Of Horse

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Is it Time for a Trainer?
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Is it Time for a Trainer?

When I first started riding Sierra, before I actually purchased her, it seemed that she only knew how to move really fast with a rider. I worked with her on slowing down and actually stopping. While working with her I fell in love with her personality and decided to buy her. (Read my other blog about Sierra for the full story.)

I have owned Sierra for a few years now and I have worked with her a lot on slowing down but I feel like I have hit a wall and don't know what else to do. She isn't really dangerous, but she isn't fun to ride when she is "speed walking" either.

It is easy to control Sierra's direction but not her speed. She likes to go. She has the mind set of "I don't know where we are going but let's just go and get this over with so I can go back to doing what I do best", which is eating. When I get on her she is ready to head down the trail. She doesn't like to wait on the other horses. I constantly debate about whether I need to hurry to get on her and try to get her settled down or make sure that I am the last one to mount so everybody is ready to head onto the trail. I always trail ride with the same people so it's just a given that Sierra and I will be in the back of the line. I just keep her nose pointed towards the horse in front of her and everything is good. I am tired of being in the back, I want to be able to lead or ride side-by-side.

The problem is that Sierra doesn't like to go slow or stop. If somebody wanted to work with their horse on something or somebody has a problem I have to fight with Sierra to get her stay with them. I have to keep her moving in small circles to keep her from heading on down the trail without everyone. If it is a narrow trail and I can't circle her I am concerned about what she will do. Luckily, she isn't buddy sour, she doesn't care if she is alone, but sometimes it would be nice if she preferred to stay with the herd. I am concerned that if someone got in trouble and I needed to dismount to help that she would take off without me or would I even be able to stop her long enough to dismount. If she didn't take off without me, I'm not sure she would stand still long enough for me to re-mount.

I know Sierra can go slow, I have seen her do it. I like it when she is a "pokey pony". A few times, when my husband was riding her, we had to stop and wait for her to catch up with us. I would definitely prefer to ask her to speed up instead of constantly fighting to get her to slow down. I am not looking for her to move super slow, I just want to be able to see the scenery as we head down the trail. Right now everything is a blur as she speed walks down the trail. She normally maintains a walk but let me tell you... That mare can cover some ground.

I found a trainer I really like and so Sierra was sent for 30 days of fine tuning. Sierra has been at the trainers for 2 weeks now. The changes in her and the way I ride now are huge. We both needed a trainer!!!

Be safe, have fun, and ride on... (Don't forget to vote if you enjoyed my blog.)

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  1. autumnap
    Voted. Well done! It sounds like a visit to the trainer was in order and now you can really get on with having fun and enjoying the scenery! I had a very difficult horse a few years ago with a habit of bolting randomly for no apparent reason. In the end I admitted defeat and sent him for a month's re-schooling and he returned a totally different horse who was a pleasure to ride. Sadly I lost him to grass sickness a few months later - something I'll never get over as it felt like we were just at the beginning of something really special but we never got to enjoy it. x
  2. jst4horses
    I too think this is a great article. KNOW when to get professional help. However, I personally train horse and rider together, otherwise, I end up a few months later with the horse back (I learned this years ago) for fixing. Pat Parelli says that it is essential for horse and rider to learn together. I think that is right. I have ridden many a horse over forty plus years that was fine for me, but a couple of hours with their owner, and the old bad habits were right back. It sounds as if you horse had not had a few basics and confidence building areas addressed. A horse has one job, DO WHAT YOU ASK. do not change pace, or direction or go running off unless asked to. It appears that you bought a horse that could not do that, and as the old saying from Pat goes "practicing problems prevents proper performance" while "proper practice promotes proper performance". If a horse does the wrong thing and it just keeps going on, where is the lesson? Thank you for good sense to get help, and to share that with others. It is so positive with a huge animal especially, to get help.

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