Horse looks around a bunch on trails - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Smile Horse looks around a bunch on trails


This is my first post! I recently got a spotted saddle horse in the beginning of May and he has been awesome! I've noticed recently he has been looking around, up and down/ left and right on the trails while riding. This started when we started riding out on trails from the barn and we go out about 2-5 miles.

Should I correct this? If so how? He does veer to the opposite side he is looking so it does slightly disrupt riding. If it didn't, I probably would care so much.

Thanks for any input!


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post #2 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 05:48 AM
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Mine looks around a lot too. I only correct him if he stops or drifts. Does yours know how to leg yield? That's all I do - bend him to the opposite way to where he's trying to look and leg yield him towards it. Dunno if it's correct though
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 06:33 AM
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An aware horse is often a horse who sees, wants to identify or disregard what they see...
Riding trails or not the horse still needs guidance from the rider and attention kept focused on the job at hand.
My horses also look around when trail-riding...
They watch for danger or threat to us from, by me, alligators or snakes of the venomous species...otherwise we move down the trail with the ears, eyes, occasional head always in motion.
You need to trust your horses ability to keep you safe as you ride and part of that is the horse is going to see & hear long before you do "danger", a evaluation of surroundings is what is happening...the fact he moves away by diverting/bulge his body a bit but continues on tells me he has seen and declared the threat not a threat to either of you.
A little leg applied when you feel him divert/bulge away to steady him, but I would let him look to determine no threat myself.
The fact the horse continues without a giddy-up, lets get out of here, says much your horse is a thinker not reactionary to everything.
Don't read into his checking out his surroundings but that you are both keeping safe in your travels...
Your horse sounds like a nice trail horse partner to have who takes care of but thinks first.
Enjoy your journeys.

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 08:05 AM
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I like a horse like that. And I agree with @horselovinguy .

I let mine look around and like @duskexx , I only use leg too correct and if they go too far from our direction of travel.

It's nice that your horse is interested and not acting bored.
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 08:15 AM
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Wait until his looking around saves your behind. He's a member of the team, it's part of his job. Safety Specialist. As long as he keeps going in the right direction at the right speed I would just let him look.

Short horse lover
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 08:35 AM
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Well, "correct" is a strong word as it implies "misbehaving contrary to prior training" on this part. In any case, it depends whether or not you should "address" it.

His looking around to understand his environment is perfectly normal; his looking around worried and disoriented might benefit from some gentle "keeping him between your legs and hands" now and then to remind him that you are, indeed, leading him. I wouldn't worry about the latter unless his shoulders are actually moving alongside the head. On the other hand, if he gets worried a lot, you may have to do many smaller rides with good successful outcome for him and build up to longer ones.

I have a feeling, though, that you'd describe the situation differently if that were the case, so let him take a look. He's just making sure there is nothing in the bushes to get you! :)
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post #7 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 09:00 AM
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My appy does that, but it's because he loves trails, and wants to go down every single path he sees. Even when they're not big enough for a horse or lead places we can't ride, like in the middle of a freshly planted garden :)

I let him look, but if he starts down a path I don't want to follow, I make tight circles and bring him back. I don't think there's anything wrong with looking. If your horse is veering too far though, I'd gently push him back on path. Even if it's not a big problem now, it might be a good idea to remind him you are still there and you make the decisions. I'm not a big "show him who's boss" fan, but with a horse that has natural curiosity, it's sometimes good to establish boundaries right at the outset before he starts pushing further and further until the day you feel you no longer have control. Gawking can also become an excuse to spook. So yes, I would gently "correct" his bend, but not his head unless he is no longer paying attention to what's in front of him. But I'm no expert either so take that with a grain of salt. It's just what I found has worked with my own curious, outgoing horse.
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 10:48 AM
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It's not a bad thing that he wants to be aware of his surroundings, especially on the trail. However, keeping him focused is important too, don't just let him venture off/go wherever he wants either. If he's getting distracted, squeeze your fingers a bit on the reins (not pulling), maybe coaxing him with your voice can help too if he's unsure. :) But, I don't think it's a bad thing at all.
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 01:01 PM
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Obviously a trail is far different that an arena or enclosed riding space. I want my horse to pay attention to her surroundings. Between the two of us we have four eyeballs to guide us down the trail and home again. If she wanders I can guide her back on track but any correction is kept to a cue here and there.
It sounds a bit like you may not be as comfortable out on a trail as she is. Trust your horse, stay alert but relax and you both will enjoy the outing. Trail riding is a wonderful equine activity!!!!
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 04:23 PM
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We had a horse like that and nicknamed him "The Tourist" because he was always looking around with the giraffe neck and ears straight up! LOL He could be reactionary too though with things he knew weren't there the last time he went that way. Like llamas, garbage cans and especially real estate signs. He would startle and try to turn around and bolt home. Didn't let him of course but had to give the scary objects a wide berth.
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