Margie's Trail Ride

12 year old BLM mustang, rescued off the Yakima Feedlot in December 2005. Entered training on 4/26/06

Margie's Trail Ride

Postby Juliane on Wed May 03, 2006 9:02 pm

I took Margie out on the trails today alone. I didn't have anyone to go with me, but also felt it would be a good way to assess her confidence in her rider as we rode down the street towards the trails. Her original ride on the street was alongside Skittles, who was very relaxed about the ordeal.

Today, Margie was still very good and not terribly spooky. However, she stopped often when she wasn't sure of something. I let her stop and stand for a minute or two each time, until I felt it was time for her to push on. She was really good at moving out, even if she was still startled. I think she "spooked" about 3 times between my house and the trails, each time simply planting her feet. She didn't jump, turn or try to run. She just stopped. :)


Once we got on the trails, she was good, not spooking at anything on the side. However, she stopped at one point - but didn't seem to be scared of anything. I asked her to move forward and she simply planted her feet. Wouldn't move at all!!! We ended up sitting there for 15 minutes as I racked my brain on how to get her to give me some forward movement. I kept thinking of everything I'd read in the Mark Rashid books and tried a few things. When I asked her to move forward, she'd back up. So instead, I asked her to back up. We backed up for about 20 feet before she planted her feet again and wouldn't move forward or backwards. I tried getting her to move to either side, and when she'd take a step, I'd release the pressure and give her lots of praise. However, even after getting her to move sideways a few times, she still wouldn't go forwards or backwards. She wasn't scared - just tuned me out. I could almost hear her taunting me "Are you really gonna make me?". Squeezing her sides or kicking her got me nowhere, other than furious swishing of her tail. I turned her in a small circle, thinking that at least if she wouldn't go forwards, she had to work. She did 2 circles and planted her feet again, with her head bent around, nose touching my foot. She wouldn't move. Ugh! I was racking my brain. I didn't want to get off and walk her on foot. I had to figure out how to get her to move forward while I was on her back. I glanced at the side of the trail that is an incline up a hill. There was a small, dead stick on the side. I was able to reach out and pick it up. It cracked in my fingers and I could tell it would break if I blew on it :P However, it was a stick. As soon as it was in my hands, her ears twitched backwards - I had her attention now! I held it in my hand like a crop, but out a bit so she could see it. I raised it as if to tap her behind, clucked and asked her to move out.

TaDa!! She moved out and didn't stop again. She didn't offer to challenge me again at all for the rest of the 45 minute ride even after I dropped the stick. So, what was that all about? Is that just part of her mustang personality? Is this the kind of challenges she will throw at her new owner? Here's a couple pics of her where we were "stuck" in the trail :P You can see that she's not scared or angry, per se. She's just not going to go anywhere. Man, I was SO frustrated :P



On our way home, we passed by the prestigious Rock Meadow Equestrian Center. The horses that are at this facility are typically $75,000 or more. Wow! I always feel like a redneck when I ride past on my feedlot ponies :) We keep our chin up though! Margie couldn't quite understand why all the horses were out running around in circles. It was funny.


Anyways, sorry for the funny pics - I didn't have anyone to go along with me to take pics, but still wanted you all to share our day :)
Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Postby rodeo51 on Wed May 03, 2006 10:36 pm

She certainly was testing you....probably to see how far she could push.
I like her personality....she's a thinker... l :lol:
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Postby Cherie on Thu May 04, 2006 7:01 pm

Well, my beloved Cane (appy/arab) would sped hours plotting, coming up with creative new tricks to see if I was paying attention . . . I swear that Margie looks totally pleased with herself in the picture where she has her head tipped back towards you. VERY FINE JOB waiting her out until the solution appeared.
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Postby cybercat on Fri May 05, 2006 7:53 am

perhaps she was just bored? Tockita mentions that mustangs won't do things if they think they aren't a challenge....
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bored..or careful

Postby Tockita on Mon May 08, 2006 11:05 pm

Since mine goes to sadlle clinic in june, I take mine for walks. If we go with another horse she is a bit more relaxed but she can SEE things.

Sort of like my little sister could spot a tiny bug 50 feet away.. She sees things/people/animals in backyards and I'm talking 500-700 feet away!!
She will stop, head up.. with her face lifted.. she seems to sight down her face and just study it. I usually let her look a bit, then speak to her and cue her to move forward. Sometimes shes ready to go on, sometimes she's not. So I give her a shorter period then insists.
(I know at clinic they said horses need to move past things they fear.. but the ultra serious mare will not.. they want to know what the heck that is.)

Sounds like with the stick, she accepted you as her leader. You convinced her it was time to move on, and no harm came from it.. so I say EXCELLENT! The more you make her do with no adverse results. (and stand firm) She will learn to trust your judgement and follow more willingly.
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Postby shellyr on Tue May 09, 2006 4:38 pm

It's probably too soon to tell with Margie, but she may have smelled a predator when she refused to go forward. I had a gelding several years ago that absolutely loved going down a trail. One day though, he planted his feet and absolutely refused to go forward. It turned out there was a bear about 100 feet ahead. Either she was testing you (probably!) :) or she was trying to tell you something.
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