Saturday, April 24, 2010

Horse Training – More Preparing for the Trail with Ground Obstacles

Ride long and far enough and you will eventually encounter an obstacle that your horse will need to step over. This could be a log laying on it’s side; a plowed up shoulder on a dirt road or any number of things.

The same method for approaching and crossing items laying on the ground, such as a poncho, or water puddle or really anything that you want your horse to walk across also applies to stepping over obstacles. That is allow your horse to see the obstacle and let him drop his head to check it out.

If you have anxiety yourself and keep a tight rein on your horse you’ll will agitate him and cause him to balk at the obstacles or worse try and jump it. Not giving your horse some slack to drop his head will also give him mixed signals as you ask him to move forward and step across the obstacle.

Keep your horse straight with your legs, give him enough slack to drop his head and check out the obstacle and when he brings his head back up give him the cue to move forward.

If your horse “bunches” up, bringing his back legs up underneath himself (you’ll be able to feel it) then he’s fixing to jump over the obstacle. Maybe more common when encountering a ditch, if the horse is unsure of the obstacles of himself this is may try to do. Even if you are going to eventually get your horse to cross these obstacles at a trot (jog) or a canter (lope) you’ll first want him stepping over these obstacle, confidentially, at a walk.

I have several obstacles I use to get my horses or my clients horses ready for the trail, the below video shows negotiating a telephone role across the ground .

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