Fear on the ground - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 07-27-2009, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Fear on the ground

Whenever I'm on the ground grooming a horse I get really nervous and scared. I have no fear riding.. or anything like that.. but when it comes to having to groom and tack up, I get super freaked out. Especially brushing around the back end, and picking hooves, and doing up the girth on the saddle, walking behind the horse ect.

I'm scared I'm going to get kicked. Or in the case of doing up the girth.. bitten (Both the horses I've ridden recently nip and bite in my direction when I tighten the girth)

I don't know how to get over this..
I figured it would just go away after a while.. but its not.
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post #2 of 22 Old 07-27-2009, 07:28 PM
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It can be a little nerve racking. (How long have you been riding?)

Just go very slowly. When girthing make sure you are out of reach, or have someone hold his/her head so he/she can't reach around and bite you. You could just walk around the front of your horse(safer anyway). If you are going to walk behind the horse make sure to put your hand on his/her rump first so he/she knows you are there, then you actually want to walk as close as you can behind them.

Most horses really liked to be groomed. So if you can think of it like you are doing something they like (like scratching their back, or brushing their face) maybe it will calm you down. Like I said, go slowly and just take it one step at a time. (It may take you longer, so you may have to get there a little earlier to get to your lesson on time). Good luck...hope this helps!
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post #3 of 22 Old 07-27-2009, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I tack up alone in a stall.. my instructor doesn't actually show up until its lesson time. So I have to walk behind the horse to get to the other side.. and I have to groom by myself >.<

I rode for about 8 months when I was 13
and now I am 19 and I have had 6 or 7 lessons... so about a month of riding.

I figured they like being groomed too..
until after my last lesson Hailey (the horse I ride) lifted her foot and made a little kick at me when I was using the curry comb on her... I thought it was very wierd.

She is supposed to be "the sweetest thing" on the ground..
I specifically asked for a horse with nice ground manners... but I still get scared.

Last edited by cheply; 07-27-2009 at 07:40 PM.
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post #4 of 22 Old 07-27-2009, 07:49 PM
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The more you do it, the more you will get used to it and you will become better and better at reading the horses, and you'll begin to know before the horse reacts that he will react. It's just a matter of "living, breathing, eating," horses that comes with "time time and more time" being with them.

Agree that you want to walk as close to the rear as possible. If they should kick, it will push you away and you won't get as hurt as if you were a few feet behind the horse at the apex of their kick and getting the full effect of that power.
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post #5 of 22 Old 07-28-2009, 08:10 AM
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Is your horse tied up in her stall while you groom and tack up? I'm assuming yes, I only ask because I occasionally just groom mine while he eats his hay. Having her tied may increase your confidence, if she isn't. Just be careful grooming in such an enclosed space, and try to never let her get between you and the door (not to make you more nervous, honest, just another safety tip)

I find that keeping both hands on the horse is helpful. Brush with one hand, and pet or touch with the other. I'm not sure why it helps, but it does.

Lesson horses do have a tendency to be a tad nippy when they're cinched, just a side effect of so many inexperienced riders jerking the cinch tight. I would put my elbow in her way while I gently cinch her up. Don't chase her down and "get her," just let her nose run into your strategically placed elbow when she nips in your direction. You probably won't cure her problem, especially if she's a lesson horse in my understanding of the term, but she might learn that YOU won't accept the nip threats, and that YOU will be gentle. With the little kick, she may be a bit ticklish and you found the "not so sweet spot."

Just stay as close as possible when you groom. Most horses find it comforting, and it's safest for you. If you're still clean when the horse is, you didn't stand close enough . You will gain confidence with time, 6 or 7 lessons and groomings isn't that much. You've gotten a lot of good advice, just give it time.

Good luck and have fun!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #6 of 22 Old 07-28-2009, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I didnt tie her up the very first time I groomed her.. because my instructor said I didnt need to with her.. but she walked around wayy too much for me, so I tie her up from now on.
I think next time I might try to use the cross ties. (If I can find them, I havnt seen any there yet :p)
I used them when I was a kid and I remember liking that much better than being boxed into a stall..
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post #7 of 22 Old 07-29-2009, 01:36 AM
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Do you have anywhere you can tie her up outside the stall? I don't have stables where I ride but I would imagine I would feel a bit nervous being in such a confined space. also what do you do when she tries to bite or she kicks out at you, do you discipline her in anyway?

Boxer Diligent, loyal, strong
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post #8 of 22 Old 07-29-2009, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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usually when she does that I just yell at her a bit,
like saying
"Don't do that!" or "stop!"
but generally I don't do anything else. I'd be afraid she'd retaliate if I gave her a slap.
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post #9 of 22 Old 07-29-2009, 10:00 AM
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I would try cross ties as well. Sometimes the mares are a little more sensitive to grooming, so just be a little more gentle with the curry comb.

Just take it slow...the more you do it the more confident you will get. Good luck!
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post #10 of 22 Old 07-31-2009, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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umm a lot of the time after I ride my instructor asks me to spray her down...
When I do that, do I have to groom after?
She seems to get much more upset when I groom her when shes wet.
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fear , grooming , kicked , nervous

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