from ground work to riding - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 24 Old 10-27-2015, 07:42 AM
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I 'think' I can tell you exactly what the problem is: You do not ride forward assertively enough to give her the confidence she needs. You are looking for the booger -- for her. If you hunt for them, she will find them. You are looking at the trail and looking down at her instead of looking at a spot a mile ahead and riding for it like someone's life depended on it. You make a good trail horse by riding 'harder and faster' and riding like you have a purpose and have to be somewhere. You literally ride like someone's life depends on you getting there as quickly as possible.

As for ground-work: it is of no value what-so-ever for riding confidently forward -- alone. We have a trail string. We have four or five horses that carry small children and NEVER spook at anything -- but they are basket cases if they were to be in the lead -- even with other horses behind them. They are literally two different horses; One kind of horse following and a spooky nut-case the 'sneaks' down the trail, looking for any booger if they are in the lead or are alone. Following you around on the ground is no different than following another horse. Many horses do just not relate this to being ridden which puts them in front with no one to follow. This is why we never train new or young trail horses by going out with older steady horses. This is why we never let horses stop ad look at things and check thing out. We ALWAYS ride young and green horses like we have to get somewhere.

As for walking confidently and faster toward the barn? This is 100% normal. To do anything differently would be strange. Your horse knows that safety and the herd are back at the barn. Our confidence teaches them that they are just as safe with us.

I truly believe that almost any horse you are riding out alone would rather be somewhere else. They do what we want and go where we want them to go because they are well-trained enough to be obedient and we do not let them be or go anywhere else. We 'habituate' them to their job and if we do it right, they do not resent it and are comfortable with it ---- but, if we gave them a choice, most of them would still chose to be home with their herd. They are 'hard-wired' to be herd animals. They are also 'hard-wired' to be 'flight animals'. Their safety and well-being is completely tied in to being with their herd and being 'home' in a familiar place. We can habituate MOST of them to accepting what we do with them, where we want to ride then and where we want to keep them. Some are not that easy and are neurotic when they are not with their herd or in a familiar place they are happy with. Some take more work to turn into good trail horses, but this horse is behaving perfectly normal for a horse that is not being ridden assertively enough to really have confidence in the leadership provided by its rider.

Read the 'sticky' post on training trail horses. We have trained confident, obedient trail horses for over 50 years. [Yes! we're that danged old.] Everything is pretty well covered in that thread.

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post #22 of 24 Old 10-27-2015, 08:00 AM
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Sounds like she's at that stage in her training where the only thing that will help is lots of riding experiences. Miles and miles, months and months. Sorry, but there's no shortcut around this one.
Like any athlete, once you read the books and understand the rules, it's time to just get out there and do it. It will get uglier before it gets better (for both of you) but you are just now of the cusp of one of the most rewarding phases of horsemanship!
It's ok to be a bit fearful, not know exactly what you're doing (she doesn't either), so do it, learn, adjust it and do it again the next time.
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post #23 of 24 Old 10-27-2015, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Boo Walker and Cherie!!! This is great advice!!! It's nice to know this is normal. I'm going to be more assertive! Ride with a mission, I'm excited to get past this because I know the reward is going to huge for both of us! Thanks guys ;)
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post #24 of 24 Old 10-27-2015, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boo Walker View Post
Sounds like she's at that stage in her training where the only thing that will help is lots of riding experiences. Miles and miles, months and months. Sorry, but there's no shortcut around this one.
Like any athlete, once you read the books and understand the rules, it's time to just get out there and do it. It will get uglier before it gets better (for both of you) but you are just now of the cusp of one of the most rewarding phases of horsemanship!
It's ok to be a bit fearful, not know exactly what you're doing (she doesn't either), so do it, learn, adjust it and do it again the next time.
Your reply makes me feel great! Thank you for your advice, we are definitely going to move forward. IT'S TIME FOR US TO MOVE TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH OUR HORSE RIDER RELATIONSHIP! ;)
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