Suggestions for Handling Trail Riding Buddy Spooks
My friend and I had a little problem on the trail the other day. It all worked out, but I wonder if there is another way we could have handled this problem?
We had two dominant mares -pasture mates, but not friends. We came to one point where the trail was narrow with shoulder high grasses on either side. The lead horse stopped and started backing up despite her kicking on. As she started to back up into my horse, I tried to back my horse, but that wasn't working either. Usually in this case, we would walk to the front and take the lead, but the trail was too narrow. Knowing my mare can get grumpy when another horse invades her space, I turned her around to give each of them a little more distance.
Well, that was dumb, because the mares ended up with their butts pointed at each other and kicked out pretty hard. I think they were more scared than anything and luckily, neither one hit the other. This did resolve our forward issues and we went on our merry way and the mares returned home the best of friends.
I just wonder what we could have done differently to prevent the kicking, other than have them more responsive to our aids on the trails? Ideas?
Well, you could have maybe had more distance between horses to start with, but they can back up pretty darn fast, and on a narrow trail you're sometimes just stuck. You'll probably never have this problem again, at least every time I ever fretted about how to nip a problem in the bud that's what happened, LOL!
Turning horses butt to butt can be a real bad deal, as you discovered. If that mare has shown she wants to throw it in reverse, carrying a bat or over and under wouldn't be a bad idea. She must do as she's told. I'd have let that mare bump into mine, butt to chest, and just waited her out. If she's smack up under your mare's front end, kicking can't do too much damage.
I'd apply more go juice to the lead mare's rear end the instant she chooses reverse. Heat her up and send her forward. In the meanwhile do keep a bit more space between you two :0
That very same thing has happened to me. Biscuit will throw it into reverse for the same reason and he backed up right into Legato (Arabian mare that doesn't like her personal space invaded!!!) and she wasn't too happy. I was kicking him forward but Legato kicked up at him. I did the same thing and it is just working with them. I take a little crop and pop him with it and that helps but not always!
LOL Hopefully it won't happen just like that again for either one of us.
Perhaps not the best training approach here, but when one chucks it in reverse, the one behind steps to the side and starts going forward. Backup pony quickly decides "forward" is a good idea, but loses leadership priveleges for the rest of the ride.
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