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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
Hi All,

I don’t currently have an arena to school in, so we have a field at the yard that we can ride in (not the field he is kept in).

He tries to nap going past the entrances to the other fields, which lead to his, but I can work with that.

The problem I have is when we get down the bottom/one side of the field he wants to rush back to the top (feels like he wants to run off, so I keep him at a walk).

Also I have tried to trot him but again he feels like he’s going to run off, he feels so tense & like he’s about to go.

Any advice? I’ve only had him a couple of weeks but I’m now nervous to ride him in the field because I feel like he’s going to explode or have me off. I’m also very aware that now I feel nervous/anxious that he will be feeding off that too!

All advice & recommendations welcome!
 

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Instead of straight lines do serpentines, lefts and rights up and down the side he wants to be naughty at, figure eights etc where he needs to pay attention for the next request. If you can move a couple ground poles in you can incorporate those as well. Anything to get his mind moving instead of checking out.
 

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he wants to be where the other horses are. It's only natural. You can do the ol' 'work harder near the desired location and rest more further away from it." If you allow him to blitz up the hill toward the end of the field he wants, it can become a bad habit. On the other hand, a horse needs a good gallop now and then. If you can do some trotting and cantering near the gate he wants so badly to be near, then walk him away, then back, then away several times. Get off of him on the far side, and lead him back slowly, perhaps allowing him to graze a bit on the way. Make being away from the desired location a good place to be.
 

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Time and consistency. I also felt the same as you did on my new mare who rushed one end (trotting was impossible to sit or rise/post) felt like she was gonna run off. One lesson I think I trotted nearly 15minutes straight, doing large circles, figure 8's etc. 15mins was killer at the gait she was going. Each subsequent lesson she relaxed more. It is quite normal for us to take 20minutes just warming up in both brain and body before we can do any real work. The biggest tip for me in the moment that hasn't yet failed me was to trot her past the two areas she tried to stop/slow and rest/halt/walk her at the end you'd like them to be calm. It meant half the arena I was hanging on for my life and the other half I was squeezing with my legs like I was trying to give birth through my ankles :p Eventually it levelled out... But in truth it took a lot of courage to "trot it out" that first time. But eventually you just sort of have to do it. I remember my first arena spook alone and taking deep breaths before attempting to trot past it a second time, pretending with all my might that nothing was wrong. And it was fine. It takes courage to have faith your ability and your horse. Worst case I kept telling myself was that if she rushed at least she'd stop at the gate right? I just had to stay on!

Practice breathing techniques you can find them online. Regulating my breathing helped me regulate my tension. Actively practice tensing while sitting down or in bed and then relaxing every limb in turn. If you sit like a rock, waiting for the spook.. its gonna happen, you're just begging it too. It seems so counterintuitive but riding my mare on a loose rein (enough to still turn) and off my seat slows her more than any yanking on her mouth, which just frightens her. They are gigantic toddlers. When we are scared they dont understand we're scared of THEM. They smell our fear and wonder if we can sense a monster that they can't and of course they want to rush back home to safety and comfort with friends.

There is also nothing wrong with working him on the "safe" end. The first time with my mare I spent the first half session by the gate and made my circles bigger and bigger until I was at the other end and dismounting there with big praise. Hope it works out!
 

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Best advice I ever received was just spending time with my horse. In two weeks yall have hardly even met. I mean, like, if you had a new boyfriend for only two weeks, you wouldn't know him either.

Forget the riding for now. Just spend some quality time in a way that the horse enjoys your company.

That's my 1 1/2 cents.
 

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Are you working him alone? What does 'nap' mean again - that he stops & doesn't want to go past the gate? What Americans call 'gate sour'? Is the bottom corner of the field furthest from his paddock/barn/mates? And what has he been used to prior to you? Has he proven a good trail horse, happy to go out alone, confident with novice horsepeople, or otherwise?

He's only found himself here 2 weeks ago, doesn't know you at all well, so won't trust you yet. I am imagining you've been taking out of this new place/with new horses he's hardly comfortable with yet - tho that will be where he's most comfortable in the new situation, to ride away from his security, with a practical stranger on his back making him do stuff, forcing him out of his comfort zone. I'd be getting to know him, developing some mutual respect, without taking him out of his comfort zone for now - wait till you get a good thing going, before 'pushing the envelope', so to speak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I’ve known him 8 weeks or so & he’s been at the same yard with the same horses for 8-10 weeks. So we definitely still need to bond more, but we do have some kind of a relationship.
Yes napping means trying to stop or turn as you’ve mentioned ‘gate sour’.
That’s for some fo the tips.

I know what I need to do 🤦🏻‍♀️ I just need to ask for trot & keep my leg on, push him forward.

It’s more the fact that I become nervous that he’ll tank off or buck me off 😅 Something I need to get over I guess!

Thanks all!
 

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If you start to feel he is getting too energetic, try to move him in a circle (small, but not too small, like 20 meter) for a few rounds until you feel him relax, then go on with your ride. Everytime he speeds up, do the circles. Maybe another thing to try is turning him back the opposite way when he tries to rush back and only letting him proceed at a walk will help him understand not to get in a hurry.
 
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