First Trail Ride

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First Trail Ride

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:16 pm

Dear Panel,
I have a gaited horsethat has just come back from 60 days with a professional trainer. I am going to be taking her on her first trail ride soon. I will be riding with several other people, so we won't be alone. Do you have any advice? I want my horse to have a good experience.


Thank you!
~Adrianne
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Re: First Trail Ride

Post by Susan Brown on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:38 pm

SUSAN: Adrianne,
My advice to you is not to take your first trail ride out with several people. The more horses on the ride, the more "herd-like" the ride will be to your horse, and this can bring forth his we wish to suppress. He will likely be uncertain of his social standing in the herd, making him nervous and flighty. He can become fearful of being left behind from the herd, or feel threatened by the number of horses around him. This can lead to "jig jog" gaits or what may appear to be "stubbornness". My recommendation is to go out with one other horse for a short trail ride first. Go with a horse that is calm, and preferably one your horse knows. Then you will have the opportunity to deal with your horse's issues as they come up and he will not be so distracted by the movement of the "herd" around him.You can build his confidence as you focus on him without the distraction of a group of friends around you. Remember, when he was in training, he learned to perform skills well for the trainer who built a strong teacher-student relationship with him and expected a lot out of him. That does not mean he will automatically do them for you. You must establish and maintain these skills and control with him yourself, and that takes concentration. You don't want to lose the time and money you invested in training. When you feel you are both successful on trail and ready for a challenge, then begin adding more riders to the group. You do not want to rush your horse into situations you and he are not ready for. You want to build up to them gradually to set yourselves up for success! Adrianne, I hope this helps, and happy trails!

Susan
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