All natural horse care in the west of Ireland

Partner in the Arena
Saturday, 03 October 2009

I used my horse Magpie as recent RFT clinic and made a lot of progress with her.

She is a 11 year old, Alpha mare.She is very agreeable in the arena with only a small amount of resistance to requests.

My problem is that she is a different horse when we go out for a hack (trail ride but on roads with traffic)

I started taking her out and letting her have comfort spots to try and overcome her nappyness but now she is starting to expect the comfort spots earlier and earlier into the ride. Sometimes only 50 yards from home!!

If she doesn't get her way she will reverse, circle, go sideways and "her favorite" reverse into a ditch as she knows this worries me.I have tried to ignore this behaviour and just focus on the direction I want to go in. She actually put one hind foot into a ditch on the last ride (she didn't go the whole way-thank goodness!)

I have made tried to make her uncomfortable for going the wrong way and offer her the comfort if she goes in the right direction. The problem I have, in the narrow roads that we have, with ditches either side, it can sometime be impossible to use the indirect rein and disengage her hindquarters into a circle.

When I do get her going again she is going only 4 or 5 steps and tries the same again.It is getting very frustrating and can be worrying if traffic is approaching and she starts messing around.

Question: should I stop riding her on the road and do more ridden work in the arena or should I persist and try to avoid roads where there is a lot of traffic and ditches? Near on impossible!

I can keep going but it is not enjoyable having to argue with her the whole timeNB. She was my main riding horse and we used to ride daily until she had a foal 3 years ago. She always had spirit but was never as nappy as she is now. I have only brought her back into work in the last 18 months.

I am sorry to say this but since I discovered NH and have given her options she has become more difficult. Is this common?

It was the general opinion on the forum that I stop riding and go through the ground work again with Magpie.

Here is my second post 3 weeks later:

Well!! I got off my horse and haven't been out on a hack for the last 3 weeks on any of the horses. Have just been working on level one with them all in the arena.

We have been having practice days on Saturday mornings and a few of us (4 anyway) have been playing with the horses practising our level 1 skills.

There was only 2 of us today, Donijka and me, so we got through our practice quite quickly. I asked Donijka is she fancied going out for a quick hack.

In the arena I was playing with Polly and Donijka was playing with Magpie.

I didn't feel happy letting Donijka ride Magpie outside of the arena just in case she started messing about so we changed over for the hack. I rode Magpie and Donijka rode Polly.

I also received my hackamores last week so it was a good opportunity to try them out.

Magpie was as good as gold!! Not once did she appear to even think about stopping or reversing into a ditch.

On the way home we even passed our turning to go the long way home. NO RESISTANCE or an attempt to being me home the quick way!! And Polly was her normal self, no bother at all..

Now I am trying to work out, who has changed? Magpie or me? I have a feeling it is a bit of both.

I certainly feel a lot more confident and Magpie seems a lot more relaxed.

Oh, and soooo responsive to the hackamore. Had to do so little, almost nothing with the reins. She responded at start of phase 1 nearly everytime!!

PS. It was a very leisurely hack, just walk and trot. No cantering as I am not sure I have enough lateral flexion without resistance just yet.

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