Having been around horses now for 6 months it is unconditionally true, I didn’t know squat about horses. I’ve admitted that before but now I see it clearly.
You’ll see what I mean as you read this and see what horses can be trained to do and this is just the beginning.
Horses liked to be rubbed behind the shoulder. We have one boarded horse that I tickle each time I walk by. Now when she sees me coming she walks to the door and shows her side so I can tickle.
We set up a trail riding course so people could bring their horses and practice. Actually they don’t practice on a trail, they ride by and over obstacles to overcome the horses' fears of new things. That makes the horse better for real trail rides. We made a couple of 8’ long bridges that sit about 8” tall. Simple stout construction so the horses can walk over them. One bridge we set on a 2x4 so it rocks when the horse gets on it. Then after the horses can walk over the bridge the rider has to get on the bridge and stop the horse.
One obstacle is just hanging pool noodles. Some horses walk through the pool noodles, others won’t. The trainer then takes a noodle and rubs the horse, slowly desensitizing the horse. One thing you should not do is try to pull the horse through the noodles. First, you aren’t strong enough to force an 1100 pound animal, but more importantly it is not the way to train a horse.
Another obstacle is made by placing a blue plastic tarp on the ground and covering it with empty plastic bottles. The horse thinks it is water. Some horse go right through while others will have nothing to do with the ‘water’.
For the more experienced we have set up two poles about 8’ apart with a rope looped over each pole. The rider must remove the rope end from one pole, move the horse between the poles, and then the rider puts the loop back on the pole. It is called a gate exercise. Amazing to see a rider take their horse up beside the rope, unhook it, then slide their horse between the poles and reloop the rope. It takes skill to get through the gate without dropping the rope or knocking over a pole.
We put up a mail box and the rider must reach down, open the mail box and remove a letter, then replace the letter and shut the mailbox.
There are other obstacles we have put up and many many more we can add to the course. We have trainers and experienced riders going through the training course each month. We get to watch experienced and novice horses and see how their riders train them. The objective is to give people a place to safely prepare their horses for real trail riding.
By the way, we are setting up trails on the back 25 acres. When you get ‘out back’ you are surrounded by trees and brush. You can’t see the barn. People say it is a real pleasant ride. I know because Beth and I like to ride out there.
Really impressed. My kids started by grooming and ended with a trail ride