Monday, February 14, 2011

Trail Riding Troubles

The time is right for making plans for your summer getaways.  If you live in Wisconsin there are quite a few places that allow you and horse to enjoy a weekend trail riding and camping.  Other states have these same accommodations available.  My family and I enjoy horseback riding whenever we get a chance.

Every horse should be able to go on  a trail ride,  no matter how you use your horse.  If you have not used your horse on the trails I will give you some help on how to make it more enjoyable.  Some horses act anxious while on the trail.  If you say to yourself, "My horse does not walk while on the trail!" then you need to keep your horse busy on the trail.  I work with a 4 year old warm blood who likes to trot while on a trail ride.  What I do is treat the situation the same as if I am going to ride in the practice ring.  If you have a routine you do before you get on in the practice ring then do that before you trail ride.  What I do is some ground work that loosens up the horse and gets his mind and body thinking about working not playing.  After the warm up, I get on and ride.  If your horse is still wanting to move at speeds faster than desired then give him/her things to think about and do.  When the colt starts to trot turn the colt in one direction and have him/her do a full turn around.  If there is not enough space then just do serpentines.  This should teach your colt to move at the pace you want.

What happens is your horse is used to being worked in the practice or show ring.  We have jobs for our horse in the practice ring but when we trail ride we think we can just pitch the reins and our horse should just walk.  Some of us are lucky and have a horse that will just walk the others need to put in the time to get our horse there and walk.  Just like when in the practice ring it took repetition to get the desired behavior from your horse.  If you have a place that you can trail ride after a workout in the practice pen use it.  When your horse is tired and you need to cool them off a short trail ride around the barns or a field will start giving your horse the repitions to succeed on longer trail rides.

You and your horse will both benefit from a trail or even a weekend trail ride trip.  Your horse will learn how to behave around other horses and in an ever changing environments.  Your horse will know there is more to each time him/her are taken out to ride.  Just like you and I horses will get bored with the same routine.  Trail riding will expand both of your abilities.   Spend time with horse and have fun.

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