Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southern California
• Horses: 0
I have a peruvian paso that was severely abused as well in the past by a previous owner. She is the most nervous horse I have ever seen.
I've been riding her for a long time, I've been firm but calm with her, I'm a confident and fearless rider, I've been told that if I keep riding her and am consistent and firm and treat her right, then she'll get better and calm down...Believe me, I understand that despite all that, the horse still is edgy. Its taken me a while, but I've learned to listen to my horse.
The issue might not be the environment, but a constant expectation for pain that leaves the horse on edge wondering when its going to come, especially if she was consistently abused for a long time. It almost gets ingrained. One of my biggest issues with her was that when stopped, I could click my mouth or tap her lightly to tell her to go forward and she would practically bolt. She would never start off in a true walk, she would just take off into a faster gait so quickly that I would almost fall off her.
This had me so frustrated...I didn't know WHAT to do to solve this. Finally, I don't know what made me do this, desperation perhaps, but she was stopped and I told her verbally to "walk on" and squeezed my thighs. She wasn't sure what to make of this, but I felt her shift her weight forward, so I praised her and scratched her on the neck and told her she was a good girl. Then I tried again, and I got another shift. More praise and scratching. And again, I felt the shift so I repeated and she moved a hoof. It wasn't 10 minutes later that when I said "walk on", she actually walked.
I assume that she had been abused with spurs (and perhaps more) rather severely. That's about the time I realized how bad it was and that I can't possibly expect her to truly understand what I'm asking. Bad training is no better than no training. Either way, the horse will not understand what you want or what you expect. Abby was not understanding what I wanted when I clicked or tapped, she had bad things associated with clicking and tapping, she didn't trust it, she wasn't comfortable, I wasn't going to get anywhere.
What I'm doing now, since I got back from a month long vacation, is going back to square one. She doesn't know how to stand still to be mounted, mounting makes her nervous and once I'm on, she will take off into one of her fast gaits. When I try to mount, she just dances around nervously. I'm clicker training her and we're working on the command "stand", which I want to mean to her that if told to stand, she is to stand there and not move her hooves from their places no matter what I do to her.
She had no concept of this before and no matter how many times I ho'd her or made her back up, no matter how firm I was, she'd still move. She didn't understand what I wanted and who knows what she was expecting. Within 10 minutes of clicker training, I could stand on one leg and have the other leg over her back as she stood there calmly.
All it is is a matter of communication. I need to teach her what I expect, and as I do that, she learns what she can expect from me. There's a lot less worry about what's going to happen to her, if somebody's going to hurt her, if somethings going to cause pain etc.
Last edited by PeruvianEquine; 08-01-2010 at 03:09 AM.