Moving away from lessons - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-14-2015, 09:00 AM
Weanling
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Newport, PA
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ABSOLUTELY TRUE. Any time on a horse is good. Trekking will teach you more, in many ways. It's all I've ever done. The dressage coach at my barn can improve my aids to get the best performance out of my horse, but I was the one she asked to come riding with her when she took her horse on the trails for the first time. One, because my horse is super mellow, and two, because she knows I won't panic if her horse does.

Trekking teaches how to ride on uneven footing, builds confidence as you deal with the unexpected, and teaches you that all the "skill" in the world doesn't matter if you don't know how to stop a spook before it becomes a bolt. You'll learn.

You'll also learn that leg position and seat and aids aren't as important as NOT FALLING OFF.

It doesn't have to be pretty. It has to be safe.

Relax. Seriously. Go out with your horse and a buddy at first. Lead and follow. Then take short excursions by yourself. Build up to the longer treks off the farm as you learn how the horse reacts to things.
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-14-2015, 06:06 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
Posts: 1,563
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By the way, not sure if this has been mentioned, but if you have a friend (spouse, sibling, etc) who likes to go out hiking or biking or jogging but doesn't ride, they could go with you and your horse on the trails using their preferred method of transportation.

My husband does that with me, and my horse is totally fearless when he's on a bike in front of us. She doesn't even lookie loo when he's there. She figures he'll get eaten first if a lion happens to be hanging around, giving her plenty of time to get away. :)
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“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #13 of 13 Old 01-14-2015, 06:34 PM
Yearling
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Central Florida
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Yep, the best way to get better at trails--you or the horse---is to do more trails. Sometimes the things you have learned and practiced in an arena will have a practical use out on the trail. I clearly remember the first time I used a HQ yield to pivot and turn around on the trail because the trail was narrow and going off the trail wasnt a good option, and I swear I thought I could feel Sonny thinking "oh...so that's what this move is for". LOL
Keep in mind that a few people you encounter on the trails will be rude or plain careless and dangerous. In my experience they are few and far between, but always keep it in mind and expect the unexpected from them. We were nearly creamed once when someone came cantering around a blind curve and I didnt hear her coming until she was nearly on us. Another time someone was ponying a horse and coming rapidly up behind us,,,the trail just wide enough for 2 horses side by side , or passing.....Sonny & I scrambled and wedged ourselves off to the side to get out of the way and not be run into.....and as she flew past us she said 'you know these gaited horses, you can't slow them down"....say what???? hogwash.
It would be great if you had a few friends to ride with regularly, and if ya'll were all of the same mindset. My trail buddies and I always -go no faster than the slowest or least confident horse & rider, even if that means we don't get to trot or canter at all----watch out for each other (bicylist up ahead on the left!!) and offer help if someone is having problems---always make sure to announce when we're going up a gait and make sure everyone has said they are ok with it--stay out of the kick zone of the horse ahead of us...things like that.

Also, for the fun of it, google ACHTA and look around. Its a great way to help your horse gain confidenct out on the trails. After a few ACTHA rides, he will be so accostomed to coming up on strange obstacles out on the trail, he will be less and less spooky. This is something you could start with in an arena--riding up to, over, etc. obstacles. ACHTA has a list , and I think a video of examples of their obstacles.Its not terribly expensive to join and ride. You can do it for the fun and experience or you can compete for points.

Fay

Respect......rapport......impulsion......flexion.. .
Be as soft as possible, but as firm as necessary--Pat Parelli
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