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Road Riding A Greenie

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  • Road Riding A Greenie

    My appaloosa mare is 6 1/2 years old and I have been riding her since she turned 4. We just did open field riding and she has always been very good. We moved here to MN in Sept. Our neighbor owns 100's of acres of farm ground around us and lets my daughter and I ride on it ( When Not Planted). So, said fields are now planted and if I want to ride we must go on the roads. We live on a state paved highway. Much traffic and lots of big rigs. Well, I lunged her good and my daughter and I set out. We have been on the road about 6 times maybe. At first it was the cars that seemed to bother her a bit. Yesterday ( a beautiful day) We set out and at the corner where there is a wooded patch, there was a MAN walking around in it and a big sprayer truck there too. She couldn't seem to get over that. We did get to the corner and then she wouldn't step over the white line painted on the road. She whirled around, collided with a plastic sign advertising plants for sale, spooked at the plastic sign she just hit ( i am kind of falling off at this point??) and turns the other way sharply and hits the stop sign ( with my head) I am now wondering where all these*#@%%$**&^%$# signs came from?? The man in the woods is watching the show and my daughter on her little "good as gold" appy mare is just waiting. Somehow I am still on and get her across the road. We spook at the monster trash bag and several more signs before heading down the road. The great news is that the traffic was no problem!!! We walked and trotted and had a nice ride. I am not the rider I was 20 years ago ( when this episode would have been fun and challenging) but I am hoping it will make me a better rider than I have been lately and that she will improve on the roads, because that is the only place to ride until harvest......

  • #2
    Good job staying with it! Sounds like she just needs lots and lots of wet saddle blankets down the road.
    I started my appy down the road just leading her she was so bad, spooked at everything, even her own shadow. Now she is just fine!

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a been there done that trail broke mare who likes to have fun PRETENDING to spook at road and trail boogers. I've ridden her literally next to bulldozers at work, railroad trains, road graders, ATVs, all manner of horrible roaring machinery and the worst hazard of all was a fellow coming down the road, walking, carrying about a half dozen strips of vinyl siding about 12 feet long. The horses knew it was Armageddon. There's always something. The other day it was a solitary pinecone, today a whole bunch of pinecones had Sadie convinced they were all IED's and she was a Bradley vehicle... Cars she could care less about. Today I heard a lizard scurry and flinched and she followed suit--at that point I busted out laughing and realized a lot of the time its Me, Not Her. I've had her six years, she is now twelve, and I doubt if she's really been afraid of anything for about 5 of those 6 years.

      Comment


      • #4
        We used to go around the edges of planted fields.
        ... _. ._ .._. .._

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Seems as we get older/ married/ have kids the " wet saddle blankets" are harder to do. Before I was married my horses were rode hard all the time. Now i do try to ride 5-6 days a week but it isn't like I used to.

          Equibrit-- He doesn't leave enough room after planting !! My FIL used to leave me a wide grassy path all the way around his corn field....

          At least the roads here have wide, flat ,sandy shoulders and grass past that if I need to get really far from something coming. I am dreading the day we encounter one of the many amish who zoom down the roads with their buggies.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a mare who is not afraid of almost any object, but shies at anything if she is tense. That tenseness is virtually always due to being in a situation even slightly out of her norm or comfort zone. Like leaving her pasture mate or the two of them going off the property. Like you, I am not the same rider I was 20 years ago. What I have found hugely helpful is Dr. Deb Bennett's Birdie Book. Her main principle is that to the extent that the horses's "birdie" (attention or desire) is somewhere other than you (in this case back on your property), he will exhibit dangerous behavior. She also has a CD on Mannering that gives step by step instructions on getting and holding the horse's attention. Dr. Deb, especially in the Birdie Book, can get a little out there, but she believes your horse has to be "totally ok inside" before you do anything with him. The older I get, the more I want that, too! BTW, be careful on the pavement and wear a helmet -- I shattered my shoulder, elbow, knee and foot when my horse fell with me on pavement at a walk 18 months ago, but while my helmet was dented I didn't even have a headache!

            Comment


            • #7
              Can you pony her until she calms down a bit? I love ponying - good solution to "needs experience" added with "I'm kind of old".

              My never spooks mare spooked BIG at a squirrel yesterday. Both horses were really looky right before, so I think she was smelling and/or hearing something other than squirrel, and when the squirrel jumped out, she did a sideways teleport....the first one in 6 1/2 years, lol. I stayed on, so it was mostly funny.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                When I had a horse to do it on I would pony all my greenies.
                She is the only horse I have to ride. I have a " green as grass" mule and my daughters mare is too small for my 5'9 legs, so ponying is out. Anyways, we will keep plugging along. She is really a good girl and It doesn't scare me if she is spooky a bit. She gives me plenty of warning and I am not opposed to getting off and walking if needed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  WOW! Good job staying on. For some reason, your story made me laugh a little. The way you told it was fantastic.
                  Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                  White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                  Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    A sense of humor is a MUST with horses, don't ya think?? :-)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by candyappy View Post

                      Equibrit-- He doesn't leave enough room after planting !! My FIL used to leave me a wide grassy path all the way around his corn field....
                      .
                      I know, right? My friend and I were just bemoaning how used to farmers left a tractor/truck path all around the fields, but now they farm right up to the ditches.

                      It's the only consolation during years my tenants put me in tobacco. You have hands in your yard all year (topping, suckering, cropping, etc) but they have to leave a nice road for the drag all the way round the fields.

                      I lol'd at your description of ricocheting off the signs. Been there.
                      I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry you had such a time! but each time you go out, your horse will get a little more used to things. Have your daughter's horse nearby to show her the desired attitude.
                        You just have to desensitize her, ride by ride, no way past this. See it as a temporary learning phase.

                        Bought my mare at 3---hadn't been riding much for many years before I got her and, having no trailer, had to ride on the road to any trails.
                        Had some of the same experiences as you describe with almost everything she saw(also with signs--now I ask her to march up to signs and touch them with her nose. She seems to enjoy it!). She just had to get used to things, and, as a smart and reasonably sensible mare, she has, despite her Arabian mind-set.(i.e--I accept that she'll never be completely spook-free, as a hotblooded breed--but she does really well within those parameters; I just have to be a centered rider and alert to what might potentially be scary to a fine-tuned horse. She usually "spooks in place"---for example--starts to jump and stops herself immediately, thinking "oh! that was just some dumb chipmunk, I know that")

                        I never hesitate to get off if I feel she might be too scared to listen to me. Leading past scary objects--the first time anyway, if there is real fear-- can be safer for you,and is better than avoiding these things. Your horse may think"if she's not afraid to go first, I guess it is ok" Also, if some giant rumbling piece of machinery goes past(or silent bicycles!) standing still and facing it--mounted or dismounted--can help maintain calm and control.

                        My young mare has become ok with many things just through repetition.

                        But, I admit I still get tense when motorcycles roar by and she reacts by dancing around.
                        Can anyone tell me how I can cure myself of this?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have a young Paint mare...very curious but only off the farm once before I got her.
                          So far, I've been expanding the places that we go. I didn't try for the whole road ride I wanted in one day. I took her down the road about fifty feet, turned around, and came back. I made sure her attention was on me before we turned around, and she hasn't tried to speed up her pace yet on the way back.
                          She was very curious, and looky, but not spooky. As the days go on, we gradually increase the length of road we ride. It seems to work for her, but she's not really prone to spooking often.
                          http://www.minuspride.blogspot.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Start by riding with a buddy on a dead-broke road horse. Let the "calm" of the broke horse help calm the greenie. This is using the "herd instinct" as an ally vice an enemy.

                            Indeed if you can ride with a group of broke horses that works even better. Then you can drop to a single companion, then work "solo."

                            Of course with a greenie you've got to make sure you always have a strong seat and don't get distracted yourself. Keep the horse's attention on you and they won't have time to worry about other things.

                            Good luck with your program.

                            G.
                            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                              My appaloosa mare is 6 1/2 years old and I have been riding her since she turned 4. We just did open field riding and she has always been very good. We moved here to MN in Sept. Our neighbor owns 100's of acres of farm ground around us and lets my daughter and I ride on it ( When Not Planted). So, said fields are now planted and if I want to ride we must go on the roads. We live on a state paved highway. Much traffic and lots of big rigs. Well, I lunged her good and my daughter and I set out. We have been on the road about 6 times maybe. At first it was the cars that seemed to bother her a bit. Yesterday ( a beautiful day) We set out and at the corner where there is a wooded patch, there was a MAN walking around in it and a big sprayer truck there too. She couldn't seem to get over that. We did get to the corner and then she wouldn't step over the white line painted on the road. She whirled around, collided with a plastic sign advertising plants for sale, spooked at the plastic sign she just hit ( i am kind of falling off at this point??) and turns the other way sharply and hits the stop sign ( with my head) I am now wondering where all these*#@%%$**&^%$# signs came from?? The man in the woods is watching the show and my daughter on her little "good as gold" appy mare is just waiting. Somehow I am still on and get her across the road. We spook at the monster trash bag and several more signs before heading down the road. The great news is that the traffic was no problem!!! We walked and trotted and had a nice ride. I am not the rider I was 20 years ago ( when this episode would have been fun and challenging) but I am hoping it will make me a better rider than I have been lately and that she will improve on the roads, because that is the only place to ride until harvest......


                              I don't have anything to add to what everyone else said but that made me laugh!
                              “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Be careful! An 11yr old girl and her horse died a few days ago... in Stafford VA. Girl and horse were hit by a car.... so unbelievabely sad. Please be careful.
                                Kim
                                The Galloping Grape
                                Warrenton, VA
                                http://www.GallopingGrape.com

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I am very careful and if I hear a car and think she may react, or if she is acting like something is bothering her I get her way off into the grassy area. It is amazing how many drivers don't even slow down when they see a rider. A lot get over to the other side ( i am grateful) . After being on vacation for 2 weeks we attempted another ride. It didn't go as well as I would have liked, but I have all the time in the world and we take it one day ( ride ) at a time.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                                    I am very careful and if I hear a car and think she may react, or if she is acting like something is bothering her I get her way off into the grassy area. It is amazing how many drivers don't even slow down when they see a rider. A lot get over to the other side ( i am grateful) . After being on vacation for 2 weeks we attempted another ride. It didn't go as well as I would have liked, but I have all the time in the world and we take it one day ( ride ) at a time.
                                    I'm sorry, but that mare isn't ready for this sort of ride. And I beg to differ about the "careful" part -- you almost fell off on a busy highway -- how is that careful?

                                    Although your comment about the signs made me laugh as well, if she'd knocked you off as a tractor-trailer was coming, it would not have been very funny at all...

                                    If you can fit on her, I would ride your daughter's horse or borrow another dead broke horse and pony your mare. Over and over and over again.

                                    And of course do enough arena work so that you truly do have control of your horse -- so she is instantly responsive to aids.

                                    Stay safe!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
                                      I'm sorry, but that mare isn't ready for this sort of ride. And I beg to differ about the "careful" part -- you almost fell off on a busy highway -- how is that careful?

                                      Although your comment about the signs made me laugh as well, if she'd knocked you off as a tractor-trailer was coming, it would not have been very funny at all...

                                      If you can fit on her, I would ride your daughter's horse or borrow another dead broke horse and pony your mare. Over and over and over again.

                                      And of course do enough arena work so that you truly do have control of your horse -- so she is instantly responsive to aids.

                                      Stay safe!


                                      I think she is ready enough and I can arena ride her till she is 20 and nothing will be different when we encounter things that might scare her out of the arena and out on the road. There are cars and trucks on our road, but it isn't constant and at the time of the spooking ( at signs)there was no car in sight . No rider is immune from falling off and although we would like to pick and choose the time and place should a fall occur, I haven't seen it done yet. I am hoping once we can get our hay cut I will be able to ride and school her in that field which is along side the road and help to desensitize her a bit and work her hard. I think part of the problem is that I have nowhere to ride her hard now and I can only lunge so long.... I appreciate your concern and believe me I want nothing more than for her and I to stay safe and sound.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                                        I think she is ready enough and I can arena ride her till she is 20 and nothing will be different when we encounter things that might scare her out of the arena and out on the road.
                                        Actually this really isn't true. You can't lunge the spook o/o a horse either. All you do is make them fitter and fitter and fitter.

                                        If a horse is truly responsive to your aids you can ask them to focus on something else other than "the spooky thing" and it helps a great deal.

                                        Their confidence in your leadership "trumps" the spooky thing.

                                        I ride my Arab mare (hot triple-bred Bask gal) in an area where we have double-trailer logging trucks, freight trains, RVs, etc. within 20-30 feet of us (or closer....the logging trucks are usually just 10 ft away) and she's fine (although the occasional odd-shaped rock makes her kinda looky, but then she IS an Arab ).

                                        I got her that way by doing 6 mos of ground work on her before I ever sat on her ('cause I'm old, fat, cowardly and I break easily), ponying her (off a bicycle no less) through lots of suburban residentical areas and taking her to several clinics where she was exposed to lots & lots of scary stuff.

                                        It's NOT to get her used to all the scary stuff she might some day be exposed to, (you just can't do that), but instead it's to teach the horse to look to you, the rider/human for verification as to the actual threat to them when they see something that bothers them.

                                        Does that make sense?

                                        And yes, we CAN pick where we are going to fall off to some degree...if we think we are going to ride a horse that might dump us, ride where dumping will not be a tragedy till we are pretty sure said dumping will not occur .

                                        Taking a horse on a busy highway when she is obviously frightened and spooky and you don't have much control is just asking for trouble IMHO...
                                        Last edited by Kyzteke; Jun. 25, 2011, 02:55 PM.

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