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Clumsy on trail - ***Update with Video***

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  • Clumsy on trail - ***Update with Video***

    Remember the lady that fell in the fountain because she was texting and walking? Well, that could be my horse.

    My mare gets distracted easily and that has led to some interesting moments. She will turn her head to look at something while continuing to walk forward so we've had some near collisions with fences etc.

    She doesn't trip over things she just doesn't see stuff because she's so distracted.

    She has this ability to turn her neck nearly 90 degrees and keep walking. I've never seen such a flexible neck before.

    How can I get my window shopper to pay attention?
    Last edited by Scandias; May. 21, 2014, 06:12 PM.

  • #2
    Use racing blinkers??
    Thats what we do for the horses who are too busy wondering whats happening on the other side of the fence/paddock instead of listening.
    if you havent fallen off a horse….then you havent been ridin long enough

    Comment


    • #3
      hahaha, my dog does this exact same thing

      Not that I solved it. I just think it's funny. Her vision is fine; she just gets distracted looking at something behind her while she keeps walking b/c she knows she's supposed to. And then she trips over things. Or I pick her up and "airplane" her over them.

      Comment


      • #4
        Seems like you have two choices.
        1. Don't let her rubberneck as much. If she want to really look at something to the right keep or shorten your left rein enough that she can't turn her head that far. Apply leg to get her paying attention to you and keep moving.
        2. Let her rubberneck but halt her so she gets a good look and when she is focused back on the trail then walk on.

        I tend to use 1 but there are some things I will let Finnegan take a better look at while standing still and then move on.

        To be effective with method 1 you may need to ride with a light contact or shorter rein rather than "on the buckle" so you prevent her from rubbernecking. You don't want her to rubberneck to 90 degrees and then pull her back to center you want to only let her get to 45 degrees or less. (I don't know if you ride western, English or with a hackmore)

        You can also do thing like mini- leg yields, collections and extensions randomly thrown in on the ride so she is paying more attention to you rather that the whole world around her.
        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with SonnysMom, ride with a light contact.

          Another trick is teaching a verbal command to tell her to take a look at the trail. HUH?!? Yes, you can teach this. I learned this from a friend but don't tell her I said so.

          I used to ride with a nearby friend out on trails. I would hear her tell her horse "STEP,STEP!" when there was an obstacle like a log to step over, tree roots, holes, etc. I just shook my head and thought she was silly and paranoid. Of course at that time I rode a calm horse that was really good at watching her footing and following a trail. Then I got a young horse that I had to start under saddle and train for trail/endurance riding. He wasn't watching the ground, was naturally higher head and got distracted easily. I got tired of his tripping over things. I began telling him STEP STEP a couple of strides before trail obstacles, also slowing and giving him a head lower signal with the reins. Being the smart boy that he is he quickly picked up that STEP STEP was a warning to look at the trail, he could trot over those roots and rocks instead of tripping.

          I've since taught this to several horses and it does work quite well. they will bring their faces forward and look at the trail. A GOOD BOY and a brief neck stroke also indicates to them that they did what you wanted.

          On the other hand, mares seem to really be the guard horses of a herd and many of them are very active head turners and watchers. You never know when a mountain lion is sneaking up on you!

          chicamuxen

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I ride English. Ana only has a year under saddle and has only been on a few trail rides by herself. She doesn't turn her head as much when she's in a group, so I think she feels the need to watch for gremlins when she's by herself and that's why she turns her head so much. She's also ueber-social so she will turn her head to look at a horse as we are passing by a paddock or pasture and that's when she's usually running into things. I will try to teach her the STEP command and see if it works. Thanks!

            Comment


            • #7
              we had a similar problem with one of our driving horses

              would focus on something FAAAAR off and not pay attention the right here . . .

              our trainer said to let him look then get his attention back with a half halt or two
              if a polite and gentle one doesn't get him back into your hands then make it more forceful until you have your horse

              you will likely have to ride more "on the bit" for a while til he gets the idea that what you want is the focus and he has to pay attention

              good luck

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2OP...ature=youtu.be

                I caught some of her rubbernecking on camera. You can almost hear her thoughts:

                la, la, la ...going on a trail ride...what's over there...la, la la

                As you can see I have the reins fairly short and she still manages to turn her neck so I use my hands to straighten it back again

                Comment


                • #9
                  Mine does the same thing, and if you let her get so distracted she WILL trip / run into things etc.

                  So, I keep her straight. As soon as she starts rubber necking, I use my LEGS and my reins (I don't put a hand up on the neck like you did) and ask her to PAY ATTENTION to ME!! And walk straight, and look ahead. Thank you!

                  Honestly, I would just be a bit more demanding. Ask her to LISTEN UP when she becomes so distracted.

                  Mine is like yours, LOVES to look at the other horses. If she is being very good, I will be generous and stop, and let her stare for a moment. But then its BACK TO WORK! and I ask her to march, and pay attention to me, and where we are going.
                  APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's funny! But yes when she does that she's ignoring you so a little work is in order - I'd practice upward and downward transitions, a little leg yielding and get after her a little if she rubbernecks so much you have to turn a 360 - nothing extreme, just catch her right when her mind starts to wander and her neck starts to turning, make her think about something else.
                    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                    Incredible Invisible

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scandias View Post
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2OP...ature=youtu.be

                      I caught some of her rubbernecking on camera. You can almost hear her thoughts:

                      la, la, la ...going on a trail ride...what's over there...la, la la

                      As you can see I have the reins fairly short and she still manages to turn her neck so I use my hands to straighten it back again
                      Too funny! Definitely can hear her saying da, da, da, hey guys..whatcha doing?, la, la, la....

                      Considering horses can see very well without moving their necks, she seems like a very curious horse. Or, have you had her vision checked? Is she spooky at all?

                      I'd simply try to keep her straight as possible with leg and rein.

                      BTW: How old is she and how long have you been taking her out to new sites and sounds?
                      MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
                      http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

                      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        She's cute!

                        In a way, it's nice that she's aware of her surroundings. Nothing is going to sneak up on her from far off.

                        When she rubbernecks too much I'd give her a bit of leg and use a calm but stern command, such as "attention," or "working." Even something as short as a little "Eh!"

                        Something to turn her ears back to you and recall her to the fact that you are on her back.

                        She's lovely.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Huntertwo View Post
                          Too funny! Definitely can hear her saying da, da, da, hey guys..whatcha doing?, la, la, la....

                          Considering horses can see very well without moving their necks, she seems like a very curious horse. Or, have you had her vision checked? Is she spooky at all?

                          I'd simply try to keep her straight as possible with leg and rein.

                          BTW: How old is she and how long have you been taking her out to new sites and sounds?
                          Ana will be turning 6 next month. I've only owned her since January and she's only been at this facility since March. I had a PPE done before I purchased her so I don't think it's her sight, she's just super nosy and social. So we are still getting to know each other and the facility grounds. I only ride her on the man-made trails on the property grounds and we call that our "trail" rides. Yes she does spook at pretty common stuff like plastic bags, squirrels, dismantled jumps etc but it's all pretty managable; no bolting or rearing just side-ways jumping and her "you saw that too, right?" stance.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If it is something that bothers you, the fix is to start riding! By that I mean keep her attention on you a bit more by asking for 2 steps of leg yield to the right, stop, back up, walk on, ask for right flexion, 3 steps of leg yield to the left, trot off, trot 6 steps, ask for a good forward walk, trot off, back to the walk, etc, etc (you get the picture )
                            If it doesn't bother you too much, then I would keep the straightness by correcting her with your legs, not your hands. ie - she can look around but she needs to stay straight AND at the speed and direction you chose.
                            "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              She acts green, what Bearcat said is correct, she needs to work, with your seat driving her.
                              "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by BEARCAT View Post
                                If it is something that bothers you, the fix is to start riding! By that I mean keep her attention on you a bit more by asking for 2 steps of leg yield to the right, stop, back up, walk on, ask for right flexion, 3 steps of leg yield to the left, trot off, trot 6 steps, ask for a good forward walk, trot off, back to the walk, etc, etc (you get the picture )
                                If it doesn't bother you too much, then I would keep the straightness by correcting her with your legs, not your hands. ie - she can look around but she needs to stay straight AND at the speed and direction you chose.
                                I was trying to demonstrate how bad she is about going/looking straight so I didn't correct her as much as I usually do. She definitely needs guidance with every step; I can't zone out for even a minute or she will end up falling into a ditch or running into a fence.

                                I started using my hand to correct her neck position because she comes so far above the bit that rein aids don't work very well. She doesn't quite know leg yields yet but we do practice "whoa" on the trail; if all else fails I got to make sure my breaks still work

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  My TB mare used to do this quite a bit although not to the extent of actually running into things. When she would rubber neck, I would stop her, let her look for a second and then say walk up. If she was still rubber necking she would get a tap on the opposite side shoulder and a nudge with my heel to move on. I have also taught my horse the step word to make her aware to watch where she is going and mind her feet.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Scandias View Post
                                    Ana will be turning 6 next month. I've only owned her since January and she's only been at this facility since March. I had a PPE done before I purchased her so I don't think it's her sight, she's just super nosy and social. So we are still getting to know each other and the facility grounds. I only ride her on the man-made trails on the property grounds and we call that our "trail" rides. Yes she does spook at pretty common stuff like plastic bags, squirrels, dismantled jumps etc but it's all pretty managable; no bolting or rearing just side-ways jumping and her "you saw that too, right?" stance.
                                    Given that you've only had her since January and at this particular facility since March, plus only 6 yrs. old makes more sense as to why she is "Rubbernecking". Very pretty facility BTW.

                                    I bought my trail mare when she was 6 yrs. too and it took us time to get used to each other and more importantly; took time for her to trust me and see me as her leader. I think Ana is still relying on her own instincts to keep her safe from "predators" as you are new to her.

                                    Their behavior and thought process is a bit different than ours, but liken it to us relying on a stranger to keep us safe, compared to someone we've known for a long time. Give some time for you two to bond, which requires riding time.

                                    Once she realizes that you're not going to lead her into dangerous situations, hopefully she'll get better.

                                    If you want to go out further on the farm, take her a few extra feet each time out to build her confidence.

                                    Spooking at common stuff? I always say this; but any spook with my mare and we calmly side-pass approx. 5 steps or so. Praise and continue. It took her about one trail ride to realize it was more work to side-pass than just behave and walk on.

                                    Good luck...She is a cutie!
                                    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
                                    http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

                                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      That is great you posted the video!! Ok.. my horse used to do that and still does if I let him. I was getting some lessons on him because of that. He'd walk into trees if I didn't get his head back straight so he'd look where he's going!
                                      Your mare doesn't look afraid at all or stressed. She's just in la la land. Oh look over here and over here..... ha, ha....
                                      The trick is to square her up with your legs and reins as soon as she tips that nose. I was watching the video and saying, "now, now!!!! don't let her tip!!" LOL!!
                                      What my instructor had me do for a long time is you look straight ahead and have that in your head - straight ahead. As soon as she tips her nose in, square her up with your reins and leg forward. It should just be real light pressure on the reins. If her nose tips to the left, pressure on right rein, keep left rein active but just lightly on neck. Your calves should be resting on her sides as you move and bump her slightly with both calves when you square her up with reins. When she moves out forward and straight right after you ask her to - pet her. Rub her on both sides of her neck. Then repeat over and over again. I didn't read all the posts so I don't know if you said how old she is??
                                      Don't even think about it when she does it. They can pick up on that. Just square her up before her nose gets tilted, pet her and be done til she does it again. Then she'll learn what you want without any bracing or anticipating she is doing something really wrong and starts to worry about it.

                                      OH.. just read the post above mine and you've had her only since March and she's only 6. No problem She'll get it fast, have fun with her and just don't let her tip that nose

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My gelding was a rubber necker for the first few seasons of trail riding. I tried to micromanage him, but it took all the pleasure out of a relaxing trail ride. I recently moved to a new barn directly connected to a State Forest. Some of the trails are rocky, rutty , and twist through trees. My horse had to pay attention and after a few months he finally pays attention to where his feet are.

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