Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Horse Training - Negotiating Small Hills on the Trail

I was recently working with a rider who's horse did not like moving through any amount of chest high brush. So I took him and his horse on into the desert to
negotiate some thicker brush and get his horse sacked out on that.

Most of the thicker brushy areas in the desert are dirt mounds which are, for the most part, actually sand accumulation in the exposed part of the Mesquite bushes.
So, to get into the thicker bushes, in most cases, we had to go up some small hills.

Well, we didn't even get there with the other rider. He was trying to control the horse too much with tight reins in effect telling the horse to stop or slow down at the same time he was giving leg cues to go forward.

When you go up in hill like this, with tight reins - giving confusing signals, you risk the horse coming of his front end and flipping back over. Going down hill with tight reins can also cause a wreck. I've seen a horse turn and tumble when the rider was pulling too hard on the reins.

As with other obstacles, you need to give the horse his head. Let him see the terrain and pick his foot placement. As in the case of the rider I was trying to help, if you can't ride with a loose rein, then don't try the hills, uphill or down.

You have to be aware that when the horse, going down hill, hits the flats he may carry his momentum forward into a faster gait. No sense to be leaning a little back going downhill then have your horse transition immediately into a fast lope or a gallop......easy way to come his back end. Which is pretty damn funny if no one gets hurt.

I asked the rider to work on a loose rein before we go back onto the trail for some practicals. We'll see how that goes.

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