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My Horse Training Stories : Horse Trail Riding My Tree Dismount
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Horse Trail riding like I have mentioned before can be both good and bad … today was bad. But bad can also be good … ok what the heck am I talking about .. well its usually when things go bad that you really learn something about yourself and your horse you find things you need to work on .. a focus for training a safe reliable horse.

I haven’t taken flick out on the trails in the past couple of weeks since our underwater trail ride .. but in the mean time have been spending 4 days a week in the round yard getting her rider fit so when doing dressage she had the right muscles … but today the ground is slippery after some rain … thought she needs a break… will take her on a trail .. usually go once a week … but the weather has been all over the place.

We set out with no problems and I thought was going to be a great ride … we had been going for about 20 mins just at a walk as the ground was pretty muddy … she was brilliant leg yielding around puddles and choosing trails with barely the nudge of a leg … neck reining beautifully … best place to practice these things out on the trail … but then we came upon a rider coming in the opposite direction who was taking her old guy out for a cruise and asked if she could join me …sure always great to meet horsey people … never a lack of things to talk about !!

We walked for about 10 mins along a grassy trail that runs along the side of a hill … not much used so was pretty dry … we took a left further along going down what everyone calls gallop hill … about half way down we met another group of 4 riders walking up the hill … all had been calm up until this point.

It was like a switch was flicked in flicks ( haha ) brain … she is usually really quiet and more than happy to walk on a loose rein … but for some reason she got it in her head that we were going fast and began jogging … very unlike her … very annoying … normally for a jogger every time the horse broke out into trot I would halt and reverse then continue walking … and I mean every time the second they trot… but you will confused the situation if they weren’t going to trot so got to be careful …

But for flick I don’t use this technique … I find she is too much of and upward thinker and the constant reversing makes her think up and she has reared in the past … so rather than creating a dangerous situation every time she starts trotting I one reins stop … this is the most valuable thing you can ever do on a horse as it immediately stops forward … but it also something a horse should be trained to do … like an emergency brake for times of emergency!!

Well she had certainly gotten her knickers in a knot by now and we must have done about 20 one rein stops … frustrating us both … as soon as I got the opportunity I changed tactics and choose a very skinny trail and put my new friend and her happy to walk horse in front giving flick no where to go … she walked job done … though in saying that I had to appologise for my choice of trail as it was quite over grown with a horse size tunnel meaning riders got well scratched up …

I might add here if I was on a green horse I would never ride up this type of trail … just getting through meant lots of leaves and branches were brushing past and the rider moving braches as they go … this would scare the *&^& out of a green horse… and you would likely get the last thing you want with scratchy leaves in your face .. shy, bolt or buck .. the least fun things a horse can do …best to be avoided… think ahead.

So now we were happily walking first prob solved .. then we came to the first creek crossing about 1m wide … flick not much a fan of water so jumped as she does was expecting this so gave her lots of rein so as not to catch her in the mouth… no worries then we came to the second crossing … I really should have stopped and assessed the situation better …

Casey still in front …horse happily walked straight through and to the left of a tree on the other side … I signaled flick to go to the right of the tree there was much more room on the right side of the tree and a much better landing …she stopped to have a look and decide if she was going to walk through …yeah right…had her facing where I wanted to land... I gave flick her head expecting her to jump which she did but at the last second she thought it was best to go left of the tree as that was where the other horse had gone … I felt her do this and saw my leg was a direct target for the tree.. there was about one stride after landing to the tree … oh crap .. if I steered right she would hit the tree … so I did the only thing I could think of at the time and grabbed the tree … and I mean leant forward off the horse and dived for the tree in a bear hug … which meant I was pulled from the back of a very shocked horse … but I was standing !

I hadn’t smashed my knee but the tree look its revenge on the inside of my upper arm as was wearing a singlet … and now have bark burn!! Hehe no idea what else to call it … still don’t know what brought me to the conclusion that that was the best thing to do … time seemed to stop for that second there where I got to make a decision as to what was the best way out of a bad situation …

In saying that it was totally my fault .. I shouldn’t have left her have so much rein .. and should have been ready to steer right .. I am very glad I wasn’t alone … horse trail riding can be seriously dangerous and things go wrong very fast …no matter how good you think your horse is.

But I happily remounted with not much more than a graze … but of course as soon as we came of this trail and were heading home on a wider trial the jogging began all over again … I will have to really sit down and think about this one … shes the type of horse that goes from being quiet as a lamb to being a total nutter in 2 seconds flat… she was also by now covered in sweat and had worked herself into a right state … lots more one rein stops on the way home but she was much better and slowly calming ..

Casey walked us too the gate … very thoughtful … we don’t have far to go home about 200m down the road … she was happily walking until the harley came down the road … rude so and so revved the bike and that was the straw that broke the camels back and up we went … my other boy was a chronic bucker when I got him so am well trained to react in these situation so shut her straight down … but still usually I could go to sleep on the back of this horse … not today … going to have to sit down and have a good think she rarely gets in that frame of mind and will give herself ulcers …

But we got home safe and walking in the end … I have to admit I wasn’t very happy … but she dosent know that so had to be nice and gave her a hose as she was really sweaty and let her in the house yard to have a feed …the grass has gotten out of control since I broke the mower by driving over a big stick .. real smart … so that was my lovely tree dismount … I don’t recommend trying it … but have to say for myself is a hell of a lot better than a beat up knee !!!

So what did I learn I need to work on with flick .. I learnt that I need to look into the stress … am considering Endospink’s half tap and will write to him to ask if it appropriate to calm a horse mid ride … she also gets herself into a tizzy during floating… Training wise I also need to tune up her lateral mouth as she did resist doing the one rein stop .. as well as her top mouth so she is less likely to think up and more likely to think down in order to find relief. … making her safer and eliminating any future chance of rear. … my journey continues ….

Hope u enjoyed my article … I am no expert and am just sharing my own experiences as I try to follow my dream of becoming a horse trainer … Thanks.


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