Trail Riding and Horse Fear

I have been reading some great articles lately about horses experiencing fear (of the unknown) as well as trail riding.  They are tied together and excellent things to think about, so I wanted to discuss and share those links.

This one is quite timely and I wish I would have read these articles yesterday, before Les and I took Sugar and Kobi on an hour and a half trail ride!  As most of you know, Sugar is our level-headed, go-to girl that isn’t phased by much, and Kobi…well…he’s not.  I’m not sure how much of his behavior is still dictated from his formerly wild days, running free across the Nevada plains; but some days he’s pure Mustang.  Thankfully, we didn’t have one of those days, but we still encountered “the black bag of death” (or so he thought) before we got on the trail yesterday.

The first article I want to share is  from The Horse: RIDER AND HANDLER EFFECT ON HORSE BEHAVIOR by Casie Bazay.  Seems like I did a good thing by leading him past ‘the black bag of death’ instead of riding him.  I can’t take credit for that foresight, I was already dismounted to cross a busy road, but it seems that leading horses past scary objects leads to a weaker reaction than riding them.  Which is a good thing, since Kobi had a significant reaction to the trash bag; I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the saddle for that!  Sugar, of course, snorted a bit, but walked by without a second thought.

The second article I want to share is from EquiSearch: TEACH YOUR HORSE TO BE TRUSTWORTHY ON THE TRAIL by Christine Barakat, and leads to some great thoughts, such as Choose a horse suited to trail riding, not only because they can’t perform well anywhere else. Hmmm.  Like a lot of people, I thought horses were born knowing how to be good trail horses; Kobi likes to show me different at time.

Don’t follow my example and read these insightful articles before your next trail ride and not after!  Happy riding!

About Heather Hamel

Growing up with horses is a little girls dream come true. Heather’s dream in life was to be a horse trainer - how dreams change - sort of! She moved to the wonderfully historic town of St. Augustine, Florida and was a historic tour guide and a ghost story teller while putting herself through college to become a special education teacher. After graduating, she felt the pull of horses in her life again. That's when she met Kobi! She learned quickly that when you own horses you become a part time vet, part time nutritionist, and full time equestrian. She wouldn't change a thing! In addition to being completely obsessed with her herd, she still teaches and tutors students with learning disabilities, and more specifically, dyslexia.
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