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Re: [RC] I don't get it?? - Diane Trefethen

Drako does this all the time on the trail when he sees other horses. It drives me nuts and is a bad habit. Call it what you want, jigging, P..ssaffe, whatever.... it's really annoying and it feels like he wants to blow up.

I took my then 4 yr old on his first ride, the Barley Patch. He had always been a wonderful horse, polite, listening, bonded, yada, yada and then came the shotgun start... about 30 or so horses... and he went nuts. His brain didn't return till a few hours after we finished the ride. I decided that while his body was in very good physical condition, his mind was a few planks short of a bridge. So we spent the rest of the ride year doing just trail rides. S--L--O--W walk rides. At first he went nuts there too but over the course of about 4 rides, he figured out that walking was all that was going to happen no matter HOW much energy he put into it. Those trail rides taught him to think, look around, see what was up and most important, listen to me. After that, even when we competed, if I told him (I always talked to him as if he could understand me) that right now we were walking but not to worry, we'd catch those other horses later, he would settle down to a business man's walk.

I am sure there are horses for whom a thousand walk rides wouldn't help but do not be sure yours is one of those until you try them. If your horse doesn't stand for the vets at vet checks, do you just allow that or do you teach him that he has to stand still no matter who looks in his mouth, palpates, etc.? If he doesn't trot out, do you just keep trying to drag him down the trot out lane or do you teach him to trot on cue? Because our horses are prey, they have some very strong instinctive programming but they are also a lot smarter than many give them credit for. Plus, if they are bonded to you, they WANT to be your partner. Many horses, even the hottest, can learn if we take the time to teach. It's just that walk rides with all those trail riders in those big western saddles seem like a huge waste of time to a Lycra clad endurance type. Why spend 4 hours walking when you could get in a nice conditioning ride instead? LOL!


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