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Starting a trail horse

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  • Starting a trail horse

    Looking for awesome books on starting a 5 yo halter broke gelding.
    also any tips, suggestions..
    I've grown up riding, this is the nicest, sweetest, calmest horse and I want him to bondand gain trust with me.
    I do plan on working with a trainer, as a coach, but I'm still going to be doing a majority of the work on the daily, and would love some book recommendations!

    TIA!

  • #2
    Read Vladimir Littauer's Common Sense Horsemanship. He has a 7 month program with a "by the numbers" basic curriculum to train a fox hunting horse. A good fox hunter is going to be a good trail horse virtually "by definition." It's free here: https://archive.org/stream/commonsen...54mbp_djvu.txt

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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    • #3
      Do you have access to a seasoned trail horse? I've found ponying to be a fantastic way to get a horse used to trails.

      I had an appy/TB mare 30+ years ago, I bought her as a 3 yo not even halter broke. She had a lot of issues and I didn't back her till she was 5 but for over a year I ponied her off of my POA mare. We went over and through everything and would go on all day rides, sometimes covering 15-20 miles a ride. This was up in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.

      The second time I got on her back we went off down the trail by ourselves and she was perfect! She turned out to be an amazing trail/mountain horse.

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      • #4
        I agree with ponying. Also when ridden have an experienced lead horse in front and an experienced horse behind. Both are the watch dog positions for herd safety. (Usually lead mare in front, stallion behind the herd).

        When doing your first creek crossing let the lead horse go first then turn sideways to block the novice horse from bolting/jumping the creek. With water let the novice wade in then calmly step out. Don't stop too long and allow excessive pawing. I have seen some FAST drop and roll in the water. Rider, saddle and all.

        An experienced mountain rider friend told me to let the horse sniff the trail when they want to.
        Last edited by pony grandma; Mar. 18, 2019, 11:40 AM.
        The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

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        • #5
          I agree about the ponying. It's great to get them exposed. For our youngster we then added a set of light packs and made them progressively heavier and ponied him with those. We also spent a lot of time getting him used to giving to pressure- both from the lead shank/halter and taught him to step forward and back from a soft loop of rope around the pastern- helpful for standing tied and tolerating hobbles in the future. Enjoy!

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          • #6
            Definitely lots of ponying! Ive found that when you ride for the first time, its good to go with a friend or two that have calm horses, pony the youngster out with tack on and on the way back, give your older horse to a friend to pony, and get on the baby to ride home. Usually works really well.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by HaleyBird View Post
              Looking for awesome books on starting a 5 yo halter broke gelding.
              also any tips, suggestions..
              I've grown up riding, this is the nicest, sweetest, calmest horse and I want him to bondand gain trust with me.
              I do plan on working with a trainer, as a coach, but I'm still going to be doing a majority of the work on the daily, and would love some book recommendations!

              TIA!
              Check out Warwick Schiller's videos. He does a great job of explaining horse behavior and training methods, and since it's a video subscription, you can watch videos that apply to your situation over and over. You want your horse confident enough that he doesn't have to rely on the presence of another horse, he is good with just himself and you. Good luck!

              www.warwichschiller.com
              "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

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