash in that she just needs to learn things still. Donít get discouraged at all! I know you will get there. You have accomplished so much in your five years! I am so impressed. :)
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2904 of 2933 Old 05-25-2019, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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I agree with @Knave .
@Dragoon , it's great you're seeing some positive things. There is always a balance between being challenged and being unsafe or stupid. There's also a balance between not giving up on a wonderful animal and being too stubborn or proud to realize when it might be in the animal's best interest to be in a different situation.
If any of you ever figure out how to know those things for sure, let me know!

Paulie possum was waiting for me at the gate tonight, tapping his watch. He already knows his feeding times. He is putting some weight down on his leg, but bends the foot under. After he took the last splint off, I was worried he might be causing more damage pulling on them so I'm seeing how he does without for awhile.

Tuesday there was high wind and high surf on the beach. We took Hero and Nala out in the evening, hoping things might die down. There were several rescues of people trapped by the waves on rocks and such over the past few days, along the coast.
We love the coast guard around here.


We could barely get the horses to go south, with the wind behind us. They were creeping compared to their normal speed. When we turned into the wind, Nala's rider lost her and they galloped away.

Hero was upset, I encouraged him forward but he got stuck and bucked some, and I lost a stirrup, saw the ground looming, but he's large so I managed to rebalance and get my stirrup back. Since I know his movements well now, I didn't get off but rode through. Soon he calmed, and Nala turned back.

We tried doing some circling and other things but both horses were just out of sorts with the wind. Hero simply would not pick up a canter, but only bucked. We did not ride long or far, and went home to try another day.
After the ride, Nala appeared unperturbed.

Of course then the wind died down. My sister and I went for a run, then checked out the sunset.


Today was also supposed to be windy and rainy. Nala's rider trailered us over to a friend's boarding stable that has an indoor and outdoor arena.

There was a lot going on at the barn. Chickens, dogs barking, new horses (one a precocious mini), busy road nearby.
Hero and Nala are the kind of kids who are bad at home but too overwhelmed to be naughty in a new place. That was never the case with my Arabs - the TBs will stand and look around wide-eyed and smell everything and think. The Arabs would stare and snort and their hooves would be tap-dancing all over the place. Good luck getting on.

As I've learned in the past, if you master the great outdoors an arena is far less challenging. A spook that flies 15 feet on the beach makes a 3 foot dart to the side in an arena feel like nothing. Flat footing with unchanging traction makes a horse's gait feel so much smoother. Hero was a little tense in the enclosed space. The only time I'd seen him in an arena was when we went to look at him when Nala's rider wanted to get him for her boyfriend.

Hero had difficulty with wanting to go forward, so it was hard to get him to pick up a canter sometimes. That's because he was insecure about the open doors on both ends of the arena, and all the barn ruckus. However, I was able to notice the vast improvement in his movement and strength, because he was able to go along with nice rhythm, impulsion, making lovely turns and circles. Every canter was picked up easily on the good footing with no bucking. He was able to stay in a nice canter for a time as well, until his mind would get insecure about something.

I truly believe that in order to get balance and straight lines through tighter circles in smaller spaces, the easiest way is to take the horse out to learn balance over tougher terrain and footing first. That's my take after going about it the opposite way in the past, trying to teach the horse in the arena first. It's far easier to teach them to deal with the more intricate things when they already have the strength and balance they need to do it. Taking a green horse to careen around a small arena, trying to not hit the walls and keep him from bulging out on the turns is the more difficult path.
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post #2905 of 2933 Old 05-25-2019, 06:34 AM
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... that sunset!!!

I hate riding in strong wind, and will hide indoors on such occasions.

I can see some good arguments for teaching riders in an arena at their bare beginnings - for instance, it makes it easier to collect the horses when they fall off, and there's guaranteed quick ambulance access, and the instructor can be horseless and just focusing on the rider(s), and if the rider is hopeless then you can adjust the exercises a bit, rather than having a horse on a trail dealing with a dead weight who's holding onto the reins when unbalanced and bouncing all over the place etc.

But, I think for green horses, trails need to be in the mix pretty quickly - and both solo and in company. I prefer to do solo trails first on new horses - and to hand-walk them on those trails as preparation - so that they don't worry about being away from a group, as they're more likely to do if you introduce them to trails with other horses for company first. It's not so easy coming back from that to go out solo - easier if you do solo as your trail foundation, before adding company, at least with the sorts of horses I've worked with. What do you think? What have you found?
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post #2906 of 2933 Old 05-25-2019, 11:36 AM
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Yes, @SueC , Bones loves chasing chickens. The first day I got him he sat down and worked a chicken in his corral, after being petrified of stepping out of the trailer into a world that included chickens. I was smitten when I saw him work the chicken.

Gotta, that sounds like a nice day! I am learning to really appreciate horses who handle new environments so well. I am glad Hero and Nala do. I think Cash eventually will, because although he gets hot now it only lasts for a bit and he settles.

I donít know about the arena vs trail thing. We usually put a couple rides in the round corral and then go outside, but arenas are used a lot too for our young horses. Zeus is the exception, because he has done a lot of things backwards. He has wonderful balance though. Cash has no balance on flat ground, but is just fine if there is something to make him question the ground. If it is sagebrush or slick or steep his balance is good. It is an odd deal.
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2907 of 2933 Old 05-25-2019, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueC View Post
...I hate riding in strong wind, and will hide indoors on such occasions.

I can see some good arguments for teaching riders in an arena at their bare beginnings...
We've had a string of days with wind gusts up to 40 mph. Calmer today. I'm going to put Bandit back into hoof boots, but I'll ride him in our arena because he doesn't always lift his feet high enough to clear the boot and don't want to take a chance we'll end up cantering over rocks on a trail and have him take a fall. Particularly when my wife is out of town and won't notice I haven't returned...

He has more sole and I hoped it would be enough, but he still acts tender on the trails so maybe he just has a softer sole. And needs boots.

I've posted this before. I don't have it in my notes, but I think this is my son's 4th or 5th time on a horse. And two of those rides would have been 3 years earlier, so effectively his 2nd or 3rd time riding. To me, this is the ideal way to introduce riding. Cowboy is far too sane a horse to just explode, and no horse wants to run in an area like this. But just riding a horse at a walk, where the horse is constantly adjusting his balance, teaches a rider balance in a way doing circles around a level arena does not. You learn to trust your horse, to let him move as he needs to, and feel him struggle when you don't move with him.

My advice to my son, in case something did go wrong, was to stick his feet out like on a Harley, hold the horn with one hand and with the other give his horse plenty of slack. Apart from that, just try to balance.

I also liked it at the 1:45 mark when Bandit pauses to check out the wash before entering it. THAT is how a mustang thinks!

Also...Bandit holds his head at a steeper angle. Not because of my reins, but because the cactus makes it smart to keep a close watch on the ground right in front of you!


Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #2908 of 2933 Old 05-25-2019, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueC View Post
I prefer to do solo trails first on new horses - and to hand-walk them on those trails as preparation - so that they don't worry about being away from a group, as they're more likely to do if you introduce them to trails with other horses for company first. It's not so easy coming back from that to go out solo - easier if you do solo as your trail foundation, before adding company, at least with the sorts of horses I've worked with. What do you think? What have you found?
Hmm...well, I've found that walking the horse on the trail alone is good preparation, but if I have the chance to pony the horse that is helpful too.

Whether taking the horse out solo makes it easier for them to go out solo later might depend on the horse.
Amore started out solo most of the time because I didn't have anyone to go out with. She was always hard to ride out alone, but once I was able to take her out with other horses everything was easier, because she did better in an environment she'd already been through in a calm state, which she could achieve best with another horse along.

When Halla was green it was difficult with other horses, because she was competitive. It was also difficult in a new place alone, because she was spooky and jumpy. But even though I started her by taking her out only with other horses, she was always good at going out alone, once she'd been in the environment several times. She had enough motivation to go forward on her own, without incentive or other horses. And once she knew a place, she would be pretty brave about it too.

Hero so far has different challenges out alone or with others. Such as when he's with Nala, he often spooks if she does or gets upset if she gets too far away. Alone he can be more settled, and can go out well. But he can be reluctant too sometimes, without the motivation of another horse heading out in front. And if he does get scared, he sometimes gets more frightened since there is no other horse there.

In general, I prefer to take a green horse out with other experienced horses at first. It's helpful to have another horse as backup to show "this is how we go," "this is how we stop," and "it's really not that scary out here." If I haven't spent time drilling stop and go for many sessions in an arena, I really don't know if a horse will slow or stop out in a scary place alone. So having that other horse as backup is really nice.

I do think it is easier to teach a beginner rider the very basics in an enclosed area, but if you have the right horse, getting out on the trails early is very helpful for learning balance, as @bsms said.

@Knave , it also probably depends on what you're teaching the horse, since some tools you need for working probably can't be taught as well outside.
I'm thinking of trying to motivate a horse to move forward and out, and to balance, remembering how difficult that has been with green horses in an enclosed space. Getting an unbalanced or unfit horse to pick up a canter and hold it around a small circle can be very difficult, and it can seem a lot less positive to the horse when you're trying to give them a reward but it is hard for them and turns into a drill. Versus out in the open with other horses, when you want to do the first canter and the other horses pick it up in front of you, and then your horse just naturally follows. I find this easier to teach outside.

Also I was remembering working with Amore in the arena, and trying to keep her moving forward through small circles or serpentines, versus trying for the first time on Hero after he's already done much harder things outside. If he can snake down a narrow trail avoiding trees, it's super easy for him to do round circles or serpentines in the arena. I feel it's easier to get better at the basics of balance, steering and the "throughness" of moving from the hindquarters forward through the nose when the horse has the challenge and motivation of outdoor terrain.
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post #2909 of 2933 Old 05-25-2019, 08:12 PM
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I like the combination Gotta. I have the advantage here, because a lot of things are easier taught working a cow. Lol. If a horse has any natural cow at all, he will be drawn to the idea of work. My grandpa said you can teach a horse anything if he is cowy, and he had no tolerance for a horse who wasnít.

So, taking Cash straight to work made a lot of things simple to teach. If you remember I think I had a week. Bones too, as I had him outside working on his second ride home, probably around his seventh ride ever. It sure makes those first rides intimidating, but it has been what had to happen for both of those horses.

I think it is easier to teach a horse to lope out and cover country outside. This is what Zeus has lacked, and I can feel his inability to just move out. I donít know if he is scared of his balance or he thinks he is not supposed to. Hopefully this summer he will get back on track.

@SueC , I agree it is better to ride alone in the beginning. I think it makes horses less likely to depend on another horse. However, I think lonely is something some horses just are. Bones is terrible bad in the mountains, although I have ridden him hundreds of miles alone. He is actually dangerously lonely when he is uncomfortable. There is a ranch horse who is lonely too. Heís done it all, and he isnít as terrible as Bones because he maintains a thought process, but he still is very lonely and not a joy to ride alone. He is a super cool horse too, talented and athletic and hard working. Heís won a lot in a show pen and you can do anything on him.

One of the ranch horses where we used to work was also bad for lonely. He was a good horse too. So, I almost donít know if it is as helpful as we like to believe...
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2910 of 2933 Old 05-30-2019, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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There seems to be a horse forum get together for dogs in heaven right now. Must be a great big party. Too bad we're all missing it.
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