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Ace for a trail ride? Not feeling this so much.

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  • Ace for a trail ride? Not feeling this so much.

    I took my just turned 3 yr old tb gelding for a short trail ride yesterday with 4 other horses. I worked him in ring 1st and he was quiet as could be.My gelding has been out a handful or so of times and tends to get overwhelmed sometimes. He will jump around and toss his head, nothing horrendous for a young guy in my thoughts. Well the group of horses consisted of a new mare and a paint pony my horse is fascinated with so that alone was reason for distraction. Then several of them decided to trot ahead of us and then went out of view. A fellow rider hung back with me but when we caught up to the others, my guy had melt down jumping and spinning and plowing through all my aids. I hopped off and hand walked him until the other finished cantering around and left then got on and walked him around the field we were in twice and he was fine. One of the girls I was with later suggested I ace him next time we go out in a group and I am honestly annoyed that she would suggest such a thing. He is just 3, hasn't been out in a group that large, has never walked that particular field, and am fully annoyed that everyone knew I was coming out well before the ride and several still felt it was ok to trot and canter their horses while mine was having a melt down. Ugh. Does anyone think that ace is an appropriate solution here? I am not sure how my horse will learn to act correctly by using a sedative. Yes, it would make my life less stressful on a ride like that but I feel like it is unsafe and not fair to my guy.
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Ace for a trail ride? Not feeling this so much.

    I took my just turned 3 yr old tb gelding for a short trail ride yesterday with 4 other horses. I worked him in ring 1st and he was quiet as could be.My gelding has been out a handful or so of times and tends to get overwhelmed sometimes. He will jump around and toss his head, nothing horrendous for a young guy in my thoughts. Well the group of horses consisted of a new mare and a paint pony my horse is fascinated with so that alone was reason for distraction. Then several of them decided to trot ahead of us and then went out of view. A fellow rider hung back with me but when we caught up to the others, my guy had melt down jumping and spinning and plowing through all my aids. I hopped off and hand walked him until the other finished cantering around and left then got on and walked him around the field we were in twice and he was fine. One of the girls I was with later suggested I ace him next time we go out in a group and I am honestly annoyed that she would suggest such a thing. He is just 3, hasn't been out in a group that large, has never walked that particular field, and am fully annoyed that everyone knew I was coming out well before the ride and several still felt it was ok to trot and canter their horses while mine was having a melt down. Ugh. Does anyone think that ace is an appropriate solution here? I am not sure how my horse will learn to act correctly by using a sedative. Yes, it would make my life less stressful on a ride like that but I feel like it is unsafe and not fair to my guy.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Oops! Posted 2x by accident darn phone

      Comment


      • #4
        Wellll....there's a big time h/j barn in San Diego that aces their horses before trail rides and sometimes for lessons. So it's part of their program.

        But....a better way to give your young horse lasting confidence on trails is to find a quiet horse that he can ponied from. The confidence horses teach one another is far better than what we can do. Both my show horses were brought up this way by the breeding farm and they've grown up to be very reliable on trails.

        If a pony horse isn't available, find another quiet horse/rider combination that will go out with you - and stay with you - for short walks. As your horse gets more confident, increase the time on the trail.

        He's just a baby, and needs a solid citizen to help him. Not drugs.

        Just MHO.

        Comment


        • #5
          Can you take your guy out with 1 or 2 steady horses who's riders will be aware and OK with a slow, easy ride? See how he does in a smaller, quieter group and go from there. It may have been too much stimuli and therefore led to a lousy experience. IMO, some horses just don't like trail rides but should still learn to behave properly as they get more mileage, just like anything else!

          Comment


          • #6
            IMO no ace is never a good idea. I would pick a couple of understanding people to go out with in the future.

            Time and training is your friend, not drugs. Those people did nothing to help the situation and it was dangerous of them to act that way with another horse having a melt down, age and training level has nothing to do with THEIR behavior.

            Go out and enjoy your boy with a different set of people.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would not. I will not ride any of my horses aced or drugged. I know people do it but on a trail where they need to really be aware of footing is just to dangerous IMO. I would start hand walking him out. Even by yourself. Take him out on the trail hand walking. Take some treats. If he gets upset and nervous and starts to act up talk to him, pet him, give him a treat. If there is grass out there see if he will eat a bit. Try to let him know that the trail will not be his death and nothing is going to eat him. After a few sessions of hand walking if he seems good try going out again. I will carry treats also when riding ESP a nervous horse. Give him a treat every so often on the trail. Let him realize that he is ok and doing a good job. This has always seemed to work for me and my horses. Sometimes some horses just do not like the trails and it won't work but usually if you can get them to relax and trust you instead of their own agenda the will be happy to go out.
              Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

              Comment


              • #8
                Would you consider taking a psychotropic to ease up anxiety during a stressful situation? Bc that's essentially what you'd be doing with ACE. just like taking any other drug or medication there are a host of unknowns and dangers. ACE is pretty heavy duty and has the possibility for a number of negative side effects. But there's as many less dangerous natural calmers on the market as there are horses out there. It couldn't hurt to try one of those along with going out with a trusted rider and horse pair next time. If he's a little calmer he's more apt to listen to you for guidance. Some have tryptophan in them so think of yourself after thanksgiving dinner!
                Last edited by Ruby2shoes; May. 27, 2013, 11:13 AM. Reason: Auto correct strikes again

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ace is a sedative, not an anti-anxiety drug, so I'm not sure its fair to compare the two.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Um what do you think anti anxiety drugs are? Some are nothing but mild sedatives. Depending on how much ACE you give it's pretty comparable.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      He was cool as a cucumber once the others left and it was just me and another rider who was very understanding. Her horse is one of my horse's pasture pals and they get along well. My guy seems to enjoy the ride once he settles and I think the fact he was able to pull it together pretty quickly after being so wound up says a lot. I don't want to be closed minded to opinions but I felt using ace was quite a jump since he hasn't been out much and he is so young.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ace has a place but it's not in OPs example. Her colt is just not ready for what she asked, something he is not used to doing in a larger group then he was used to in a field he had never been in with, apparently, a few holes left in his basic training that need to be addressed before OP puts him in a similar situation.

                        I dunno when we started reaching for the needle with simple young horse training problems. Rehabs, horses that are terrified after bad experiences, horses that do have all the basics mastered and are competently ridden but get overanxious to the point of disobedience for whatever reason? Yeah, a little Ace.

                        Introducing the still green youngster progressing at a satisfactory rate to new experiences? Correcting minor bad behavior that OP was able to control and end up fine? NO. Colt learned something and OP knows it's back to the drawing board to fix the underlying training issues. Not stick him to mask the lack of basics and kick the can down the road until next time...and maybe next stick.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I completely agree with you. It's the company you're keeping. Let him go out with a steady eddy and take your time to build your horse. You sound like you're skilled enough to handle his nerves so I vote no on the drugging.

                          Paula
                          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I will ace a horse for rehab rides only - where the horse needs to walk or walk/trot only (or the beginning stages of starting back in canter work) on a very regimented schedule and has been out of work for a long time. And that is done in an arena, with uniform footing and no distractions.

                            I would never ace a horse to trail ride. Too much uneven footing, and too much possibility for spooky things (horses can "blow through" ace if something lights them up, and it is NOT a good situation).

                            I would just ride him selectively on trails with trusted friends who will agree ahead of time to take things slow and help you get some good, calm experiences for your young horse.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I will not ride any of my horses aced or drugged.
                              Concur. I know people do, but it's not a risk I'm prepared to take.

                              On trails, I rely on my horse's judgment to a certain extent. You're sometimes faced with unknown footing, in a strange area, lots of potential surprises. Your horse can hear much better than you can, and has a much better idea of how well he can navigate certain types of footing. My horse also pays attention to the sounds of people approaching, vehicles overtaking us on the trails (or meeting us) and when we're in a group, he is often more aware of the other horses' behaviours...he'll avoid a horse getting ready to have a meltdown.

                              To me, a good trail horse is marked by that good judgment...I would never want to impair that with drugs.

                              The other side of it, for me, is if your horse is "ok" under the influence of the drug, but untrustworthy off it...suppose you're out riding a little longer than expected? What happens when he starts to come out of it? Now you're far away and your horse is starting to come apart. Do you give him more and hope that it doesn't dull him excessively?

                              I think the fact he was able to pull it together pretty quickly after being so wound up says a lot
                              Yup. Says a lot for you and him. Sounds like you are confident in the direction you're going and satisfied with progress thus far. No need to change.

                              I am honestly annoyed that she would suggest such a thing
                              Understandably, although if I got annoyed at every stupid suggestion people have made to me, I'd enjoy riding a lot less. Sometimes you just have to be smugly content with your own choices, let stupidity be its own reward for people like that.
                              Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                He's only 3. Plan these experiences ahead of time. Choose a rider or two that you trust, and who agree to just walk/whatever you need. Make sure they are mounted on quiet, older horses who won't join in if your horse starts things.

                                Skip trail rides with this group for a year or so while your horse gets his bearings.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Quick addition, getting a hot, green horse trail ready can be a bit of a challenge...picking your ride partners is important. Definitely wouldn't head out with this group again, and since your horse seems to get distracted/overwhelmed, keeping the group small, to two or three, is probably the best strategy. He'll get solid and then you can re-introduce the bigger groups.
                                  Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Ace wears off. Particularly in the .5 to 1 cc dose preferred to take just the edge off and leave the horse aware and coordinated. Any less does just about zippo. Any more (other then for a big beefy horse) and they lose awareness and sometimes motor skills. IME you got 15 minutes for it to fully take effect and 30 minutes or so before it fades. So if you got a real problem with trail riding farther then a few hundred yards from the barn? Not a great choice.

                                    If the horse behaves longer then that? It really was existing training and not the Ace so they very likely would have been fine without it with just a little warm up or lunge.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I wouldn't waste my time being annoyed that someone else offered you training advice. That could be LTD, Drugs, Never Leave The Ring, all kinds of Mouth Hardware or whatever.

                                      "Take what you like and leave the rest" works well.

                                      Others here will offer advice for solving your problem. But as I read your post, you didn't ask for advice. Nor do you consider a 3 year old OTTB being a wigger on his first group trail ride a problem. You have a plan for training him and you are happy with it, right? Or did you ask us/Ace Chick for input?
                                      The armchair saddler
                                      Politically Pro-Cat

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        OK, Monday morning quarterbacking is easy so I will go ahead and do it: sorry you had the bad experience. 1) I would never take a youngster out with a group without previously establishing with all group members what the game plan was. 2) it was incredibly rude for this group to move off at any speed while you were dealing with a meltdown; but there are a lot of clueless idiots out there (hence I am very picky about who I trail ride with) 3) I don't think ace is a great training tool, it might help you get through the ride but in my experience they don't retain much of the experience. For example, using ace while clipping a horse doesn't seem to make them any better about clipping the next time. I'm not anti ace and I know plenty of people who start out the hunt with a little dose, I just don't believe in it for training my own horses. 4) 3 is very young and I think lots of outdoor exposure with a few steady eddies and a solid ride plan each time will get you where you want to be over time. JMO

                                        Best of luck to you!

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