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TO HEAD OFF PROBLEMS ON THE TRAIL, MAKE SURE YOUR LEADERSHIP AND CONNECTION WITH YOUR HORSE ARE SOLID WHILE YOU ARE STILL AT HOME.
By Jonathan Field
Q: My mare is a pleasure to ride in the arena, but when we hit the trails, she does not play well with others. She tries to kick and bite neighbors that invade her space, and she’ll even lunge at horses who come up alongside or back up to kick at a horse behind her. I’ve tried to discipline her in the moment, but nothing seems to get through. She also gets aggressive no matter where she is in the line, whether we’re leading, in the middle or bringing up the rear. I hit the trails solo sometimes, but my barn is full of friendly riders who like to organize group rides. How can I get my mare to behave around the others on the trail?
A: Thanks for your question. I’ll share some general ideas that may help and then offer tips for handling the situation the next time you go out on the trail.
When I take riders and large groups of students out on the trail at our ranch, we often have a mix of a lot of different horses. The key for a successful ride is to set the group up at the home ranch ahead of time. This means making sure each rider’s leadership and connection with her horse are solid before the group starts mixing together on the trail.
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