• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.

Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

ugh, attempted trail ride with ottb

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • ugh, attempted trail ride with ottb

    I am not sure what I am looking for. Maybe support, maybe ideas, maybe just to vent. I tried to take my ottb out for a trail ride yesterday, and we didn't really make it past grazing by the trailer. He was SO "up" and strong, I was NOT going to push any luck I may have. I felt like the slightest ANYTHING would send him into a complete freak out, causing both of us bodily harm. He is so mellow at home (aside from the occasional spook), but it is quiet there. I guess I would like suggestions in regards to making a horse into a confident, quiet trail horse. What does it take?

  • #2
    Were you by yourself or with other riders? I think it is best to introduce trail riding to your horse with some calm, experienced trail horses to follow. Do you have another horse that your horse is used to? Could someone else ride that horse with you?

    I don't know anything about OTTBs, but I have read on COTH that transitioning them to other disciplines presents some common issues. I would try posting and asking what issues are presented in retraining OTTBs and how to approach overcome those issues.

    Comment


    • #3
      you don't say how long he has been off the track, how old he is, what has he done since leaving the track, what is your riding experience and background?
      I have an OTTB mare that i bought as a 3 year old fresh off the track. She's 17 this year, and served me well as a show horse, trail horse, then a foxhunter, then a fieldmasters horse and then I whipped in off her. Everything I ever had was OTT and I trail rode every single one. By myself. A lot.
      So it's most likely not the OTT part that's the problem.
      You probably need to work with him more.

      IME the most important thing in a good trail horse is he has to have confidence in you in order to have confidence in himself.
      "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

      Comment


      • #4
        What Jaeger said.

        OTTBs have to be *taught* to trail ride; it can be a long process. A lot of them have never been asked to leave the herd before, a lot of them have never had to feel brush & woods closing in on them before. If you can find a rock-solid trail buddy to go out with, that will help tremendously.
        "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          I will try to answer as many questions as I can. He has been off the track for a while. He was at a rescue in a field for five months before I adopted him in September of 2007. We have been creeping along in his training, with me working so hard to understand him. We are doing so great together in the ring. He is one of the best horses I have ever ridden-smart and wants to please. He is quite a confident guy too. When something new is introduced (tarps, bikes, etc), he can't get to it fast enough to explore. He is a big puppy with me now when in his comfort zone. We have had to work through his dominant personality, as I am naturally passive and he is naturally strong-willed. We have come to an understanding though, and although I know it is an ongoing relationship, I feel good about the growth we have made. Realistically, to get on *real* trails, I need to ship him out (which is what we did yesterday), but I am planning to clear the acre of woods behind the barn here, to work on tight spaces, things brushing against his tummy (that really pissed him off yesterday). My expectations were too high I guess. I was hoping for the pussycat I have at home. I hear these wonderful stories of people taking their horses out for the first time, and they are angels. I was hoping that would happen to me! I did go with a been-there-done-that horse, which was good. My boy did settle pretty quickly and relaxed while munching grass. It was anytime we did something -anything else, he would turn into dinosaur-neck monster. I am contemplating sending him to someone who will give him a ton of miles, but I do not have the funds for that now. I also know that *I* am the one who will have to ride him out there eventually. Here is another question; Is it a waste of time to have someone else put mileage on him, when I will ultimately be riding him? I am a *cautious* rider/horse person, but work very hard to present as a confident leader for him (I know someone here mentioned that). I read a lot of Jane Savoie.

          Comment


          • #6
            It's easy to think trail riding is just something you go and do, and there are a *few* horses who just take to it, but most who are happy on the trails got trained to do that and practiced it - maybe when they were young, or with a previous owner.

            It's a whole set of skills - balancing on rough footing, stepping over stuff without tripping, watching where you put your feet, getting used to bushes and birds and logs and deer and water.

            Your guy sounds like a sensible type. I bet with some gradual practice he'll get comfortable and understand what he's supposed to do out there, and you'll have a great time. Just take it in steps, as if you were teaching him how to jump or something. One thing at a time!

            Comment


            • #7
              I've trained several OTTB's to do trails. They make great trail horses, as long as they are sane. Sounds like your guy is sane. You put him into a new environment, he got edgy, you got edgy, and you did the right thing not to proceed with your ride. You could have schooled him in other ways, though.

              If it had been me, I'd have either opted to hand-walk him on the trail or to ride near the trailer for a bit and expand his comfort zone. Generally, I don't get upset much, so some nervousness and shenanigans on the horse's part are met with calm. Eventually, they get that it is no big deal if the rider continues to act like it is no big deal. I'm a confident rider, and that confidence transfers to the horse. Sometimes it takes a while.

              Since you two are not at that point right now, it might be wise to try going out with an experienced trail horse. Either that, or go out with the intention of hand-walking the whole way and only consider mounting up when you are both calm and relaxed. I've done that with young, barely broke horses on their early outings. So far so good.

              It has been my experience that OTTB's are great with any kind of machinery. Natural stuff that other horses take for granted seem to come alive when they see an OTTB. I swear my last OTTB wouldn't turn a hair if a firetruck barreled down the trail, sirens screaming. But OMG! A boulder? Has to be a lion! Fallen tree? Hiding a crocodile! And stream crossings had to be built up by width, from narrow to wide as though he'd never seen water before. For a while he seemed to think that one noisy stream was stalking him as the trail would veer away and come back where we could hear it. Once we got through that stuff he was wonderful on the trail. And in case you are wondering, the first few times I took him out on the trail he ran backwards, when he wasn't bucking. (Idiot that I am, took him to a trail that was within sight of the barn he used to race from. Duh.) It worked out. We stuck with walking for the first few rides until he got the hang of it.

              I've taken others directly off the track and onto the trail without any bother at all. The horse mentioned above was only ridden a few time in an enclosure before I took him out on the trail. Again, I have a knack for staying calm no matter what the horse does. And if I can't? It's time to dismount rather than wreck.
              "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."

              Comment


              • #8
                I've had several OTTBs. What I've found is that although they are used to all kinds of equipment and man made commotion, horse eating chipmunks, ducks and large rocks can be terrifying . It's all what they're used to.

                I don't always have the luxury of riding with other, more experienced, trail horses when I restart mine. Often I start by hand walking them so that they 1) feel more comfortable and 2) bond with me. One of the big issues is to get them to depend on me to be the leader. I also prefer to start them on trails through the woods rather than in open fields. EVen when I start riding them, I will dismount and lead them by, through or over really scary things. I used to consider it an accomplishment if I only got off once.

                As a side note, sometimes when you take out an OTTB it helps for to go first. My current OTTB hated, hated, hated to go behind another horse. For the first couple of years I had him he would throw a tantrum or jig when I asked him to follow but was happy as a clam to go first. Once he got used to the idea that he didn't have to "win" every ride he settled in. These days he goes anywhere in a group and is even foxhunting first flight. So, it does get better!

                Good luck!
                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wasn't going to mention it unless someone else did, but I too am a big fan of leading and (in my case) ground driving on the trails at first. I'm 51 and break too easily for much else!
                  "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would have an experienced trail rider take him out on the trails with a group of old packers keeping him company. Your anxieties about how he is going to behave are probably not helping things.

                    I bought a barely broken 4 year old 2 years ago. I got my daughters and their friends to take him out on his first few trail rides because I am a chicken. My chicken tendencies could have made him a chicken. I also had an event trainer work with my horse twice a month for several months. Schooling cross country is particularly good for some horses who need to become braver in the open.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I just want to sympathize. I have a horse who I'm afraid to take trail riding. That's not to say I never take him; but I take him with great caution. Not every horse is ready to go trail riding every day. It can be really scary for the horse. And if not scary, then energizing and exciting. When my guy was 20 (!) I took him to a trainer for a month to work specifically on trail riding. She took him or us out on the trails every day, and it was quite an experience. And while it truly did help us both, it did not result in calm, relaxing trail rides from then on.

                      Much sympathy.
                      Last edited by Cindyg; Apr. 25, 2012, 10:57 PM.
                      I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have had several OTTBs like matryoshka described.
                        Never bat an eye at screaming fast traffic, heavy equipment, bells and horns and whistles, but quiver at the sight of a grasshopper or blowing leaves.
                        Some OTTBs were never farmed raised, they are essentially raised in the track environment.
                        I had one that in 10 years never failed to snort at a lightning killed tree that we passed on every ride, but he did become a great trail horse fairly quickly.
                        Think of all the desensitizing people do with horses for plastic bags and noisy trucks and air brakes....you just have to do some of that only for grass and grasshoppers and things moving in the bushes.
                        A friend with a dependable, unflappable trail horse is your best training equipment, and you being confident (fake it if you have to) is the next thing you need.
                        Nina's Story
                        Epona Comm on FB

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I know what you mean! I'm not far behind you.

                          I also ground drive but that's a whole 'nother post. Also, I find that at least at the beginning, a nervous horse likes to have you right their to share your bravery.

                          Back to the OP, I have never had a horse that didn't settle into trail riding. Some stayed on high alert, but they all seemed to enjoy it. My current OTTB trail rides on the buckle now. No jigging, very little spooking and a lot of curiosity. In the beginning I also only walk. My experience is that OTTBs need to learn that it's okay to go slowly. It's not what they are used to, so they need to be taught.

                          Originally posted by War Admiral View Post
                          Wasn't going to mention it unless someone else did, but I too am a big fan of leading and (in my case) ground driving on the trails at first. I'm 51 and break too easily for much else!
                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My one-eyed OTTB served me well on the trails- he was better solo, actually, in a group, he really needed to be on the lead because he thought he was Secretariat.

                            Your idea to get someone to put some trail rides on him is, I think, a good one. I say this for two reasons, based on what you've posted. First, he'll get farther faster with a confident rider as 'leader' to get him past the horse eating rocks, and all the lions and tigers and bears out there. Second, the rider can brief you on 'how' he reacts in the face of new surprises on the trail, and so you can be better informed, and thus better equipped, on how to ride him. Even better, if that person after some number of rides can accompany you a few times during transition to give you some tips.

                            I would also suggest that before your next attempt, you work him in the ring at home, which will both take any 'edge' off and give him a start within the familiar, and then haul out for a brief trail ride.

                            And, a final tip- obviously you know your horse better than I do, but I can tell you that my horse, when faced with a scary object (or a horse galloping away from him or passing at the trot), would hold his breath, raise his head, become two inches taller at the withers, feel like he was about to turn into a volcano and then...do...absolutely...nothing. Once you find that sort of thing out about a horse, really, pretty much no worries.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My Tb is not OT, but I purchased her as an untrained yearling. I did lots of ground work with her including trail walks with me leading her. She inititally was a show horse and kind of spooky.In hind sight I attribute the spookiness to more stall time, more feed. Then we got tired of the show stuff and she became my old lady horse. I joined a riding club and have been trying all sorts of stuff the last few years. When I started trail riding her, I initially did the trail walk thing leading her to see how she would react to stuff( since it had been awhile for trail encounters). After doing this several times I started riding her. I usually didn't have a steady eddie to go with us. If I got nervous about how she was acting, I would get off and lead her and she usually settled pretty quickly. I did lots of bombproofing both at clinics and at home. Being an older person who doesn't bounce, I wanted her to be as unreactive as possible. Another thing I do is use ear pom poms. It was something that had started when she was showing and I just continued it. The other changes in her routine is that she lives out 24/7 and she gets much less grain than she did when showing. I could probably do without the ear pompoms, but hey it's a cheap crutch...hehe. These days we do lots of trail riding( at least 2-3 times a month at area parks). This weekend I am going camping in the mountains with my horse. I went a couple of weeks ago and she was great. Good luck.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by matryoshka View Post
                                I've trained several OTTB's to do trails. They make great trail horses, as long as they are sane. Sounds like your guy is sane. You put him into a new environment, he got edgy, you got edgy, and you did the right thing not to proceed with your ride. You could have schooled him in other ways, though.

                                If it had been me, I'd have either opted to hand-walk him on the trail or to ride near the trailer for a bit and expand his comfort zone. Generally, I don't get upset much, so some nervousness and shenanigans on the horse's part are met with calm. Eventually, they get that it is no big deal if the rider continues to act like it is no big deal. I'm a confident rider, and that confidence transfers to the horse. Sometimes it takes a while.

                                Since you two are not at that point right now, it might be wise to try going out with an experienced trail horse. Either that, or go out with the intention of hand-walking the whole way and only consider mounting up when you are both calm and relaxed. I've done that with young, barely broke horses on their early outings. So far so good.

                                I've taken others directly off the track and onto the trail without any bother at all. The horse mentioned above was only ridden a few time in an enclosure before I took him out on the trail. Again, I have a knack for staying calm no matter what the horse does. And if I can't? It's time to dismount rather than wreck.
                                Wish someone like you were closer! I wouldn't say that riding a more experienced horse would do much. I have been riding forever, but am just a cautious/conservative/chicken by nature. This guy has brought me further though, than any other horse in my riding, as green as he is.

                                I did venture a bit away from the trailer. We (me and my friend with the steady eddie) took turns going around the parking area. Then we went through the gate (WAAAAHHH! What was that? Let's get out of here!!), and let them eat grass in the field for a bit. During this part, he was pretty naughty.

                                It is nice to hear that you guys have had positive experiences. Thanks!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I had my ottb out on a trailride and he was doing quite well. Until I fed him an apple off a tree we passed. (he is completely crazy for apples) He was chewing on half and had to walk over a small grass covered hump in a hedgerow. Apparently he couldn't walk and chew at the same time since he FELL DOWN
                                  to his knees. It was only about six inches high and gradual and not hidden. He had been over ditches,creeks, down gulleys, over logs so it wasn't like this was a big thing for him. Just got too excited about that darned apple...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    If you go to CANTER Midatlantic, there are all sorts of OTTB training blogs.... and many tales of trail rides. In general they seem to go out in small groups and get on with it. I think in those situations YOU have to be the leader and stay relaxed. In some of their examples, a horse that starts out hot might need a good trot to blow off steam.

                                    My horse is long off the track and is very pleasant on trails by herself and in a very small group with her leading. She sometimes needs to stop and look at things and can get "dinosaur head". But she is reliable provided I stay calm (I sing to myself if I get nervous).

                                    I think- great idea to have someone else ride him out. Sometimes a person who can chuckle at the hijinx can get a horse over a hump. And its totally understandable to think that heading down a trail on a snort jumpy beast is a bad decision. I'm a nervous rider as well. Having a person try something on her first has been a good system. She gets the best ride possible and when I get back on, I know she will be just fine.

                                    Oh, and last summer, I moved to a barn with trails. The first month I would not leave the ring. Then I rode back to the barn. Then I tried a short trail, then a longer. Within a two months I was out on the power line right of way solo cantering up hills.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Hey, you did alright! I tried to ride my OTTB around the pasture as our "intro to trailriding" and we had a rodeo! I swear, he went up and down vertically more than he went forward once we got 50 yards from the barn. So we have done and continue to do - lots of hand leading in the pasture. (and he is getting lower protein grain and less of it too) We are slowly working up to farther and farther away from the barn.

                                      When he is not paying attention to me and gets chargey or whatever other badness he is up to that day, he gets to move backwards IN A BIG OL' HURRY. Then we lead some more. It has been slow going, but that is what this horse apparently needs. I don't get why he can go out and walk all over this friggin pasture all by himself and calmly graze, but if he is on a lead or under tack, he is a nut. Oh well, such is how he is. And no, he is not a nut being led around the barn or the ring, in the ring under tack he is a push ride!! My horse is a man of mystery, that is for sure!

                                      My former OTTB was a fabulous trailhorse. They can indeed be wonderful trailhorses. My guy was the go-to guy who always led any nervous nellies past killer rocks, killer bread bags, whatever. With one single exception - COWS!!!!! I never got him ok around cows. He even managed pigs.... but never cows.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Hay

                                        Another thing I wanted to point out is to take your time. Maybe on day 1, all you do is saddle up and ride to the trailer you mentioned, touch the trailer with his nose and then go home. Do the same thing day 2. Keep doing this and then on day 10 maybe you go 10 feet further. Horse training is not a race and sometimes backing off and doing things slowly will work better for both your confidence and your horse's.

                                        Also, do all this after schooling in the ring in his comfort zone. He'll be a wee bit more tired and you'll have a bit more confidence after schooling...
                                        Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
                                        One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
                                        Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X