Sure, some don't/won't. I have 15, and some I wouldn't want to ride out alone (they would, but they'd be worried/not happy.)
It's like the difference between a horse that could be happy as a staff horse (working alone, mostly) and a horse that's happier in the field, vs. a horse that 'has' to be a masters' horse (leading everywhere, over everything but not as happy following.)
Vs. the creme-de-la-creme - a horse that would do all of it!
An easy fix to fit up a horse who's not altogether pleased about going out alone is to ride one, pony one (or ride one, pony two, etc.)
Is this normal? I guess I always figured great hunters would do anything out of the ring!! And how would you go about legging this horse up if you trail ride/hack alone on 70 acres?
It is not unusual at all. Sometimes, the horses that WON'T hack out by themselves make the best field horses, as they are happy to be in company. Yes, there are many horses that are totally brave, will go first, and still be happy in the field, and it takes a more special horse to go off totally by themselves away, such as a whip's or huntsman horse, and still be happy in the field (many whip/huntsman horses are NOT ones you would want to ride in the field -- very unpleasant).
As other said, if you want to leg him up, and have another horse, try ponying one of them, or ride him in his field.
It depends what you mean by "won't" and what other factors you have to contend with.
I don't Hunt (I WISH there was Hunting here!) but I do ride a Jumper on some pretty crazy trails, and we've just finished 4 months conditioning for Endurance. Virtually ALL done alone, in terrain around my house.
My horse doesn't like leaving his pasture buddy either, and she gets quite agitated when we ride out. Nothing unsafe, but trotting the fenceline, whinnying her fool head off, prancing around...and gelding is generally quite obedient to her nonsense. If I mount up in the yard, he makes trouble when I go to leave. Sucks back and refuses to move, "fake spooks" at everything, starts backing up and won't quit, maybe crowhops a bit. I have to seriously kick his butt, spurs, crop, yelling at him. Then he will leave the yard, but he acts like a sulky little brat for the first mile or so, swishes his tail if I press his pace, distractedly looks at things, and if I get distracted, he'll take the first opportunity to turn home. Once he realizes we're out for a trip, he's great. Bold but careful, big trot and enthusiastic to canter, will do all variety of bending and side-passing, eager to anything I'll let him jump over, soft enough to ride in a halter and I fold up my crop and put it in the saddle bag.
I think any horse will be able to hack out alone, but you have to decide how much you're willing to fight. Where I live, there are honestly NO other horses. If I want to ride, it's alone. A horse that I couldn't get to go by himself reliably would have to find a new home with someone who either didn't leave home, or had more skills to fight the battle. I had concerns about this one, because for about two weeks in there, he'd decided that a surefire way to get rid of me and rejoin his girlfriend was a buck, followed by a spin, then one more buck. This took a pretty big commitment to solve...I had to figure out some way to handle his little protest and kick his butt...finally I just got a little better at sitting, and the next time I stayed on, he got the message from what followed. The horse should be able to take enough confidence to GO from you, and not need other horses. Obviously, I think MOST horses enjoy a chance to lean on others a little, and SOME are going to need constant reassurance and driving while out alone...but it isn't that they WON'T. They just don't like to, and they aren't much fun to ride.
Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior
When I was working and living in LA, I would ride out in the morning about 6 for a jump lesson before going to work. My horse, while wonderful over fences, was a complete maniac on the trail by himself and would not willingly go out on his own
I did two things.
First I got my husband to hack out with me in the morning as a temporary solution.
Then, on a Saturday when I had the whole day in front of me, , I started in the morning riding him out alone. We only got about 25 yards before the rear/spin/back into the ditch started. I stayed on until I thought he literall was going to fall over backwards into the ditch- and I jumped off. Got back on and continued...
That first time, it was a good hour of working him - and yelling at him, smacking him with my whip etc before he gave in and went. I continued having my husband hack out with me for the early jump lessons because I didnt want to get in a situation where I didnt have time to ride him through the issue because I had to go to work.
My horse never was a good trail horse. But he quit putting up such a complete fight. The issue of not going forward is ALWAYS lurking in the background. But these days, as soon as it starts, I call him all sorts of rude names, smack him and he reluctantly goes forward.
I think the reason I was so intent on getting him over this, is that my horses live at home. If he wont go out on his own, then we aren't riding. So I had some motivation.
And yes, there were days when he "really" was rearing. In some cases, I would get off, smack him with the whip and I would jog alongside him on the trail until he settled down. That usually was enough to get him going on those days.
Perserverence is important!