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Featured Opinions on "running home"

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by 250girl, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. 250girl

    250girl Senior Member

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    I've been lurking and reading threads and have seen a LOT of posts and comments of people firmly saying to NEVER EVER run a horse "home" when out on hacks.
    I want to break this down and really understand the meaning and reasoning in this.
    Of course I've heard this lots and it was the golden rule in my childhood years on lesson horses.
    It's also a "rule" that I stopped obeying many years ago.

    I "run"my horses home. Sometimes. Not always. It all depends on the overall speed and tone of the ride. My horses are boarded , but the stable is a 15 minute ride from an entire,MASSIVE mountain trail system. Some days I go for a 20 minute hack on the shoulder of the road, some days it's 5 hours of bush and mountain bike tracks. Either way... if I'm out on a faster paced ride I'm not walking the entire way back the second I turn around. That's not feasible on long mountain rides. And if I go out to do a long loose trot on the road shoulder I'll do it part of the way back too ( walk long enough to cool out by the time we are back at stable).

    I do this with green horses, super broke horses, hot horses, lazy horses, pretty much all horses.... and have for years. I've NEVER had one bolt home or badly behaved on the way back in. I view it the same as any arena ride. I set the pace, period. I don't care if we are heading out or in, I set the pace always. Any breaking gait or rushing home will be schooled right then and there, although by the time I'm riding my horses out into the mountains they may be green but are pretty understanding of "I set the pace". They all go in a French link snaffle too... none of this "I bit my horse up for hacks" junk.
    I just don't see the issue. It's like saying you can only trot or canter AWAY from the end of the arena that has a gate and half to walk all the way back.... that would be ridiculous. You school your horses to listen to the rider and keep the rythm and pace the rider sets, no matter the temptation or distraction.

    And I've noticed this to be a trend more with people who are arena riders that consider a 20 minute stroll down the road a "trail ride". The people who consider normal a 3 hour mountain ride on rough terrain where they go from galloping logging roads to scaling streams and shimmying down steep slippery banks, go whatever speed they want, whatever direction they want, in perfect control and pace.... right until the coolout before the stable (or truck and trailer).
    Done properly and safely I don't see the issue.
    Opinions ?
     
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  2. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Are you open-minded enough to even listen to an opposing point of view and do anything other than laugh or scoff at it? Because based on the first post it doesn't seem like there is any point to discussing it with you at all.

    Annnnnd....that would make it the same as 99.999% of other internet horsey threads, LOL.

    My take on it? Number one is there is no safe or 'proper' way to run the horse back to the barn. Whether that's a trot or canter or flat out gallop ('run') or what it is.

    First consideration: safety. Any novice riders near the barn are eventually going to have their horses dump them as you go "running" by. Maybe YOU can control YOUR horse, but they can't. No, they really can't, and frankly, they don't even realize that they can't....until they fall off and crack their skulls open.

    They shouldn't be outside the pony ride ring? Well guess what? They are outside the pony ride ring, and you can't stop them from being outside the pony ride ring, and it's that way everywhere, and eventually you may get old enough and be decent enough of a person that you care if they get killed or not. Bottom line: eventually, you will cause a very bad accident.

    Next consideration: "cooling off". If you're running home all the way to the barn, I don't see evidence that you are doing an effective cooling out, which if you ARE going up and down hills and 'running'(galloping), is going to be AT LEAST 15 minutes out of a 45 min ride, and may need to be a lot longer - up to an hour or more, for a longer, more strenuous ride. The main misconception is that cooling off is all about drying off sweat.

    It is not just about drying off sweat, but also about getting muscles that have been working hard, to let down and cool off gradually. It's about letting down the skin on the back gradually as well.

    Honestly, I have yet to see anyone do a ride like that - 'run back' (that is trot, canter, or 'run'(gallop)), and even come close to cooling their horse out in a decent manner, ESPECIALLY if they 'run'(gallop) all the way back to the barn or trailer. Them horses are rode hard and put away wet. Any "cooling" off that gets done is cursory at best - a minute or two of walking around in a tiny circle by the barn or trailer. They dry off in the trailer or out back in the pen because the wind is blowing on 'em.

    So no. Just no. I do not agree that that is "proper"(healthy, beneficial to the horse, appropriate, respectful of the horse and other riders around you). The bottom line is that the last THIRD of the ride is COOLING OUT. I think you need to have a little personal discipline and stop using the horse like a piece of sports equipment. Cool your horse down the last mile or two of the ride, or use more miles to cool down, if the ride was longer or the pace quicker. Walk, and if you rode really hard or for long, the first 5 minutes of the cool down might be a little easy trotting(posting, not sitting) and stretching.

    Next, so none of the horses you ride have ever gotten out of control despite you "running"(let's remember that word means galloping, a good hard gallop, it doesn't mean 'walking fast' or 'trotting'), them back to the barn every ride. Well, then maybe they are very phlegmatic horses, or maybe your horses are getting too tired out when you are riding them. Maybe they are not conditioned enough that they should be doing those 3 hour mountain rides, scrambling up Castle Rock and so on. They should, every single ride, have a lot left in them when you turn them for home. Of course, you may not even be aware of when the horses are running through your aids or picking up the pace - many people have no sense of pace and don't feel that. Too, if you are going back as fast as the horse can go, well, how's he going to pick up the pace anyway?

    So here is my routine when I go on a very long arduous trail ride of several hours of scrambling up rocks, galloping, and so on - and there is not even ONE decent rider I know, have ever ridden with, who does this any other way: If I am out for 3 hours, the first HOUR of the ride is at an easy walk, over gentle terrain, no matter how well conditioned the horse is. I'll pick a trail that allows my horse to warm up that way.

    Then for one hour, I will be first doing some trotting and then some cantering. I would not be doing more than one good stretch of galloping in the middle of that hour (or if the horse is extremely fit from being ridden LIKE THIS, MORE THAN 3x a WEEK....) several stretches alternating between a walk or trot and gradually accelerating to gallop several times. Then for ANOTHER HOUR, I'd be cooling down. The horse would be WALKING back to the barn, and I'd GET OFF AND WALK THE LAST MILE to allow the skin under the saddle to let down properly. And if it was a very hot day, I'd be walking the horse and washing him off, walk some more, wash him off, repeatedly, back at the barn (or trailer - a bucket of water can be left out in the sun before I head out riding).

    The other thing I have noticed, is that every decent rider I've ever ridden with, the LONGER they ride, the harder the terrain, the SLOWER the ride is overall.

    No, they don't actually go out and 'run their horses' for 3 frikkin' hours. Not people who stick with riding for years and care about their horses. Not if they're older than 14. Not after they've lamed up a couple horses and realized, hey, there is some cause and effect there. Not if they don't have something to prove to everyone who they chance to meet!

    The longer rides are a lot of TROTTING, WALKING, and SOME galloping. If there's a very hard hill to scramble up, then they WALK after that, or even STAND the horse and let him REST and have a breather. A long downhill? Sure, and then a long easy walk, and then some trotting later on. And those horses arrive back at the trailer or barn COOLED OUT, LOOSE, RELAXED, DRY AND RESTED.

    In other words....a three hour ride is 1/3 warmup, 1/3 at work, and 1/3 cool down. Whether out on the trail, in the ring or anywhere else. You wanna be a yayhoo and treat your horse like a piece of inanimate sports equipment? I can't stop you.

     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
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  3. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    No, no no. It's not because of 'ARENA RIDERS", my goodness. We took people out on trail. For eight years, as a teen, I took people out on Trail rides. We went through town and out into a woods that it took four hours to cross. No arena but for a pony ring. It's a common sense rule that started with people who DO trail rides.

    It's a rule for safety. You do this all the time, right? Now try NOT to do it after the horse is determined TO do it. The horse could be so determined to get home that he runs out of control, you can't stop and then you have a horse that needs to BE WALKED and cooled out. It's there for a dang good reason and if you read the thread, you know why.

    People have had horses for thousands of years before you. They have seen WAY more than you have. Why do you think rules are made? For fun or just to tell other people what to do? No, they're made for reasons, good reasons.

    You are obviously looking for someone to back you up and tell you it's okay, do it. You run up to the barn and then your horse is out of breath. It's your DUTY to the horse to have his breathing back to standing still normal before you put him away. It's good horsemanship. And, you cause RUCKUS when you pull up at a gallop at the barn. You disturb other people.

    There are more reasons not to do this than I've typed out. Use common sense. Walk the horse home because horses WANT to do what they did yesterday. Walk him the last mile, at least, and until his resperation is back to normal.
     
  4. BluemoonOKy

    BluemoonOKy Senior Member

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    We just had a thread on this recently...
    I live on a one lane road that is a mile and a half hill. So, up and back is 3 mis. I don't have an arena, so we ride on my farm and I ride mine w/t/c up, back or wherever. Usually I will walk and trot long relaxed stretching home, but will do transitions or what have you. There is a fence on one side part of the way up bordering a cattle farm, so it gives a stellar boundary to teach and practice various movements, shoulder in/ haunches in, tof/ton, back, leg yield, side pass, small serpentines etc. In a snaffle or rope halter. No bitting up.
    My horses understand I set the pace and no bolting away. They are well trained and obedient. They are cooled out properly after. I've been riding for a long time. I don't really give a sheet what other horse people do. I have seen horse people do all kinds of things I think are stupid and ridiculous. Running home is not one of them. I have nice, forward, soft happy horses who are in great condition.
    I own my own barn, dont have any boarders so no other people around.
    Running horses home is not abusive nor wrong. Do what you want as long as, like any other ride, they are properly cooled out at the end.
     
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  5. NBChoice

    NBChoice Senior Member

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    I don't have any trails close to home, so I can't say that I have ever had the opportunity to "run" home.
    I do have a large open field that I ride my horses in and I never let them trot back to the barn. I always walk them, usually on a loose rein as a cool down/you did good, horse.
    I don't want my horses associating the end of the ride with "yippee, I get to go home. Now let's GO!!"

    That said, the field I ride in has a long stretch of fencing that I work up and down. So while I am working them, I do trot and canter towards the barn, but they never know when it is going to be the end of the ride, or if I'm going to take them around and up again. Even if the last part of my ride does consist of trotting or cantering towards the barn, I always stop about halfway down the fence line and then walk towards home.
     
  6. gaitedboomer

    gaitedboomer Senior Member

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    Really? Make it point to run your horse back to the barn------

    I'm proud for ya-----------------------
     
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  7. RelaxMax

    RelaxMax Senior Member

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    Do what your experience and horse can handle.
     
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  8. 250girl

    250girl Senior Member

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    Wow... the wild and extreme assumptions here are hilarious coming from "adults".
    I'll clarify a few things .
    When I say "run" I'm referring to anything faster than a walk. Even a loose rein jog. I don't think I know anyone or want to know anyone who GALLOPS their horses up to the barn.
    I do know what a coolout is, thank you.
    Nowhere did I post that I "run" back every time. Nor would I... sometimes my coolout after ringwork IS a walk down the road and back.

    I honestly don't think I can possibly tackle all of the ridiculous accusations here so I'm not even going to try....
     
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  9. 250girl

    250girl Senior Member

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    Yes, I obviously meant I come galloping into the yard past other horses and ponies causing a scene on my horse dripping in sweat.

    Just because I might trot or canter down a trail that I rode on the way up, an hour up a mountain , OBVIOUSLY MEANS I HAVE NO REGARD FOR OTHER RIDERS.!!!!!!
    That's definitely a legitimate assumption.
    I can't even take you seriously. Lol.
     
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  10. 250girl

    250girl Senior Member

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    kindly re-read my post and please point out where I said that ?
     
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