Can a spooky horse be eventer/do XC? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-25-2010, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Can a spooky horse be eventer/do XC?

I decided to post here, not in Jumping, in a hope to get more thoughts...

Basically I'm thinking about trying my paint to jump (see Can she jump? ).

She loves outdoor (can't turn her back to the trailer literally ), has natural go-go (forward, fast, and keep going for long time), and seems to enjoy jumping and her jump is very smooth even for me, the beginner (although I did just little ones with her in ring). So -theoretically- could be a good XC project. BUT the biggest problem is she's spooky and too easily excited. So can the horse be trained out of it, or XC is kinda a dream?
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-25-2010, 10:01 AM
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XC shows ultimate control--galloping over open fields, excitable jumps in your path, scary standards and squirrels (or if you're in Aussie like Corporate Pride, kangeroos....) jumping out at requires a certain amount of innate control and a reliable horse to get you there. With training, any physically sound horse can do it. Just keep working with your horse on desensitizing, sacking out with plastic bags and gently introducing things like tarps, scary jumps, etc. once your horse trusts you're not going to let these things hurt him, he'll be much more comfortable and trusting in you, and XC will be much less painful.

Good luck, and have fun!
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-25-2010, 10:02 AM
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It is achievable my dear - but you have a lot of work ahead of you.

For CC, you really do want a bold, courageous mount to beable to face those fences solidily, without hesitation - for the both of your safety.

So, I suggest, doing as much "Saking out" as you can. Expose her over and over and over to "scarey" objects and "scarey questions" so that she can work it out mentally for herself, in a safe, quiet, positive way - so that when you are out on the CC course, or even in the Stadium will end up with a bold, courageous mount.

To Event, a strong Partnership must be formed, and trust on the both of you. You must beable to trust your horse, and your horse must beable to trust you. Once a strong bond is formed, the two of you will be unstoppable.

I've seen very skittish TB's, turn into amazing Eventing Mounts - through consistant, dilligent work on the riders/trainers part.

Expose her to as much as you can. Hack as much as you can, get her out in the environtment as much as you can. Have her work with tarps and other objects that you would assume "spooky"

There are times, even with Nelson, being an Eventer and a Hunter/Jumper throughout his life, gone Prelim with his previous owner - spooks on me. Sometimes we will be approaching a fence and I can feel him waver under me - but then that's my job to sit deep, get my legs around him and drive him forward, using my voice and confident body posture.

If you work with her a lot, and she still is spooky, she might not be the one for you to do CC with - but time will only tell.

With a strong and rushy horse - that is fixed through your body, using your core and your aids correctly to bring your horse down to you, it is achievable, but you have to find a Trainer who is capeable of working with you - if you want to Event, please find a Coach who is an Eventer.

By the way - welcome to the dark side - MUWWAA HA HA HA HA HA!

Last edited by MIEventer; 12-25-2010 at 10:04 AM.
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-25-2010, 11:08 AM
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May I introduce you to Demi (show name Nancy Drew)

7 year old Tb mare. 15.2hh. and the HOTTEST and most SKITTISH thing you will ever meet in your entire life. But also won her division at the biggest competition at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Case in point:
  • i got on Demi and I chipped my tooth because she leapt straight up in the air before competition
  • she spins in warm up
  • she never settles in her stall to the point of sweating in the dead of winter
  • she spooks at her own shadow
  • she's very sensitive to leg aids and changes in scenery
now... If I can do it, you can do it

The key is confidence. If you're confident, the horse will feed on you
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-25-2010, 11:33 AM
Green Broke
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When I think of CC horses, the words that pop into my head are "bold" and "courage."

Can you do it? Of course. It's just going to take some work.

Good luck.
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-25-2010, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, folks, for the opinions! So far I plan on dressage and jumping 1st, and if those go smooth I'll look into XC (and yes, the trainer suggested to me by my current trainer is the known in area eventer). I still kinda unsure she can do it though, but I guess will see.

eventerdrew, your post is definitely very encouraging! :)
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-25-2010, 06:31 PM
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I think if the bond is there, and your horse likes to jump, you'll be ok.

You have a lot of schooling a head of you, but there's no reason you can't do it. Primo was originally pretty goofy outside. It took a lot of just riding out, making him realize that we work in all locations. He came from just understanding whoa and left/right to riding BN by the end of the summer. His first event he was a bit distracted, but he went into a zone out on XC. Now he just gets off the trailer like a pro. If my little SPED can handle eventing, I'm sure your horse can. She's super cute too! I'll def recognize her if we end up at the same places.

Haha... as MIEventer said, Welcome to the dark side.
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-25-2010, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Hmmm.... Just wondering.... Folks, what do you mean by "bond"? I mean, different people think about it differently.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-25-2010, 06:53 PM
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Bond meaning - let me explain it from my point of view.

I can get on Nelson's back, and know that I am safe. I can approach the most intimidating fence *I haven't found one yet..BUT....* I know, Nelson will take care of me and cover my arse regardless of what I do *stadium is a whole other*

He knows, that I would never ask him to do something beyond his capeabilities, and he knows that he is safe with me always, as I am with him. He can act silly at times, but never to the point of where I cannot handle it.

The bond we have, was formed over 3 years of being together. Spending time with him, away from the saddle. Just to be with him. We are partners, we are a team - it doesn't happen over a day, or a month - it takes a long time to achieve, but you'll get there.

The more you are together, the more you get to know one another - and that, is what you need for eventing.

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post #10 of 15 Old 12-25-2010, 07:33 PM
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Ditto to MIEventer.

It's the working relationship. I know where our training is at, his strengths/ weaknesses and mine. I know coming up to a fence that he can do it and that confidence carries us over any sticky spot. That and a deep seat. Its also knowing when the questions being asked on course are too much. This can be an approach to a fence, the way a fence is built or the footing.
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