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My horse always wants to take off on trails. What can I do?
April 19, 2011
by Cindy Hale
Q: I have a gelding that I bought for trail riding. Unfortunately, his previous owner used to gallop him a lot on the trails, so he constantly wants to bolt off. His mouth is dull too, which makes matters worse. Do you have any tips on how I could possibly retrain him to go the speed I want?
: A gallop or brisk canter on the trails isn’t inherently evil. A well-schooled, attentive horse should remain under the rider’s control at any speed. Without some good fundamentals in the arena (or in a round pen or even a large, flat area in an open field), a trail horse can become stiff and dull to a rider’s aids or cues. A stronger bit is not always necessary. Instead, the solution is usually to make your horse more supple (bendable) and responsive. Rather than leaning on your hands and ignoring your requests to slow down, your horse should yield (give) to pressure from the bit and your leg, and stay attentive to you...
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