How not to be "the girl on the black horse"

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by palogal, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. palogal

    palogal Senior Member

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    I was having a conversation over lunch with some horsey friends the other day about the recent trail ride we did. It was a really great ride. My mare had one stupid moment that was quickly and easily managed and there were a few hiccups on the way but we all remembered "the girl on the black horse". This poor girl was extremely over horsed and the horse appeared to be in pain at certain points of his outbursts. She lost control and the horse began ramming into other horses on the ride, getting kicked, bucking, rearing...it was just awful. She was ponied back to the start of the ride with a very sweaty, fire breathing horse. She was shaking with fear and bawling. So i thought this could be a good discussion. How to you make sure at any event, you are not "the girl on the black horse" that was going to get everybody hurt. Although we all felt just awful for her, it was a situation that shouldn't have happened.

    1. Know your horse and be honest about your abilities. Could I have handled that horse? Probably not, as he did appear to be in pain with his kicking out, ear pinning etc.There's no amount of riding or cowgirl up that can over come a horse that truly hurts and is uncomfortable.


    Now you.
     
  2. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

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    2. Learn to recognize pain signals before they become so bad that the horse feels the need to act out. To that end, work with experienced people and LISTEN to them. Pay attention to what your horse feels like when sound and comfortable, and be receptive to changes in that feeling - stiffness, balkiness, loss of rhythm (big one - learn to HEAR lameness/offness by the sound of the horse's footfalls). Pay attention to what your horse's demeanor is when sound and comfortable, and be receptive to changes in demeanor - ear movements, tail swishing, nipping, "grumpy" behavior. Learn what a properly fit saddle looks/feels like and check yours every time you ride.

    If there is one thing I wish people would work on more and pay attention to, it's pain signals. Most of the people I know do not recognize pain in their horse until it has advanced to the point that the horse is visibly lame or is acting out badly.


    3. Take someone with you when you look at potential purchases, preferably a trusted trainer or someone you know to be unswayed by emotion. It's easy to get your head turned by a beautiful horse (guilty as charged). And it's easy to convince yourself that you can handle a horse that is too much for you when you really, really want it. It's also easy to miss signs the horse has been doped or tired out before you arrive. Two heads are better than one.
     
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  3. sherian

    sherian Senior Member

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    As above pay attention to what the horse is telling you
    be prepared to scratch from an event when the issues start not after you have become a danger to everyone else - that horse was probably saying 'hell no' before she even got on
    think ahead and organise a buddy with a plan b - friend's green horse started to get overwhelmed at a group ride, I had brought my old campaigner to babysit him, so we merely split off, did the ride at his pace and met the others back at the trailers, young horse ended on a good note, no one else;s ride was messed up
     
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  4. Eventer98

    Eventer98 Senior Member

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    4. Learn to recognize the early warning signs of a bad situation, and have a PLAN to deal with it.
    5. Have good situational awareness and make good decisions about the weather, your tack, etc.

    We're dealing with a "girl on the black horse" situation at my barn right now, with a new boarder. My barn is fairly rustic in terms of facilities- we have no fenced area to ride, but have miles of trails. New Boarder is a timid beginner rider with a youngish OTTB mare. New boarder was not honest with the rest of us about her abilities and confidence, resulting in a similar situation where a friend and I had to pony her back to the barn. But what bothered me the most about the situation was the fact that New Boarder didn't recognize that the situation was getting out of hand until it was too late, and even then, another rider had to tell her that she needed to turn around. It was frustrating, scary, and dangerous for everyone involved. New Boarder has since agreed to take lessons, but still isn't being honest about her abilities and limitations.
     
  5. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Don't overmount yourself, be able to recognize when you're overmounted(even if you can't tell why - you can recognize the signs of being overmounted), and be able to recognize which situations will make it worse, and stay out of those situations.

    In other words, inexperienced people should have experience. That's not really possible.

    But inexperienced people should have mentors who they respect and listen to, and who take an interest in whether they're getting in over their heads, and tell them so, and insist they back out before something very bad goes wrong.

    That situation is pretty much a miracle that no one fell off, got kicked, got really badly hurt. That was a very bad situation.
     
  6. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    6. Set yourself and your mount up for success when trying new situations. My husband and I went on our first "organised" trail ride several years ago. Our mounts are well seasoned trail animals who can handle just about any terrain. We are experienced riders with a lot of miles and a lot of training and seasoning young animals to our credit.

    This was a new situation for us and for our animals though as there were expected to be about 100 animals in the camp area. It ended up about 70 riders and about 80 animals, so still a big bunch of folks and animals, something our animals had not really done other than parades.

    We found out we had some holes in our wonderful animals! When riding in large groups, 30 or so animals, our animals did not want any strange animals close to them from behind. This resulted in some tucked tails, sucked up faces and general bad attitudes in our animals. We worked through it over the next few rides but, if we had not been able to work together AND had not had so many other experienced riders willing to help, it might have ended with someone being kicked or someone being unloaded.

    A person cannot train for every eventuality. You just cannot desensitize to everything nor can you expect your animal to tolerate every other animal they may encounter being "inside their bubble". In our case, our animals were very obedient, did not kick out or try to bite but were very obvious in their opinion of the order of things. We we both experienced enough to recognize this in our animals and were able to head off any bad behavior.
     
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  7. palogal

    palogal Senior Member

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    7. If it goes really far south and people are in danger...GET OFF. I can't for the life of me figure out why the people this poor gal was with didn't tell her to get down. You're generally safer on the ground that in the saddle of something acting stupid.
     
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  8. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Ride a white Mule.
     
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  9. palogal

    palogal Senior Member

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    Lol... yes manes, an obvious solution.
     
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  10. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Well, sure. The Mule won't do all that. They'll just stop and refuse to move forward. Walk back to the trailer, or the barn. No fuss. No muss~!!
     
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