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  • - Laney Humphrey
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    Re: [RC] Encouragement needed. . . - Maureen A. Fager

    Hello Laurie,
    It is discouraging to have your horse act up on the trail after successfully riding him there a few months earlier. I trained two horses last year to go solo on the trail, and what I did was after trail riding with a buddy for a couple of months, I began to do very short trail rides, I mean, 15 minutes to start, and worked up from there. Walk only, getting the horse to relax and work on a loose rein. What I got from your post is you are taking your horse too far, too fast and asking too much, and you are scaring yourself!! Go for slow short rides, walk only and just work on getting you and Rascal to relax. Don't worry for now, about crossing water or other obstacles, just take it slow. Another thing, continuous half halts turn into constant pulling, so in effect you are constantly pulling on the horse, who in turn, is pulling on you. OF course he can travel sideways when you are pulling on him, as the pull is propping him up. Do these short rides frequently, a few minutes out on the trail after ring work, for example. A short (20 minute) ride with a relaxed horse and rider, beats an hour of fear an fighting. Go back to basics, relaxing, stopping ect. IF the horse is not perfect that is ok, look for incremental improvement (ie, a little at a time, over time) About the prancing, my mare began to prance after her first LD (it was so exciting for her!) So, I didn't know what to do so I tried this, when she would prance I would halt her, let her settle, and walk on. This worked for her. Of course I realize every horse is different, but sometimes, less is more and the horse has less games to play this way. Also, alot of time, I just try to relax and ride the prance instead of picking a fight, as I have come to feel that picking a fight is worse.
    My mare had an injury a couple of months ago and I am now bringing her back. I will be doing suppling/strength work with her for a couple of months then back to trail riding. I plan again, to bring her on the trail in slow incremental steps, because even though she has completed one 50, she is still young and what I call "young minded" and I want to get her relaxed and confident. Please let me know if any of these suggestions are a help you!! Best of luck,
    Reno, Nv

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