Putting a stop to napping

For many horse owners, hacking out is their favourite riding activity. Nothing beats a great ride in the countryside or a canter on the beach and that amazing feeling of being at one with your horse.

However, things don’t always go to plan – not every horse is keen to leave the yard, some may nap, spin and attempt to turn for home. All of these behaviours can knock the confidence of even the most experienced rider.

What most people don’t think about is that horses can lose confidence too. We are asking them to leave the security of their home and herd, so it is important that we prepare and train them to deal with anything they may encounter. Many will say that an incident came completely ‘out of the blue’. But if your horse panics out on a ride, he has probably been giving you warning signs that have been missed. 

Horses that are reluctant to go forward are often labelled as 'naughty', 'stubborn' or 'lazy'. Labelling horses in this way is unhelpful as there will always be at least one fundamental reason for them to behave in this way.

A Horse magazine reader asked "When my horse naps he runs backwards which I find terrifying. He doesnt seem to care that he's backing into ditches, hedges or traffic. Can you offer any tips on managing a situation like this and how can I get him out of the habit?"

You can read my answer to this here.