or were you just pissed off that things didn't go as you would have liked, so anything that anyone would have said to you would have been grounds for a pissy COTH post? quite honestly, I would have been irked too, if people had gone cantering off when my horse (any horse) was spazzing. that's just poor horsemanship. but what was your training plan here? you know he gets overwhelmed, it's just as much your responsibility to set your horse up for success as it is the other riders to not do something that might get someone hurt. plenty of blame to go around.....
Last edited by Timex; May. 27, 2013 at 01:38 PM.
Reason: spelling. again.
I wouldn't ace to trail ride, that sounds like a recipe for disaster! It's poor trail etiquette to take off in a group and leave a horse or two behind when others don't/can't/won't go trotting, cantering, galloping too. That just upsets most horses. Next time I would go out with just out with a couple of trusted people/horses and do an easy ride and get him used to being out. Once he is more comfortable work other people into the group but make sure it's clear if you plan to do more than just walk. Before I take my gelding out (a just turned 4 OTTB) I make sure he is comfortable wandering our 5 acres, then I work down our road and now that he has done that comfortably with no issues (while my other horse is back at the house having an absolute fit about the whole situation and the horses at the end of the road are running around because we are going by) I am ready to try taking him out on the real trail with a friend that has a beginner horse friendly trail buddy.
You over faced your horse going out with a group. Also, since he is young, esp if you don't know the riders and even if you do, ask them before hand if they would just stick to walk trot and not canter , or whatever it is your horse can be okay with. Ace, no reason for that! Sounds like you and horse handled it well though. A little excitement and then they calm down, all part of it, but a bit too much for a 3 year old.
I'm not going into the whole to ace or not, I do believe ace has its place, not here.
I think that your trail partners did not follow protocol if they took off without you. This is something that needs to be established prior to the trail, no matter how impromptu it may be, "Dobbin is young so I'm just going to walk him. What are you guys planning?"
They certainly weren't polite, but we have to be accountable for the welfare (mental and physical) of our horses (and ourselves) especially when working with a youngster.
It sounds line these are not the most experienced group of people so I'd let the ace comment slide. There's nothing to be annoyed at. If the barn mates don't have the knowledge and etiquette not to leave you on a trail, I wouldn't expect them to have a good understanding of providing solid fundamentals to a horse. Set your expectations low, and you won't be disappointed (half joking).
Would you consider taking a psychotropic to ease up anxiety during a stressful situation? Bc that's essentially what you'd be doing with ACE. just like taking any other drug or medication there are a host of unknowns and dangers. ACE is pretty heavy duty and has the possibility for a number of negative side effects. But there's as many less dangerous natural calmers on the market as there are horses out there. It couldn't hurt to try one of those along with going out with a trusted rider and horse pair next time. If he's a little calmer he's more apt to listen to you for guidance. Some have tryptophan in them so think of yourself after thanksgiving dinner!
Side effects such as what? And NOT a psychotropic! Ace is one of the, if not THE safest tranquilizers out there. You have to make the decision, OP, but at least have correct information.
In 40+ years in horses, most of them back when Ace was the only choice, I have never seen an adverse reaction, have never seen one even slightly lose footing or stagger on 1cc or less, and know that probably 80% or more of fox hunters routinely use small amounts of this drug, SAFELY.
Not recommending or discouraging, but giving you facts from the field.
I don't think drugs are in order. When trail riding you should only go with 1 trusted calm horse and rider. Someone that will ride at your pace. This is very important when doing your 1st rides. It isn't fair to the horse and your friends should have known better and riden seperatley if they wanted to ride at a different pace.
No way would I ace a baby for being a baby. You need to go out with groups of people who are willing to dumb down the ride for the least experienced member of the group.
On the other side of the coin, they can't read your mind. If you need them to change their actions, you need to speak up.
I've been on both ends. If the person on the horse having a meltdown doesn't speak up and ask for something to change, I can't/won't help them. I don't want to overstep my bounds and offer unwanted advice so I'll keep my mouth shut. I've gone out in groups with youngsters who were misbehaving and wanted the others to keep doing what they were doing and let me work through the stupidity. I've also been on a ride with a girl fighting with her horse, who, when asked if she was okay, snapped at us and told us she was fine. That her horse was just being a brat. She got dumped shortly thereafter and cut our ride short (she was fine, just having a temper tantrum). Then came home and blasted us on the Internet as being bad friends. Not once did she ask us to change what we were doing (we call out and ask if everyone is okay with picking up a different gait EVERY time we speed up so someone can object or just get ready for it) or help her work on this or that problem.
When I was teaching my guy to lead, we played lots of leap frog so he didn't have to be out front too long. We went out specifically to work with him on that or something else. Everyone knew and had agreed to the plan ahead of time.
So. No. No ace. Ride with people who are willing to work with you.
Just because someone's used something and never had a problem does not mean there are not dangers. There are obvious dangers to using ace I really don't think there's an argument there. I personally wouldn't take an anti anxiety either. Not unless I'd first tried everything else. ( if you dont appreciate my analogy then so be it but...)Such as repeated exposure in a safe way. Which is what I think everyone is suggesting to the op and is also what the op is thinking herself. So before y'all get yer panties in a bunch looking to argue with me I'd like to point out that I've pretty much had the same opinion as everyone else
I haven't been around horses very long at all, and I've managed to own one horse who had a severe adverse reaction to ACE. Panic, clear signs of stress, indications that there were hallucinogenic effects (tough to tell with a horse...but he was definitely acting "trippy")
His sire and his half brother both had the same reaction, and my vet let me know that it wasn't uncommon. While the side effects were not so awful that you wouldn't at least TRY Ace on the horses (it is very common and in widespread use, usually the first choice of sedative) you definitely want to be aware of the possibilities. Since horses don't report clinical side effects the same way humans do...it's not entirely well known the effects this drug has...the horses who are calm on it might be tripping as bad as my horse, but they might just be having more pleasant/rational trips.
Not to be alarmist, but don't rely on people who swear up and down that Ace is "safe"...if you plan to use any drug while riding, try it on your horse in a controlled situation first. Seems like common sense, but I've seen people swayed by the "it's completely safe" line before. Also, if I am trying out a horse, I DO NOT consider Ace "nothing." It's the kind of thing you should tell a rider.
Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior
I think that the size of the "herd" was simply overwhelming for a 3 yr. old to process and I never trot or canter a young horse in a group.
If possible I take a very steady chaperone out to either lead a timid youngter into a new situation or follow along behind to give the animal security that he's not alone in the wild.
No one is to blame here I think that there is a simple misunderstanding of expectations of a young animal. I use ace minimally on young horses since I do think it doesn't allow them to process information.
After long stall rest YES and if the situation is clear that they will either kill themselves or me it is a sensible choice.
I often use riding trails to build a young horses' confidence, good luck !
Getting a horse used to trail riding, particularly if it is young and/or nervous, should be done in shorter sessions with a quiet buddy. Either that, or be prepared for situations like you ran into.
I've been on trail rides where people asked if it would be ok to pass, to which I replied: "Sure. I think my horse who is off the track should be ok with you passing if it's at a walk" (rider had cantered up behind us). One stride later the group of riders took off at a flat out gallop. Of course that upset my horse because she wanted to go along too. She thought she was back at her old "job", but I told her no, she had to stay behind and amble along.
That type of behavior from other folks on the trail is just plain rude. Why people behave that way is beyond me, but unfortunately, you just have to expect that kind of stuff when you are out on a public trail.
To make the experience better for my young horse, I just took her out on trails with an experienced horse and went just for short periods of time, like 15-20 minutes.
had a half cc of ace on his first mounted trail ride the following year.
Needless to say he was familiar with the concept of trail riding, I had been taking him out with me in fairly rugged trails since he was two.
However on his first trail ride I wanted it to be a very good experience. He got half a cc about an hour before we started riding (just before I put him on the trailer) and it had more than wore off by the time we were finished. But I'm sorry, a half cc is just enough for him to take a deep breath and hit the pause button before he lost his shit (something that would be more useful on the internets, than on horses, btw).
Did I think he was going to lose his shit? No, I was 99.9% sure he would be fine - I knew how he worked in a ring with other horses and I knew how he was on the trail when he was ponied. But I wanted his first experience to be 150% positive, and relaxed. His second through millionth experience could be training sessions, but I wanted him to go out there and enjoy himself the first time.
If you are on the trail, especially in the woods and mountains, you cannot control your environment or your response to it. Circling is not an option, changing direction at your whim is not an option, what you will meet on the trail is not an option, what every other tom, dick and harry does on the trails is not under your control, so yes, I damn sure wanted to stack the deck in my horse's favor. And in that stack included known trail riding partners, who also knew they were getting a green bean that day, a known trail and a relaxed horse. He even decided he was going to be the leader (something he had been dying to do since he was forced to walk behind the Old Man's shoulder on all those pony sessions).
I was pretty confident I came with the skills to handle him even without ace, but that little half cc did it's job - I could feel some tension in him for the first 20 minutes, but instead of building he had a chance to look, absorb, figure out there was absolutely nothing to be skeered of... then take a deep breath and relax and enjoy himself. And that was EXACTLY what I wanted him to do. If it hadn't worked out I would call it a failure on my part to assess the readiness of my horse.
That was three years ago and he has been all over the trails of GA in between shows sans ace, so yeah, I'd call his experience with ace a big win for him. But I knew exactly what I was riding, who I was riding with and where I was riding when I made that choice. My choice allows for more possibilities than "never!" Because never is a long time and there are more thing between heaven and earth than internet experts dreamed of (with apologies to Shakespeare).
Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.
Understandably, although if I got annoyed at every stupid suggestion people have made to me, I'd enjoy riding a lot less. Sometimes you just have to be smugly content with your own choices, let stupidity be its own reward for people like that.
Very good point rugbygirl. I think the entire situation annoyed me and I feel better now that I have vented.
I did ask in my original post if ace was an appropriate solution. If you someone has a good idea and I am not aware of the possible perks of it, I want to know. My gut says it not in this case but I wanted to hear others opinions on the situation.
On the other side of the coin, they can't read your mind. If you need them to change their actions, you need to speak up.
I should have spoken up more than I did. I was afraid I was going to upset the group since I had already asked everyone to slow down once. I guess I cant expect everyone to be understanding and need to not be afraid to voice my needs for me and my horse.