Indiana 9 year old Tennessee Walker with 30 days Pro Training ridden in western bridle - wonder bit and western saddle in pasture by long time rider - new at gaited

Question: My mare always wants to lead when we trail ride. When we aren't in the lead all she thinks about is getting to the front.  She doesn't seem to pay any attention to the trail or to her gaits.  When she leads her gait is very smooth and her behavior is great, but in back she will trot lope stumble ride the other horse to close and won't relaxe.  I have to hold her back constantly.  How can I get her to calm down and enjoy the ride at any position?

From Panelist Steve

This is a common problem and in my experience, there is no easy fix. I have
a mare who is DEAD by herself. Put her into the company of other horses,
especially strange horses, and she is up in the bridal and WILL not be happy
until she is in front or near the front.

I think there are two ways to deal with this...easy and hard. The easy way
is just to tell everyone in the ride that your mare needs to be in front.
Most people will understand.They've been there and seen it in other horses.
Of course, if there is another front runner in the pack, then you are in for
a fun ride !

Plan B(the hard way) is to announce to everyone that you have a problem with
your horse that you are trying to correct. Tell them what it is. Tell them
that every time she acts up you are going to do tight circles with her and
that when you do, they should stop and rest while you do it. After a while
MOST horses (not all !) will get tired of the "pressure" of going no where
while the others watch and will figure out that  going along with the
position you choose for her is the easy way out. Position her second. Then
when she gets comfortable, try third and so forth. If she doesn't get it, go
back to Plan A !

Stephen B. Chasko

From Panelist Erica

Practice playing Leap Frog while riding with another - this will give you the opportunity to have her in the back and in the front, yet she won't be stuck in one spot long enough to fight you the whole ride.

Erica Frei


Back to main page
Ask a Trainer