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question for endurance /trail riders

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  • question for endurance /trail riders

    Hi stupid question here.

    I have a pretty herd bound horse that just can't be schooled as a hunter or ridden and trained in a ring anymore.

    My question is when you go for endurance is everyone out there together and are you mainly in sight of other horses?

    I have no idea how to market this horse to sell him and need ideas. Are there any endurance competitions in which you go out as a team?

    In competitive trail riding do people go out in the woods together and then not stay together? Do they branch off and meet later in the end?

    I don't think my horse will go for getting left alone in the woods, so I need to figure out a way to have him become a trail horse. I have taken him out with another horse and he is great but I have never taken him out alone and not sure what he would do.

    thanks for any advice. And again sorry for all the stupid questions

  • #2
    I've never done one, but how about Hunter Paces? You team up with someone else and do the course.

    But, I don't know if he would be marketable as just a horse who can do Hunter Paces. Hopefully someone will chime in who knows more about them.

    Maybe a Fox Hunter prospect?

    Have you tried taking him out on the trails alone? Many horses are not crazy about it at first. But, I usually will go out a few feet and when I feel his/her comfort level diminishing I stop, stand, then turn around and head for the ring. I never like to go right back to the barn, as they may tend to *rush* through their trail ride.

    Go out a few feet further each day and repeat. Although some horses I've owned just didn't have the *alone* thing in them. And no matter how hard I tried, they were still nervous by themselves.

    Actually I had a Gelding who was worse with other horses. Maybe give your guy a chance to go out alone and he may surprise you.
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

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


    • #3
      Maybe I'm confused here...
      you have a horse that is sour- completely..
      and you seem to think that makes him an endurance horse?


      Spend the time to reschool the horse correctly.

      endurance horses believe it or not- are actually athletes. not a bunch a ring sour horses gallivanting down the trail in a big happy party group.
      Originally posted by ExJumper
      Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.


      • #4
        Market him based on his strengths...hopefully, he has some. If he's mainly an arena horse, you need to market him based on on whatever level of training he has in the arena--western or english...walk trot canter...knows his leads...whatever.

        Do not market him as an endurance or competitive trail horse if he's that herd sour. Might be hard to market him as a trail horse either unless he's super solid on the trails with other horses. There are a lot of trail riders that do not ride alone. Be honest about his being herd sour, price him realistically, and see how it goes.


        • Original Poster


          Hunter, AR, and Aventura thanks so much.

          Hunter, I would love to hear more hunter about reschooling your herd bound mare. In my experience herd bound horses are the toughest to train.


          Sorry I didn't make myself a little clearer. I have no idea what will make an endurance horse. This is why I said "asking stupid question".

          I NEVER said this horse was sour in the ring. But I am not about to go into what his issues are either.

          I have spent over a YEAR reschooling him PROPERLY.He for certain would have been eaten in Europe had I not taken him on.

          I could write a book about the retraining of this horse. I have had YEARS of saving rogue horses most of which I am sure you would never swing a leg over.

          And guess what? I did HAVE a clue that endurance horses are athletes, which this horse is, which again is why I came here for help, not sarcasm. Seriously

          I am trying to find a place or a job for this horse. He isn't sour, he has now become a safe reliable mount. He also is quite an athlete is very smart and sweet.

          Now I am looking to find him a job in which he might be suited. And trying to educate myself in the different out of the ring careers for horses, which I have no experience in.
          thanks again


          • #6
            Try him on the trail with an older quiet horse for a few times and then take him out alone on the same trail. If he does ok with that, market him as a pleasure/family trail riding horse. I have seen horses marketed as being quiet followers, not prefering to lead the ride. Actually, I would want a follower for my hubby, who would never go out alone or without me.
            There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.


            • Original Poster


              I have thought of doing the same trail that I have done with his pal that used to go out with us.

              Its too bad I have to trailer anywhere, but that maybe a good thing since he isn't really leaving the barn. I am going to try him this week.

              Oddly enough he is very brave on the trails and never spooky. He likes to lead and is pretty forward and fun to ride.

              thanks again


              • #8
                Good for you.

                I think it is a good idea to findout what each horse is good at because it is much more fun to go to work at what you are good at and what you like. ( humans and horses alike.) Also it makes the things we don't love more bearable to have fun stuff in life.


                • #9
                  I agree with GTD. A competetive trail ride would be more suitable for a horse that likes/needs to be with other horses. I went to one at Fair Hill last week without anybody else to ride with. They sent us out in groups of three (we had four in our group). My little mare adopted the other horses as our herd and kept up with them, even when I wanted to let them speed ahead. She's a follower, not a leader, but I can take her out on the trail alone and she does just fine.

                  If you want to market your horse as a CTR horse, take him on a ride and get some ride photos. The little mare I ride is owned by Equihab, and she's been up for adoption for over a month with only one person coming to look at her. After we completed the ride, the phone rang off the hook and I've got appointments for 5 different people to look at her this week. The trouble we're going to have is choosing which home is the best match for the mare!

                  Besides, if you try a CTR, you might get hooked...

                  There's all sorts of information available about conditioning your horse for a ride. You'll need to find somebody to train with, though, or figure out how to get him on the trail alone.
                  "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                  • Original Poster

                    sounds like fun


                    He is an unraced TB without a tattoo. I never did get his papers. I am not sure about the distance,the longest I have ever stayed out is around 3 hours.

                    He is pretty fit but I am sure I have a lot to learn about conditioning.

                    I am going to go to one of our local NE boards and see if I can find a group or association. Maybe this is something I need to try for myself before I decide to sell him.
                    The money isn't important to me, I want this horse to be happy, I love him and have been through a lot with him. His welfare is the issue here, he is a special needs type ( mentally) and I have to make sure he is with the right owner.

                    I can't thank all of you enough , I am sure I will be back with more questions!
                    I will keep you all posted


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by vestito View Post

                      I have thought of doing the same trail that I have done with his pal that used to go out with us.

                      Its too bad I have to trailer anywhere, but that maybe a good thing since he isn't really leaving the barn. I am going to try him this week.

                      Oddly enough he is very brave on the trails and never spooky. He likes to lead and is pretty forward and fun to ride.

                      thanks again
                      Well being brave and not spooky is a good start.. You may want to go with his pal a maybe one or two times to get him used to the trail, but not many more otherwise he'll will become too dependent on his friend being around and he'll just be herd bound again.

                      On your other post, my mare wasn't herd bound. I just search high and low for a good trail horse and found her in Vermont.

                      When I first got her, we both weren't sure about each other and that is when each time I went out, we went a few feet stopped and turned around and did some ring work.

                      Now I can take her somewhere completely new and she willingly goes alone.

                      We also did a lot of ground work in the ring with tarps, garbage cans, dragging ground poles with ropes..etc. (on foot)
                      I covered her with tarps, put plastic garbage cans under her belly. I ride Western so I looped a rope around my horn just once and tied the other end to a ground pole. I walked her around on foot dragging the poles, letting the rope put pressure on her butt.

                      Again, I would hand walk her on the trail and toss rocks/sticks behind her into the woods to get her used to startling noises. Dragged branches behind her, letting them brush against her legs.

                      I think the above things did wonders for her confidence on the trail. Its not just about going out alone, but also you want to make sure your horse isn't going to bolt if a turkey, deer pops out, or if branches brush against his legs etc.

                      Hope that helps a bit..
                      MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

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


                      • #12
                        We have ridden competitive trail for over 15 years, you can either ride alone or with others if you want, there isn't any requirement.

                        From our experence, a herd bound horse normally will not do very well as they tend to fail the P&Rs


                        • #13
                          I have an OTTB that I worked with dressage for about 3 years. She couldn't handle the mental strain. Tried jumping- she was pretty average but a little too high strung. Then I took her trail riding and then camping. My stabled-off the track horse found her nitch. Here was a horse who couldn't be tied who now stands for days hi-lined. Here's a horse who freaked when she saw her first cow who now doesn't even shy at wild life. She swims, herds cattle can handle all ATV vehicles. Dirt bikes can fire up right next to her and she doesn't even flinch. Horses adjust. They are highly adaptable. I'm sure your herd bound horse can overcome his dependency. My horses do not like to be separated. However, they will. You sound experienced and if you feel this horse's qualities would make a quality endurance horse, go for it.


                          • #14
                            I'm doing distance with my OTTB as well. We haven't done a complete ride (had to pull out of our one and only ride for other reasons), so I don't know if he'll pulse down yet. I've taken several OTTB's and trained them for the trail. All have done well, and only one didn't seem to like it. She was good on the trail, she just isn't very happy out there. It's a subtle thing, and I like my trail horses to enjoy their jobs.

                            I've taken all of mine out alone pretty early in the game. Mostly because I had nobody to ride with, but it gets them more independent quickly. If you can ride through your horse's nervousness without making him more scared, you'll be surprised at how fast he'll come around. One thing I've noticed about OTTB's: a motorbike or gaitor can speed along the trail and they don't batt an eye, but a fallen tree? OMG! Crossing streams the first time can be fun, too, if you haven't already done it with your horse. Allow plenty of time to get him used to natural obstacles. This kind of thing tickles my funny bone, so it doesn't bother me to school them on the trail.

                            I was talking to a friend of mine who events, and she was asking about CTR and endurance. She thinks it might make a nice break for her horses and be fun as well. She knows somebody who did 100 milers on his OTTB's, so it is possible.

                            I don't expect my guy to finish in the top 10, ever, but I'm one of those "to finish is to win" riders.
                            "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                            • Original Poster

                              you all have been great and so informative!

                              I have a much better idea of the direction I need to go in now.

                              I am going to check out the trail riding in my area.

                              Hunter I LOVED the training ideas you used on your mare.
                              Daisy I totally agree with you, when you just keep at it they will get used to anything. After reading your post I do believe that there is hope for my boy with this especially tying him which was a huge issue when I got him.

                              I have had to think outside the box with a number of horses too. It's so rewarding when you have to create methods that fix, solve and result in a trusting horse. I love it!

                              You all have me thinking that I need to try CTR. I spent the weekend at a h/j show and although it was fun to watch. I just don't think I can have fun in that environment.

                              I think it will be full circle and back in the woods where I started 35 years ago.

                              I will be back with more questions. I hope here in New England I can find a good place to start.


                              • #16
                                Tying help

                                I used a blocker tie ring to get my OTTB's to tie. Only one arrived that was used to tying. The others would go to the end of the line and then swing their heads to break the halter. The blocker tie ring allows the line to move through the ring, but slowly. They can't get enough tension to purposely break the halter, and if it is a true spook, they usually settle before they get to the end of the lead (I use extra long leads and knot the end so they don't get totally loose).

                                One of the newer OTTB rescues must have had great success at breaking away from ties, because he still persists even with the blocker. If I did it more often, I think he'd settle down.

                                Even Butch learned to stand tied nicely at the trailer. It took me a while, but I worked at it one step at a time. He gets soaked hay pellets before and after a ride, so it encourages him to stand there patiently and I know he isn't dying of hunger. He's got to get through about 3 inches of water in order to get to the pellets, so it also helps hydrate him. He has learned to drink on the trail, but that took a while, too. It's been very rewarding to work with him through all of his little issues.
                                "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                                • Original Poster


                                  What is a blocker ring?

                                  Is it the tie ring that looks like it's made from a snaffle bit?

                                  Do you use one on your trailer and attach it to the tie ring on the trailer?
                                  I think that is a great idea using the soaker pellets.

                                  I am going on a ten mile trail ride to start with in three weeks. I am going to see how this old body holds up.

                                  It's not a CTR just some type of fund raiser.


                                  • #18
                                    Here's a web site that shows them:


                                    I have it attached to my trailer (a Brenderup) for tying. Since my trailer is light weight, I was a bit paranoid that a spooking horse could pull it over. I found that it is good for those hard-to-tie horses who like to break shanks and halters.

                                    I discovered the trick of soaking hay pellets after Butch colicked following a ride on a hot spring day. He still wasn't drinking from streams much, and he refused the water I brought along after the ride. Then he colicked later. So, I give him hay pellets with a couple inches of water over them and some electrolytes added in before the ride. He now drinks during and after a ride, and he still gets more hay pellets with several inches of water over them after the ride. He's a hard keeper, so I keep him hydrated and replaced used-up calories at the same time. I did have to teach him that there were hay pellets under the water at first. Now he really looks forward to his "slurry". It's become a ritual for us that he seems to find calming. I'm hoping it will work to help him pulse down during holds at rides. OTTB's seem to respond well to routines, even if it is just doing things in a certain order.

                                    Let us know how your ride goes. Distance riding is addictive!
                                    "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                                    • Original Poster

                                      thanks for the link


                                      thanks for that link. I have one of those in my barn that a former boarder put up. I am going to go to the link and see exactly how it should be used.

                                      Maybe I will get another at the Equine Affaire coming next month. I can use it for my trailer.

                                      thanks again for all the tips. I am heading off to ride!