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Trainer Q&A - Behavior Problems & Quirks - When I ride off the trail my gelding gets anxious, what can I do?

When I ride off the trail my gelding gets anxious, what can I do?

Boxer1 Asks:

He paws the ground,jumps off his front feet, side steps, pulls on the bit and whinny's like someone is beating him. He quiets down when I return. He is not like this when we ride him away from the barn by himself, what am I doing wrong? Can this behavior be corrected? If so where do I begin? Please Help, Mary

Our Trainer Answers:

I am going to guess that when you're out on the trail, you are riding with a friend. Horses are herd bound creatures. I have encountered this many times myself. Although your horse is not barn-sour at home, he is definitely buddy-sour out on the trail. He is gaining his confidence from riding with another horse instead of from being with you. If he is not too familiar with trail riding, this is understandable. He may need ridden out more on the trail by himself (although riding alone is dangerous, always let someone know where you are in the event you get thrown). If he has been ridden mostly in an arena, then he may just need to become more familiar with unknown terrain. If this is the case, following a friend off the trail will help him gain confidence. Always ride with considerate riders. A considerate rider will never ride off and leave you. They will help you and your horse to have a good riding experience.

Thank You and Happy Trails!

Christy Mellington