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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When walking down the trail my mare goes all “squirrelly dan” LoL say I’m trying to walk straight along the tree line; she will wander to the left and when I bring her back to centre she will wander right and I bring her back she will wander to the left again, etc..

Any tips on keeping her straight? Will it come with time and consistent riding?

BACKGROUND INFO:
She’s only 6yrs and green broke. We just started riding out in the field this month because winter is finally over and she was getting burnt out with arena work (refusing to lope more than 3strides and lost all motivation unless we’re working cattle). Being a “cold blooded” horse she’s naturally calm so, getting her energy up can be difficult at times.
I’ve noticed a huge difference in her now that we’re riding outside. We can trot and lope in a straight line but once we slow down to a walk we go all “squirrelly dan” I’m not sure if it’s because she more focused when we add speed so, maybe at the walk she’s just gawking around too much?...

What I’ve been doing:
I use my leg aid with rhythm at increasing pressure and add rein support when needed. Once we’re going straight I stop completely.

Oh, another thing! Lol
After we’ve done this dance for a little while she will sometimes slow right down and it feels like she lost her energy. I’m not sure if I might be confusing her or whats going on there...
When this happens, I’ve been asking her to trot in a couple circles and then we walk off in the same direction. It seems to be helping but any insight on this would be helpful too.

Thank you!
 

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Just keep grinding. Left rein. Right rein. Left leg. Right leg. Minor adjustments too keep her on the straight.
She's only six and green broke, so cut her a little slack. Straight lines are more difficult at the walk, especially for young, green horses, as there is less impulsion and rhythm. That's why you can trot/lope in a straight line but are having difficulty at the walk.

https://www.youtube.com/user/YourRidingSuccess/search?query=straight
 

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I certainly hope you are not "grinding" on her. Do that long enough and your horse will dull out and hate walking out there.


If she walks out willingly, trots out and lopes out on the trail with enthusiasm, *** a young , green horse, THAT is wonderful! Who cares if it is straight or not.?


If you use the rein to ask her back into the middle, and she ignores that, well then I'd put a leg on and ask for a trot, just to wake her up. Constantly putting one leg on and pushing, then the other, and pushing, and micromanaging her runs the risk of dulling her out, especially if she is of the more cold blooded nature (more whoa than go)


my trail horse will move around on the trail, winding from side to side. I could care less. He does it to keep his footing as easy as possible, or to cock his head back to look at something, or whatnot. As long as he stays moving forward at the pace I request, where he puts his feet (within reason) is up to him. When we go up to a trot, he becomes much straighter.
 

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I certainly hope you are not "grinding" on her. Do that long enough and your horse will dull out and hate walking out there.
"Grinding" is simply slang for working on a "problem" - not literal, continuous, or necessarily hard/laborious.
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OP
ETA:
I missed the part where you said "trail ride." I though you were doing dressage, so disregard me.
 

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Yes, I understand the expression.
And I get what you are saying, about just continuing to make slight corrections until they aren't necessary. That can work. The important part for this to work, and keep the horse from becoming resistant, is to be really alert for that place where the horse is going straight, and well, and to be really sure to do NOTHING at that time.


It can be tempting to work at this straightness, and then the moment the green horse is straight for a few steps, the rider goes, "ok, now I'll get her on the bit!". Instead of just letting the horse enjoy the freedom they finally earned.


Dressage entails thinking about so many different things at once (That's why it is so fascinating ), but it can encourage a person to start micromanaging and loose focus on the whole horse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’ve been keeping her on a long loose rein. I don’t want her to feel confined and want to keep that forward momentum going because we can work on our maneuvers and all that stuff later LoL
I usually have a route planned out so as long as we are going in the right direction; I’m just along for the ride. She typically only needs a slight correction to get back to straight. I’m avoiding any “peddling” because she does become dull.

At the walk her wandering seems to lead back in the direction of the barn, neighbours or any near by building we pass LoL So, I wouldn’t say she’s barn sour like some horses that will bolt, spin, call out, rear or any of that silliness.

I’m very proud of the progress we’re making. We’re finding a nice rhythm at the w/t/l and riding out alone we’re building some major confidence in each other LoL
 

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This is simply lack of impulsion. As you said, it seems to lead back to the barn. I would carry a dressage whip, and use it a bit behind my leg to increase the impulsion. Constant bumping with the leg makes it worse, not better. Make sure in the arena that you get a clear “forward” movement from a leg cue.
 
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