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Horse that does not like to be passed on trails?

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  • Horse that does not like to be passed on trails?

    I took my hunter (8 year old TB) to a hunter pace today, he has done trails but not in a group. My two friends that were supposed to go with me bailed. I had a great time and would love to go again, just need some help working though a problem: whenever other horses would pass, once they got out in front of me, my horse wants to plant his feet and turn around and look behind him. Most of the time I was successful in keeping him moving, he would try to jog to keep up with the other horses, then settled back to the walk (fine). But twice he stopped, then lurched forward at a gallop, almost losing me. Another time we were within sight of the trailers and a group passed us, trotting/cantering, I wanted to keep walking. He planted his feet and would not go forward, so I turned him around and made him work (trot and circle till I had his attention) and then relaxed and headed toward home, still would not go forward. Another group passed us and he would not follow them, then would not go forward or back. I don't have any trail experience and am really unsure what to do about this? Next time I would like to have a buddy to stay with, I know he was wanting to keep up with the other horses and I was not letting him, so I guess his thought was if I can't go fast I won't go at all?

  • #2
    Sounds like just lack of exposure on his part and he's not sure what to do. Your reactions were good and so I would say hey, it worked out! You and he will build on your ability to work him through those rough patches- getting their attention back and giving them a job to do at key moments helps immensely.

    In the future, sure, I'd want a good experienced buddy on your next hunter pace so your horse can relax a bit and have some fun. Meanwhile, for sure, look for trail riding opportunities, again with a good buddy, and practice playing leap frog, just passing each other til the concept bores him to tears. And just plain old more trail riding will benefit, too.

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    • #3
      I know a lot of people in this forum don't like Parelli, but "put your nose on this" is a great game to play on the trail, with a distracted horse. I take my playful 2yr old SE Arab out in the fields (online) and play this with him all the time.
      ******************************
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Neigh-Neigh View Post
        I know a lot of people in this forum don't like Parelli, but "put your nose on this" is a great game to play on the trail, with a distracted horse. I take my playful 2yr old SE Arab out in the fields (online) and play this with him all the time.
        This is total nonsense and has absolutely nothing to do with getting a horse used to riding in company. Dump the kool aid and listen to what Beverley has said, either that or keep teaching your horse how to ride with a group of balls. The issue is not distraction from a person handling him on the ground, the issue is from a rider and no amount of playing checkers with the horse will allow the horse to understand this. They learn by repetition and much of it is desensitization, too much is ascribed to "playing with" the mind of the horse when they learn by associative learned behavior. Different than the way in which a human learns. This is what really drills me about the Parelli business, what would you do in real life, pull out your ball, blow it up and play soccer? You have to work with them in real time within real parameters, the subject is getting a horse that is under saddle to listen to the rider, not a person handling from the ground, big difference. You are the one that has to think, not so much the horse. And yes OP, since the horse did not get to do what he wanted to do, the next best thing is to plant, of course the next thing one always expects from a planted horse is some kind of explosive reaction, that you want to avoid and Beverley has given you great ideas.
        Last edited by Calamber; Oct. 2, 2012, 03:42 PM.
        "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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        • #5
          If the "parelli" suggestion works for your horse, then that is great. It doesnt hurt to try any suggestions from this forum and take it from there. Then maybe your horse will be better on trails/paces next time!!!

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          • #6
            Take a group of friends out in the woods and play the leapfrog game until your horse doesn't care anymore. Start out wherever. Get passed. Life goes on. Pass someone. Life goes on. Get passed. Life goes on. Do it at all gaits and from both directions on both sides of the horse.

            Basically ignore any shenanigans and praise what you do want (proceeding at the requested gait calmly no matter who else is moving where). Don't punish the shenanigans, just ride them out and ignore them.

            This is an issue many horses have on trails, especially if they're newer to trail riding.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by candysgirl View Post
              Take a group of friends out in the woods and play the leapfrog game until your horse doesn't care anymore. Start out wherever. Get passed. Life goes on. Pass someone. Life goes on. Get passed. Life goes on. Do it at all gaits and from both directions on both sides of the horse.

              Basically ignore any shenanigans and praise what you do want (proceeding at the requested gait calmly no matter who else is moving where). Don't punish the shenanigans, just ride them out and ignore them.

              This is an issue many horses have on trails, especially if they're newer to trail riding.
              I was going to suggest exactly this. Do it on a couple hour trail ride with trusted buddies, by the end of the ride he will be so used to horses passing him he won't even think twice!

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              • #8
                You are lucky that all the passing done to you by other horses ( at speed) didn't cause him to have a total meltdown. He actually didn't do too bad and just sounds a bit confused and not knowing what to do or what's expected of him at that moment. Good advice here and I am sure he will get better with every ride.

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                • #9
                  yeah, he just sounds like an inexperienced horse, and you both handled it quite well. Might have gone smoother with a buddy, but too late now.
                  Even with a horse used to trails with a small group, and even after playing leap-frog with said group, the first time you go out on an organized ride, with groups ahead and behind and strange horses all over it's not uncommon for a horse to get a bit confused and distracted.

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                  • #10
                    I agree with the others that you handled the situation quite well. Sounds like his issues were nothing time and trail miles cannot cure. Candysgirl's suggestions were dead on. When on a trail ride we always try to make everyones horses do a little bit of everything (lead, trail and ride the middle of the pack.)

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                    • #11
                      And whle you are at it, yell at the riders passing you at a trot and a canter when they see you having trouble.
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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