View Full Version : Share you experiences - first times
17th Aug 2006, 06:06 PM
Particularly the first time you ever had your green horse out on the trail.
Horse and I have a hang up about trail riding. Its my dream to have him out in the mountains and take a gallop through a meadow but he's not the sort of horse who settles into new things easily.
Because I hope to take him out one day, I've done alot of prep work - in hand walks, emergency stops, etc. etc. etc. but despite it all, he still gets frazzled and truth is I dont trust to take him out.
So, Im wondering if this is just a normal step for a green horse and that Im the one to blame? Do I just need to bite the bullet and go or is there more prep work I should be doing (to be honest, there isnt much more I can do).
The times you've taken greenies out, was there alot of spooking, bolting, screaming (:D), mane grabbing, PRAYING for your life :D ...
I'd like to read about the first time experiences if you care to share.
17th Aug 2006, 06:26 PM
go! take a mobile, or take someone on fella, and go.
we've discussed it enough that you know my strategy - i know it wasn't by design that it hasn't happened before now - but sooner or later you must just do it.
start off with a ten minute wander, 5 out and 5 back, and build it from there. don;t go further until he is happy (not just tolerating) where you ar at the minute. you will get there.
17th Aug 2006, 06:53 PM
I agree, esp. if you can have an experienced rider on Fella, (no offense to the DH!) and I would also go out after a good workout in the arena, not meaning to tire him out, but more to take the edge off his energy level and know he's paying attention to you.
I still haven't gotten back on Mara age 4 after her 30 days and her first few supervised indoor rides, so I'm not one to talk!
17th Aug 2006, 07:00 PM
I actually would feel better NOT taking the Fell'er. I think Bon would pay closer attention to me then. Although I do have mixed emotions. I even thought about ponying Bon but I dont have enough experience there either :rolleyes:
I appreciate the pep talk (although I suspect Meh is trying desperately to keep from bopping me over the head in frustration) but I am wondering what to expect. I know it all depends on the horse, but in general is it a wild ride?
17th Aug 2006, 07:08 PM
no, not generally. if there is going to be wildness it's a few rides in once the novelty is wearing off and he starts to think he knows best again. ;)
petal's hitherto delightful daughter has just hit the Kevins, now she is 6 and things are not so new - she is not looking for direction any more, (especially with her loaner, who is 11) and thinks she knows what she is meant to do.
17th Aug 2006, 10:31 PM
Not sure if you can generalise, but my first 'proper' ride out on my newly backed youngster was with me and OH on his horse as babysitter.
My mare had never been ridden on wide open spaces or galloped with a rider, and OH hadn't got the hang of rising trot , let alone tried a gallop ! Stupid, eh ?
Thing is, I thought to myself, I'll only gallop if it feels right at the time, but I felt ok, and we did, and it was brilliant !
Think if you're worried, either lunge or ride for a good while before you up the speed, to get rid of the freshness. There's no rule which says you have to enjoy riding at 90 miles an hour anyway, I take pride in being able to ride out and not have to gallop on every bit of soft ground .
17th Aug 2006, 10:57 PM
Cal was miserable to take out on the trails when I first started riding him. It was so hard because I was nervous that he was nervous, and he would feed off that and get more nervous. I hate to admit this, but I finally decided to take him for a ride (in company) after I had a few pints so that I was VERY relazed. What a change! He was a gem. Now that I know that he CAN be sane, I am calm and that keep him calm. We still have the occasional spin and bolt (a duck flew out of the hedge next to us and yikes - off like a shot) but in general we have nice calm rides. It definitely took a while for us both to trust the other.
18th Aug 2006, 12:13 AM
Probably not exactly the 'green horse response' you were looking for but I wanted to tell you about a fabulous horse named Chick.
I probably had DJ already for a year and all we were doing was arena work, etc. when a couple of co-workers talked me into going trail riding with them.
One of the other riders had a new horse, K. and was very nervous about it too, so the person with the trailer offered to ride her daughter's horse Chick instead of her own horse B.
That woman really didn't like Chick because Chick was one of the rare horses that actually does what she is told and therefore doesn't provide much entertainment... ;)
We made her bring Chick twice on our trail rides because Chick put all of us, including the horses, at ease.
Of course there still was a little bit of jigging, side stepping, speeding up, etc. but overall it was great. DJ and K had to cross the water if they wanted to keep up with the fearless, calm Chick, etc.
So my tip would be to not attempt too much on your own but rather find a friend with a real trail pro type of horse (or use Fella if he fits the bill) rather than going it alone.
Our boys, DJ and K really liked the girls. Not sure if that's common but things usually went better when they got a female lead horse rather than when they had to waste their time making faces at another gelding...
18th Aug 2006, 12:16 AM
Also meant to add:
It didn't take long at all until we managed to ride the trails without white knuckles and sweat on the forehead. In fact around the 3rd or 4th time DJ was listening so well that we could leave the group briefly and rejoin them. (these trails were were 'rustic' and sometimes they lead rider didn't make very wise choices in her route IMO)
18th Aug 2006, 07:47 PM
hve you been yet?? ;) :handsonhipstappingfootimpatiently:
18th Aug 2006, 08:11 PM
Tootsie- I can't really help since all the times I go trail riding they are experienced horses.
I'll put my 2 cents in anyway and say that I bet your own attitude is the most important. You have to get in the frame of mind that it will be fun for you and for Bonfire.
After all, he is certainly smart enough to know that it will be a cool adventure for him and a nice change from his usual routine. Think of it as giving him a treat and exploring the area with him- something special and fun that the two of you can do together.
Don't let any stray worry thoughts into your head- starting now- and then you will have a positive attitude when you go.
Wish I could go with you!!
18th Aug 2006, 10:43 PM
My story :
My gelding was a pain to break in and would go from one extreme to the other, from bolting at 100mph to not moving at all. Then a friend suggested taking him out on the road for a change of scenery, just a quick plod around the block. I wasn't sure about it at first because we had to go down a main road and he hadn't had much road work in heavy traffic and the experience he did have when i was leading him usually ended up down someones drive :rolleyes: Plus my friends horse was a tb and a very lively spooky hack but for some mad reason i decided to go.
We got to the top of the drive, beginning the short hack and everything was fine. We walk down the road and round the corner and he didn't batter an eyelid I was so pleased with him and this realy boosted my confidence. We then turned on to the main road and my friends horse was jogging while we walked nice and steady behind in a lovely outline and he was respected and listening to all of my aids. i was completely shocked!! but it didn't stop there.
As we were about to turn off onto a country road a string of gypsy traffic came past, trucks lorries banging trailers, i tensed as soon as i saw them and my friends horse was going sideways rearing up and everything. The traffic and come past and gone and my usually difficult horse was quietly plodding along on to the county lane.
After my friends horse settled she asked if I wanted to trot so I said she could and if I could get my horse to trot then i would but if not i would just catch up and to my complete suprise as soon as i asked for trot he went straight forward to a trot!!
After that day i have never doubted taking green horses out..I believe it does them the world because if they have enough trust in you and you are confident the horse will turn to you for support and when you are having doubts the horse will reassure you.
I would go for it, the worst that could happen is that you fall off and you horse gets away which can easily be caught by the friend you take out with you or a member of the public may stop your horse,,,you will be suprised how many helpful people are out there.
21st Aug 2006, 02:25 AM
I have a green 3 year old horse. This is his first season being ridden lightly. I've primarily taken him on trails because a long trail ride is the best thing for any horse who is learning (I think). I started out going with another friend and her horse. I purposely did not take my horse's pasture buddy with us the first few times because Luke (my green horse) simply wants to attach himself to his buddy and ignore my commands. So, no buddy at first, but another, less familiar, yet calm horse.
Also, I NEVER ask a green horse to gallop on a trail ride...not at first. I want my horse to walk calmly and perhaps trot on occassion when asked. On the way home, I only walk. Any reaction or spook at a faster gait just means a bigger disaster, so why chance it until they are more confident.
Luke has never given me a wild ride yet. He had the usual fear of cows and of crossing streams initially, but most of that is gone now. And, I practiced the one rein stop quite faithfully before taking him on trails. I think you want to do your best to avoid a wild ride because it will decrease the horse's confidence as well as your own.
If your horse is especially spooky, you could pony him on some trails until you think he is ready. Anyway, keep at it. Trail rides are the best!
21st Aug 2006, 03:07 AM
Could you perhaps walk him out on the trails and lunge him in the meadow? I did that With Gitcha as he hadn't been out in 7 months(original owner kept him in a stall) and it worked a treat.
21st Aug 2006, 07:40 AM
Apart from going out with other horses, Harry Hobbes' clover leaf pattern is great for starting to go solo - both rider and horse.
You can start by riding only 50 or 100 yards and then returning, and setting out again. Gradually over a few weeks lengthening the loops, and introducing trot and walk.
The only way you can control a horse is through your greater intelligence.
So when you get to the stage of a first canter choose carefully, like a very short hill where you have already trotted. And practice a lot of downward transitions out on the trail. By practice, I mean decide exactly that you will do twelve steps trot and then come down to walk, and twelve steps walk before going into trot again.
You should know how to ask for a downward transiton from canter e.g. after 20 strides and practice in the school. And exercise the same control both going into and out of canter out on the trail.
If a spooky horse is listening to you and has his mind occupied, he is less likely to spook, I find.
All horses that come to our Rs need to be ridden out by staff to teach them that deer, dead branches, push chairs etc are not life threatening. Some it takes longer than others and some never learn and are sent away.
21st Aug 2006, 08:37 AM
Also, I NEVER ask a green horse to gallop on a trail ride...not at first. I want my horse to walk calmly and perhaps trot on occassion when asked. On the way home, I only walk.
Quite so levigal. Maybe I should have clarified with my youngsters first gallop that we had reached the point in her education where she was very responsive to aids, quite a brave character and had established a balanced collected trot. I omitted to say in my post, which, yep, does sound a bit gung-ho ! -my aim was to help her to balance with a rider on board at a faster pace without having to worry about correct leads and balancing herself in the school, and of course for us both to have fun:D We galloped uphill, naturally slowing at the top. Since then we've mostly walked , trotted and occasionally cantered and never in the same place, because like you , a horse that tanks off with you on every bit of grass is no fun.
22nd Aug 2006, 10:58 PM
I have a green horse that I am training particularily for trail riding. He is a 3 yr old gelding and I have been riding him about 2 months. His first exposure to the trails was on the ground. I ground drove him through the trails for about 10 minutes. He really liked it, no problems at all. I might want to mention also that I had done MUCH work with ground driving and he was already very good at it in the arena. The next step was I took him along on a trail ride with several other riders. I asked an experienced rider with a calm horse to pony him. He did fine, no problems. He was ponied twice with no rider, then the third time he was ponied with me riding him. Except for smashing my kneecap into a tree, no problems, just bruises. The next time I rode him without a pony, and he still did fine. He did trot on command, and sometimes without the command to catch up with other horses. He also cantered for a short bit which was the first time I had cantered on my horse. He stopped when he caught up with the other horses.
I will note that my horse seems to be difficult to spook. He plows right through the brush without a thought. Branches poking him don't bother him. Traffic on the road doesn't bother him, and he has no problem crossing the stream. Our trails are varied with steep hills, low branches, water crossings, and different terrain. I find that my horse behaves better on the trails than he does in the arena.
I have had a couple of problems with response time...for example I need him to move over immediately to avoid a branch poking me in the head, and he doesn't quite respond in a timely manner. Also he did take off up a hill at a canter once and I had to keep him from continuing on into the road with a one rein stop. He stopped and all was fine. The very first trail ride without being ponied, he had some issues with "whoa." We worked on it the next day in the arena and he is much better now. I take him on the trails at least once a week. I think it is very important to have an experienced calm horse along for the ride. I like to put my baby right behind that horse.
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