Trainers near Tacoma, WA for confidence/trail work?
Okay, I am throwing this out there because I'm not sure where to search. I have a dressage horse who is a complete wimp when anything changes. I've tried taking him off property, trails, etc, and he just gets himself so worked up every time, becoming a bit nasty and defensive because of his lack of confidence. He is a perfect angel at home and when he's been to a new place for a few days.
I will be unable to ride him for the months of November and December, and am looking to send him somewhere where he can get more experience out of the arena. I WON'T send him to a cowboy who uses techniques that may work on stock breeds, because my horse is a hot blooded, sensitive being, and those tactics only make him more anxious. It must be someone who is kind, patient, and has experience riding big moving, hotter horses. I would like to keep it within an hour or so driving distance to the Tacoma/Puyallup area of Washington so I can go check on him. Unfortunately I also know that those months are usually the worst weather for trail riding, so good footing and safe trails are also a priority.
It is too bad the term 'cowboy' has such negative connotations, when it should be a point of pride to be called a cowboy.
I know what you are saying though - we've all seen the ya-hoos.
There are very good hands with a horse who ride in a Western saddle - and who might offer your horse the confidence he needs (even if his canter pirouettes are not so correct!) But, sorry, not in your neck of the woods to know anybody.
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I have ridden my endurance arabs with this exact type of horse A LOT. OTTB's to be exact. I am a very confident rider, and have confident horses. Depending on the horse, we would meet or she would pick me up at my house. It is good for the insecure ones to go in their own trailer, and pick up a buddy. They both trailer together, and then unload, and ride together. My friend would drop me off (my horse too) and then she would go home to her (and her horses') home.
Find a nice endurance rider, or group of them, and start meeting up to go trail riding. We deal with new horses to the trail lots. Every endurance ride there is somebody new to endurance needing to ride with a more experienced rider. Not a big deal at all.
I am not in that area now, used to be (Kent), but you should be able to find somebody to ride with. No money or training involved. Just meet and go ride. Most all endurance horses and riders are fine with new horses to the trail.
I think all horses can benefit from riding trail. Especially hunter, jumpers, eventers and dressage horses. Gosh they are the most AWESOME trained horses on the trail, and usually the biggest and the most beautiful ones. Wow!
My event friend would on occasions jump some HUGE log(s) on the trail, I about freaked out. She did that all the time in the arena, and cross country. My horse was fine with it. We waited, no big deal. Her horse was fabulous, of course. :-) We could forge deep creeks, tackle tough trails, ride on tiny single track trails, but jump a HUGE log - no way.
Find a nice endurance rider, or group of them, and start meeting up to go trail riding.
Thanks, but I'm looking to send him somewhere, because I will be unable to ride during those months (medical reasons), and instead of letting him sit, or sending him to a fellow Dressage rider, I think it would be great for him to take a break from the arena for a bit and do some trail work.
And just to clarify, I in no way meant to talk down to western riders, I actually am a huge fan of the new Western Dressage discipline, and know many wonderful western riders. I just mean that the training method of disengaging the hind end, over-flexing the neck, and those types of methods would NOT work on this particular horse when he misbehaves, but I do know of many other horses that it works well on. I would have no problem with a Western rider on my horse, as long as they are used to the HUGE movement and almost stallion-like tendencies that his horse has, and that his corrections need to be ridden forward, not in a small circle.
Another option would be Mark Bolender in Silver Creek. The cool thing about Mark's place is he has a fantastic course of natural obstacles that is great for confidence building. THere are some strong opinions on Mark, but given your goals, it could be appropriate
I took my 4 yr old TB filly here http://pktraining.webs.com/ May 11th and will be bringing her home June 30th..
My horse had spent the first years just " horsing around" the pasture without any training other than halter, and feet . Took me 45 mins trying to get her in trailer for trip up to Maple Valley, and ended up having to put my OTTB in the trailer first....Now the filly gets in/out of trailer like a 'big girl' and goes on trail rides...
Kristi is a great trainer and spends time with the horses every day. She also doesnt charge an arm and a leg. I am extremely pleased with the outcome !
(She also works with the SAFE organization ( from which I have had 3 of their rescue horses .) )