First time using outdoor arena on my property - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 49 Old 04-06-2016, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Joel Reiter View Post
I think you had a great first ride. It sounds like you have a good horse. I'm remembering now how terrified I was in the early days when a car came up while I was riding my big guy on the road. Since I live on a busy state highway, one of the resolutions to that issue was to move winter feeding out to the end of our driveway. Twice a day the horses are standing out there for hours watching a continuous parade of tractor trailers, motorcycles, emergency vehicles, boats or snowmobiles on trailers covered with flapping tarps, and more. Now if they are lying down when sheriff's car goes by at 90 mph running lights and siren, they don't even get up. it's been a many years since my big guy reacted to car when I'm on the road. I realize that isn't practical for everyone. Anyway, he will be less excited after the trip becomes routine. Meanwhile, positive mental imaging can enable you to fool your horse into believing you aren't scared.

One other tip on the whole car thing -- what is the worst that could happen? What did you previous horse do to inspire such terror? The one thing that helps me remain calm and confident now is I know my big guy will respond to a one-rein stop RIGHT NOW. No matter what spooks him, (and he will always be a little spooky, you can't desensitize a horse to everything) I know I only have to stay on for 10-20' of excitement and he'll calm down. Even I can stay on for 20'.

As far as rushing home, I don't like the idea of trying to ride past the driveway. One of my first rules of horse safety is never start a fight with your horse that you aren't sure you can win. Here are two suggestions that will solve the problem without the drama. First, when you get back to the barn, instead of taking off the tack, do some work right by the barn. Some trotting in circles, backing, leg yields, etc. or if you've had your fill of excitement, lunge him for 5-10 minutes.

Second, when you've finished with all that, tie him to a tree and let him stand there for an hour or two. It's very good practice for him anyway, and it's the perfect time to do it. The idea is to take some of the attraction out of getting home.

Good luck. I think repetition will solve most of your concerns.
LOTS of great suggestions here.

a) we will soon be moving Harley to our house where he will be in a paddock adjacent to the road. Same road I ride on. Currently, is is in a field a the end of a long laneway so no exposure to traffic. I do think he's ok with cars as I've never sensed him flinch before, but I am nervous about things like logging trucks.

b) the horse I had as a teen was absolutely terrified of cars. It didn't deter me much, but I was young and stupid back then! Once, we met a large dump truck that was going really fast going downhill and my horse freaked. He dove into the ditch head first (steep ditch, at least 6 ft down), losing a shoe in the process as he spun around. I stayed on somehow, but when I think if what would have happened if he had going into the road instead, I shudder. Also, I was involved in a 15 car pileup a few years ago and since then, have a lot of anxiety about driving in bad conditions. I still do it because I have to and because I won't let it limit me, but that accident scare me badly. Not because of any severe injuries (I was fine), but because I had absolutely no control over the situation as I watched helplessly as cars slammed into cars over and over again (someone even slammed into the ambulance). I think my fear has as much to do with the cars themselves as they do with the horse. I do want my horse to be ok around cars, but don't expect him to be completely non-reactive to a huge logging truck flying down the hill. I don't even like walking on the road because of those trucks. So I would not want to ride him on the road a lot and will be choosing alternate roots whenever possible.

c) will try working him when we get back to the barn and tying him to a tree until he settles down. Thanks for the great suggestions!
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post #32 of 49 Old 04-06-2016, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
lOts of good advise, and kudos to you, on that first ride out of your comfort zone
You have two things going on at the same time, far as making your horse somewhat anxious, and the fact that you handled it pretty well, is an accomplishment!
You worked him in an unfamiliar place, and then rode him where he wanted to go, taking him back to where he lives
Far as traffic, esp as Harley sound like he is used to it, only having fed off of your tenseness on the way back, there is a way to ride a horse past traffic, so that the only place he can go, is into the ditch, versus out onto the road, should he spook.
If you ask for his poll, take light contact, use legs to keep forward,and also use outside leg (next to road ) to bend ribs towards ditch, and then flex his neck so that his head is towards the road, thus shoulders towards the ditch, only place he can go, is into ditch.
Yes, vary up the routine, including riding past laneway (staying safe), tie him up when he gets back, etc.
Far as streams, cricks , ect, I don't allow my horse to get in the habit of jumping them There are several reasons for this, one being I really don't wish to ride across country course, and at times we have ground on the other side not safe to launch into, like boggy ground
You can feel when a horse is thinking about jumping. I will then really take ahold of them, making them give me their face and poll, while telling them to 'walk;, asking for one step at a time, getting down into that water, then give them aloose rein. They can't try to jump that way
I really appreciate the encouraging words Smilie. Thanks! I suspect a more seasoned horse person would have no problem getting Harley to settle right down. My coach keeps telling me Harley doesn't need more training - I do. She's right of course. Will try to encourage Harley to walk over the water and bend towards the ditch.
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post #33 of 49 Old 04-06-2016, 10:08 AM
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Not sure if I missed it in anybody else's post, but I would try most valiantly to make sure your guy is really tired before you head home. If you can manage to canter at your property a few times...in a safe place....maybe he'll be less likely to want to be speedy on the way home.
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post #34 of 49 Old 04-06-2016, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kay Armstrong View Post
Not sure if I missed it in anybody else's post, but I would try most valiantly to make sure your guy is really tired before you head home. If you can manage to canter at your property a few times...in a safe place....maybe he'll be less likely to want to be speedy on the way home.
Will try to get him more tired Kay. Though he doesn't tire very easily so that may be a challenge! And my trainer said to always make sure we stop before he gets anxious/upset. She suggested I ride him until he settles down and becomes quiet, then take him home. But that was for the first ride - I plan on gradually make the sessions longer.
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post #35 of 49 Old 04-06-2016, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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I had an hour to spare today which is not long enough to take Harley to my house, but I wanted to do somehing. It was also windy so I figured I'd go brush Harley outside and walk around a bit with him. He's soooo dirty! It went well - after a long brushing session tied to a tree, I took him out to where the laneway goes out into a big field and let him graze, then walked him a bit away from the barn, walking back and forth past the entrance to the barnyard. Once or twice he got worked up and tried to push into me but I vigorously pushed him back and gave him a little slap with the lead rope. At one point we got past the barn and he could see his paddock buddies in the field. He was quite interested in that, but after letting him have a good look, I led him a little further just to get his attention back on me and let him graze some more. It isn't much, but my goal was to take him outside his comfort zone and make it appealing to him. It's all I could realistically accomplish in an hour. Here are some pictures. He can be a real ham for the camera. Sometimes I can almost hear him say "ok, enough pictures mom!" And yes, that's snow and ice in the background.
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post #36 of 49 Old 04-06-2016, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry about the sideways pic... I don't know how to fix it.
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post #37 of 49 Old 04-06-2016, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Trying again.
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post #38 of 49 Old 04-07-2016, 05:04 PM
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Anytime the wind is blowing to where it stands the shorter hair up or blows the mane to the other side, it's too windy to ride, unless the horse is rock-solid and/ or the rider is too.

I would have ridden Duke and Streeter into a tornado. My two remaining horses have way more "wind spook" to them than Duke & Streeter ever thought about.

Streeter was my Arab and loved to have his picture taken. Not so much my Walking horses, lol

Harley is as handsome as ever
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A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #39 of 49 Old 04-07-2016, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
Anytime the wind is blowing to where it stands the shorter hair up or blows the mane to the other side, it's too windy to ride, unless the horse is rock-solid and/ or the rider is too.

I would have ridden Duke and Streeter into a tornado. My two remaining horses have way more "wind spook" to them than Duke & Streeter ever thought about.

Streeter was my Arab and loved to have his picture taken. Not so much my Walking horses, lol

Harley is as handsome as ever
Harley says thanks!

And that's a good rule of thumb to keep in mind. It's even windier today - like signs being blown over on the street windy. So no riding. But yesterday I thought it would be a good day to just take him outside, let him feel the wind and get him away from the barn a bit. I might not ride him in high wind, but I like him to be exposed to it. Of course he's probably standing in the middle of his pasture with his butt to the wind and a handful of hay in his mouth as I type this.

One thing I have learned is that I can ride Harley in the indoor arena in the middle of a hurricane. He doesn't care one bit. The BO was surprised that I rode him in there one windy night because her horse is really spooked by the howling wind threatening to lift the steel roof. But Harley didn't even pay attention to it. So he might be ok in wind on a trail ride, I just don't know yet.
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post #40 of 49 Old 04-11-2016, 08:09 AM
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I think it's pretty amazing he's fine in the indoor w/ gale winds. Every horse I've ridden except one has been pretty jumpy in that situation.
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