First attempt to hack out alone was a disaster. Really need some advice please!(17 Posts)
I've had my share horse for about 10 months now, I am a novice rider (and I am the first person to admit that) and this is my first share so I have taken things really slowly. My horse is a really safe, steady suitable for a novice type.
For the first 3/4 months I didn't even hack out at all, just rode in the school, then gradually I started hacking out with other horses/riders from the yard. We took it slowly, building up step by step until I was cantering with confidence in wide open spaces with the other horses. I have also built up my confidence in the school and am now cantering with no stirrups and jumping with confidence. All stuff I have done before at riding school but as you will appreciate having your own horse or a share is very different from being at riding school.
Ten months into the share, as we seemed to be making good progress, I decided I was ready to try hacking alone, so the first time, to be on the safe side, I asked a friend to accompany me on foot. Everything was fine, we did a 30 minute hack, horse was perfect in walk, trot and canter, I was really pleased.
So this weekend, I decided to hack out all alone for the first time (as in just me and horse and no one accompanying us either on horse or foot). I rode in the school for 15 minutes first then decided to do a mini-hack, literally just down the lane and back. Problem is, I could not get my horse out the entrance to the yard I was carrying a schooling whip to reinforce my leg aids, but my horse just span around and refused to go out the yard entrance. I turned in a few circles etc to get him walking forward again but just couldn't get out the yard entrance.
Now I know I should not have done this, so please don't give me a hard time as I feel bad enough already, but I gave in. I know this is really bad and reinforces bad behaviour and now my horse will probably try this on again next time. But I didn't know what else to do.
I didn't however go straight back to his stable and dismount, as I did not want to 'reward' his bad behaviour, so I made him walk several laps of the yard/fields. He seemed fine to walk around the yard premises but I couldn't get him out the yard gates.
I know this horse is capable of hacking alone and hacks alone with the owner / her daughter so it is not as though I was asking him to do something unfamiliar. He is an older experienced horse, so was clearly just taking the piss with me
However, he was absolutely fine the other week when I had my friend accompanying us on foot. I should add my friend is not horsey and a stranger to my horse so not as though my horse was just following a person he is familiar with or anything.
I am not sure whether the fact I had ridden him in the school for 15 minutes before attempting to hack out could have caused this? (ie he might have thought he had already done his work for the day?!).
I am feeling down about this, had felt like I was making so much progress but now I am not so sure. Any tips or advice would be much appreciated. Am feeling both and tonight.
It happens. Don't beat yourself up
Really you have a few options. Try again, it could all be fine. Try again and horse naps - either sit it out, or shout someone to walk you out the gate. Failing that I would get off and lead out the gate and get back on. I know people advise not getting off but sometimes it's better to do that rather than cave in
Personally I would keep trying, and keep doing it every time you ride, literally out the gate and back in
I have been sat here tonight convinced I am the worst rider ever and need to go straight back to riding school!
I think my horse knows I am a novice and not firm enough.
you are doing really well generall so dont beat yourself up.
three options but the key thig is you MUST get out of tht gate
1) Be very firm, leg aids do not let him spin, possibly a wip wop (google it-fab)
2) Be very patient and sit i out. My very nappy mare I used to just sit there, loud sigh (bizarre but works) couple wit bored "Oh DP Doo get on" and no going anywhere else instead
3) get off and lead out-absolutely no shame n that
believe you can do it because you can
Tomorrow is another day. try again then, he may surprise you. I would also mention this to the owner, they may have some helpful suggestions.
Thank you everyone for being so nice and supportive
Just ask some one to walk you out the gate, just the gate
That's horses for you! They can do weird things for the first time for no reason.
Having someone on foot is extremely reassuring for a horse regardless of whether the horse knows the person or not.
There are a couple of things you could try but probably the best is to ask your instructor for a lesson on leaving the yard. It sounds extreme but if this is the area where you are having a problem then this is where you need help. Your instructor will assess the horse's behaviour and will talk you through the correct response (e.g. waiting it out, tap with the whip, reversing out, getting off and back on, etc.) and you may find that once you react correctly and quickly he will pack it in.
Another one saying, don't worry, they are all capable of it. I once rode a horse who went happily out of the yard and down the lane but stopped dead on the edge of the common and refused to take another step. he didn't buck, rear, spin, reverse or anything - just shut down like a mule. I tried everything - legs, voice, whip, end of reins, shouting - he learned lot of new swear words.
He was rather large and I am pretty short so couldn't get off and lead him on.
I had to turn round and go back to the yard.
I loaned a horse (briefly) that did this at the mounting block. He was ever so calm to mount, would stand like a stone whilst you got yourself organised, because he had no intention of moving at all. The farmer used to come and laugh and eventually when I was close to tears, shout and slap his rear and horse would amble off. This did nothing for my confidence and this relationship did not last. It was a very rude awakening to the difference between riding at a school and riding a privately owned horse. You are doing far better than this - your story just made me think of it and the feeling of when a young rider asked me how long I was going to be at the block because she wanted to get on her pony.
As others have said don't worry about this. Next time get somebody to walk with you and if he begins to back off get them to give you a lead through the gate and then kick him into a strong, confident trot until he's well on his way. If he needs a tap then give him one..
I can't add a lot to the good advice everyone else has given. I'd try and go out for another hack asap though, and get someone to lead you out of the gate if you need it. Go when you have plenty of time, and be utterly determined to get out of the yard, even if it is just a few metres, and turn back when you want to!
Thanks so much for all the advice, feel a bit better now
It might sound odd but when mine does this I turn him around and rein back out of the yard..It suprises the hell out of them when they stop and they are out of the yard !
Good luck with him
I agree with miggy re using a wipwop. I tried this with my little delight when he started taking the p and refused to leave the yard. It worked a dream as he couldn't work out where the noise was coming from. You can make one with an old lead rope with the metal bit cut off btw. I also seem to remember someone trying the gravel in a tupperware thing. As in as soon as he tries to plant, you shake the tupperware. It has the same effect as the wipwop. You'll probably find that once he is used to you getting the better of him he'll stop trying. Cunning little souls, horses!
don't worry about it, these things happen. 5yrs ago, after owning horses all my life, I set up a new yard with ex-racehorses, the first one I took on refused to leave the yard himself, it took bloody weeks...now he's the coolest hack horse in the world and ambles about with total beginners. Go back to the yard today and try again, be firm with him if you need to be ...you'll get there.
I agree with all the others. Don't worry, but DO WIN next time. Be really really firm, wallop him if takes the piss. Don't stop until you have gone out the gates.
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