Safely Introduce Your Horse To Trail Riding

Common Mistakes To Avoid: If you want your horse to be an all-around broke mount, it’s important to ride him outside the confines of an arena. Riding outside the arena will expose your horse to a brand new environment filled with strange objects, and most importantly, allow you to put some steady miles under his feet.

Here are two common mistakes to avoid.

#1 Putting the horse on autopilot.
The biggest mistake people make when first taking a horse outside is not paying attention. They put the horse on a big, loose rein and then forget all about him. Then when he spooks, they get dumped on their head because they weren’t prepared to stop him. Stay aware while you’re up in the saddle and keep your eyes open for objects your horse might potentially spook at. If he does do something silly, you’ll be ready to do a One Rein Stop and remain in control of the situation. If you go down the trail letting your horse do whatever he wants, he’ll be looking for objects to spook at. Give him a job to do and put his feet to work so that he has to pay attention to you. Horses can only think about one thing at a time. The horse will either be paying attention to you or trying to find something to spook at.

#2 Babysitting the horse.
Other people try to babysit their horse the entire ride by constantly hanging onto the horse’s mouth with two reins and not getting out of the walk. They try to protect the horse from scary objects, but their plan always backfires on them. The more you pull back on two reins and say, “Don’t worry, Precious,” the more worried your horse is going to get because he feels trapped and claustrophobic. Put him on a loose rein and get his feet moving. Give him a job to do.

About Clinton Anderson
Born and raised in Australia, Clinton grew up with a love of horses. Although he lived in the city with his father, Rob, mother, Cheryl, and sister, Andrea, he looked forward to the weekends he got to spend on his grandparent’s farm where his grandmother would give him rides on her old Thoroughbred mare. By the age of 12, he began playing polocrosse and was eventually chosen for a national team representing his state.
In 2001, he became the first clinician to create a made-for-TV horse training program that aired on RFD-TV. The use of untrained horses and a variety of topics covering common problems faced by horse owners quickly made Downunder Horsemanship the network’s number one equine program. Nearly 15 years after establishing Downunder Horsemanship, Clinton continues to instruct horsemanship clinics, presents Walkabout Tours across the country, produces two television shows, hosts an internet TV website and is constantly creating comprehensive study kits and training tools to make learning horsemanship as accessible and easy as possible. Clinton and Downunder Horsemanship are recognized as world leaders in the equestrian industry and continue to offer the very best in innovation, inspiration and instruction.