Hacking a younger horse out in a fast group...

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Dec 22, 2008
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Well today I took Max to Somerford Park farm ride with 5 other horses. We started pretty steady and Max was brillianbt: calm and chilled walking and trotting. Then the pace increased and we were cantering pretty fast and jumping 80-90cm fences. Max got thoroughly over-excited. He jogged instead of walking, cantered on the spot instead of trotting and fought for his head whenever we were cantering. At one point I just let him go, thinking he would just follow and he accelerated past another horse to get to the front. After that I split off from the group and went with just one other horse and Max was fine again. Cantered steadily in front or behind and was fab.

So my question is, does it matter if sometimes you just let a young horse blow off steam or was that bad for him? He LOVED it but will it teach him bad habits? I know a lot of young horses are hunted - surely then they just go flat out and follow other older horses over fences? Of course I should not have let him over-take and next time I will be more prepared for him to try to get to the front and will keep him behind. But I am not sure I did the right thing taking him at all today and am wondering what to do next time that group of riders go out.
 

eml

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It really depends on he youngster's temperament.

Over the last few year we have had ex racehorses that have reacted to \mass rides/.hunting in very different ways from being almost uncontrollable to sweetly cantering everywhere on a loose rein or not wanting to keep up and going in collected canter to not going at all and napping to box.

I know which ones we prefer and going forward is always better..we often teach young \RS cobs to canter in mass field gallopsl
 

KP nut

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Thanks @eml
He wasn't uncontrollable he was just very very keen. So that kind of fast paced high excitement riding won't do him any harm?? Or may be good for him??
 

MrC

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I wouldn't have let him pass. With younger horses you need to establish that regardless of the others you are dictating the pace.

If it were me I would be practicing going out with a small group and keeping him behind the lead horse. Then once this is done upping by one or two until large groups are easy. Then once he is done in big groups you can perhaps let him lead out and pull him back throughout the day or ride.

I would not have been happy had you breezed past me if I was leading out. Also passing the hunt leaders or marshalls out a ride is not cricket and will be frowned upon.
 

Skib

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Some lovely forward going horses on our yard never seem to learn to go out on fast group hacks without racing and bucking if restrained. I wish you luck.Maisie was the devil in a group. And I am hacking another boy who has been naughty in company. Nice for me tho. I get horses with energy and groups dont matter when people compete cross county and ride at intervals solo.
 
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Jessey

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It does depend on temperament but I don't like young horses to get to carried away and with some if they are allowed to have a hooley a few times they can get to thinking thats what is expected in groups. Hunters do follow the crowd but I can only imagine are ridden until thoroughly tired, in endurance its often said that the horses learn to save themselves as they get more experience, so perhaps similar there? but if you don't ride for so long perhaps they don't learn the need to save themselves? so I'd say very dependant on the horse and what you are doing and for how long as to how I might deal with it.
 
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Star the Fell

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I think it's good for them to let off steam. But they need to learn that you are in control, so need to always be listening to you. From the start they should be taught that even if the horse in front starts to trot away, they shouldn't start trotting until you ask them to. Good manners really and you need to keep safe.
In your situation I would also be doubly concerned as you share Max with your daughter. The last thing you need is for Max to start dictating the pace when she is riding.
 

Lissie

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I wouldn't be happy with him passing the lead, the rider needs to be in control of how fast he's going especially as he's going to be ridden by your daughter who is a lot smaller/lighter you don't want him to take advantage of that. Plus its just bad manners. I think I'd be working on keeping him calm then adding more riders. The more often he goes out in a bigger group has a hooley and gets too excited the worse he'll be next time, as he'll just start to anticipate it. Having a blast isn't a bad thing but it needs to controlled, listening to the rider.
 
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KP nut

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I know I should not have let him pass and won't again. He just took me by surprise! He did not pass the leader, just the horse directly in front. But yes it is still unacceptable. I was going to hunt him on Wednesday. Perhaps not though!

I think I'll go out with just 2-3 next time.
 

orbvalley

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I only hack my youngster out with older sensible horses, I've been warned against taking her out with another youngster as apparently if they blow a fuse it gets out of control very quickly. Mine has a blast out hacking but I always make her stay behind the horse in front and come back to trot when asked. For me its important to have a calm hacking horse, as they say over here "it easy to get a horse to gallop but its making them stop thats difficult" :D
Basically I believe its ok as long as you're doing the asking and its not Max telling you:)
 

CharliesAngel

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i think its worth remembering when you move onto something else he’ll be your daughter’s main ride again? That would be my primary concern, that he doesnt get too onward bound and big for his boots for her. Or is he your horse now? Generally, I really think it depends on the individual horse, I hacked Briea in a group of 5 on a very fast hack with some xc jumps on the way... and she surprised me - she was in front , at the back.. she didnt mind and we did the whole thing in a plastic straight bar snaffle. Im not actually sure Id do the same with Brook! She is more competitive in company and more likely to get her knickers in twist.
 

Lissie

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I think I'd be leaving the hunting too! The last thing you want is Max getting a bit too excitable/silly/strong and your daughter losing confidence as they look fab together. I know what you mean when you don't expect it though, sometimes they can take you a bit by surprise. Yes I'd be going out with quiet horses (and riders) and taking things steady gradually doing faster work/adding riders. If he's behind make him stay well behind not even gradually creeping up so he's not racing.

One of my horses is a bloody nightmare behind, he leaps in the air jogs sideways and is a general prat, never really bothered me that's just him and i knew that when i brought him, I could always handle him and it never phased me. On fun rides he was naturally the fastest and most people wanted the lead anyway. He came to me like that at 12. Even now in hand he hates another horse walking in front of him even just to the field or coming in, ears go back and he starts marching.

Little Charlie is different again he's happy to lead or to follow doesn't really get strong and I just use my voice with him to slow down. But he's been well schooled and brought up properly not hunted from a 4 year old and hyped up everywhere like the old man was.
 
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Gimp

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I dont think it would of done any harm to let him go and have a good blast (Providing he was up to it, which of course he is fitness wise) ! but as other have said as he is also for younger lass to ride, just perhaps vary it if hes becoming very very excitable again to keep him behind and not allow to pass until you ask him. I suppose its not a situation you are always in alot, so perhaps something to aim for doing more of over winter to work on with him until hes at a point you feel youngun would be comfortable handling him, although he sounded a gem being able to peel of from the others and revert back to factory settings straightaway. A large group can blow their minds sometimes, but I would perhaps put it on the ' to do list to practice/desensitize' if its an area hes not covered much.
 
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Mary Poppins

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One of the things I hated as a riding school rider were the mass uncontrollable canters/gallops where you have no control at all. The horses had been taught to do this and I always felt like a helpless passenger rather than a rider.

I personally wouldn't ride Max in fast groups like this, mainly because he is your daughter's pony and there is a real need to instill manners in him. How your your daughter have coped if she were riding him?
 

mystiquemalaika

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I think it depends on the horse and the rider and I will echo what MP says about some riding school horses. My new guy is from the riding school I grew up at, they know grass and sand meant canter, it was that simple, I am now working on taking the Tigger out of him when we hit grass and teaching walk, it isn't an easy thing when all he has known is canter :rolleyes: but we are getting there.
If Max was just for you then it would be different but as he is for your daughter for the most part I would be working on brakes brakes and more brakes. I'm imagining how your daughter would have handled that situation been smaller and not so strong, would she really have been able to manage him? So for me I would aim to work on manners with the thought all the time could she manage him in this situation? And no I'd be leaving hunting well alone until those brakes and manners were instilled in a safer environment.
 

KP nut

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Well we shall find out today how my daughter manages.... She's going to the track at the Northern Racing College in Doncaster on a pony club mounted rally.....:confused:

Edited to say we've just got back. Her verdict "that was the most fun I've had on a pony EVER"!!

She rode him brilliantly. Stayed behind when she was told to stay behind: flew like the wind when she was told she was allowed to race. Vids to follow!
 

MrC

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There is a big difference riding on a gallops with two people and going out in a group especially since from the pictures max was in front for it. Also on a gallops it's a maintained ground designed for fast work, a fun ride, a hunting field or something line a pleasure ride won't be the same and the ground won't be as even or good. Recipe for disaster and having seen it in person on hunts and rideouts it hate to see kids getting hurt. Watched too many ponies crashing into others because they couldn't stop and I've had to treat the injuries on my horse from randoms using his butt as brakes.

If he is to be your daughters ride then perhaps he shouldn't be going on faster rides with you and being let go. Let your daughter get used to him and he to her and what she expects of him.
 
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