Scary side of the arena? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-22-2010, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Scary side of the arena?

Okay, so I seem to have a dilemma with my new(ish) Haflinger, Daisy. She's not really misbehaving, but one time I was riding her in the round pen while my friend had her gelding,Milo, who just happens to be Daisy's favorite friend, out. Well, he got loose and came running up to the pen on the side with all the trees and tall grass/weeds and made Daisy anxious until she saw who it was, she didn't really act up.. just side stepped across the pen.
Fast forward a bit.. Ever since then, she shies away from that side when I'm riding her and were going past there counter clockwise. She's fine on the ground both ways and when I'm riding going clockwise. She was fine before Milo did that.

So how do I fix this? I have made her go there, but she tenses up a bit and tries to shy away. She acts like it's nothing when I'm lunging her or walking her past there. I'm stuck.
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 01:56 AM
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she's got one over you.

when you ride in the round yard, ride her really collected, have her slightly flexed into the circle and keep her out with your inside leg but have a light outside leg on so that she doesn't take it out with the fence. keep her concerntration on you by asking for her to flex a little and give to the inside rein.

i had a showjumping lesson on my young horse right next to the highway and that's exactly what my instructor taught me and he was an angel! he puts it on too. he's really green and he picked this up so you should be fine.

if she continues to run through your leg, circle at the spot that sh's acting up until she gives it up and listens. she'll soon learn from it :)

good luck

Elly ::: Diam ::: Ozzie
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 05:26 AM
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CP gave some good advice. Also, you could try mounting there and then standing still until she is totally bored.

The mare I ride has a similar thing. A few months ago, the barrels around the arena that mark the dressage letters got repainted from dirty, rusty barrels to shiny bright white barrels. She has to freak out at them every time we go past on the left rein, on the right she doesn't care. It has been seriously, about 10 weeks that she has been doing this for. Sigh. Sometimes, horses can be crazy lol.

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post #4 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 07:06 AM
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Yep, work her there. Do everything there. Like they said, get her focusing on you. If a horse is thinking to much it will spook and fight or flight will kick in. If you think for her it shouldn't happen. Getting her feet moving and constantly changing directions is thinking for her. Get closer and closer to that scary side as you keep moving her. Circles, serpentines, backing, sidepass, anything to make her focus on you.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 08:30 AM
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Hm, maybe she just wants to ride with Milo again... She might be wanting another horse to show her that that side won't hurt her. Just a thought...

"A Bad Day Riding With Dad beats a Good Day Shopping With Mom."
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 09:07 AM
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I think she is reacting because you are expecting her to.
'Ride right past the area looking forward and with determination. I was in an arena riding past some plastic flowers and when I looked at them my horse was scared when I ignored them and looked forward he didn't even pay attention to them
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, this has been a big help to me. I'm definitely. Going to have to try some of it. (:
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by corporate pride View Post
when you ride in the round yard, ride her really collected, have her slightly flexed into the circle and keep her out with your inside leg but have a light outside leg on so that she doesn't take it out with the fence. keep her concerntration on you by asking for her to flex a little and give to the inside rein.
This is exactly what my trainer was telling me to do yesterday after my horse decided the electric arena door is going to eat him alive and wouldn't go anywhere near it. Basically you just have to make the horse concentrate on YOU and not let him search around for the scary things. When the horse goes like "there's something there!" you must go like "there's NOTHING there, here's ME on you." You can tell by the horse's ears where he's looking so the second he starts searching for the scary things outside the arena you just have to bring him back to reality. My trainer was telling me to flex his head into the inside and release, flex and release, flex and release... but you must make sure only the head turns inward, the horse must keep on going straight. Everytime I flexed his head a bit to the inside he started concentrating on what I want him to do but as soon as I released his mind went back to the scary door. We repeated this a few times and in the end everytime he looked away the only thing it took to bring him back to concentrating on me was a half halt with the inside rein, you could feel the horse going like "oh yeah, I must concentrate on YOU, not the door" and he was fine with going around anything.
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 10:30 AM
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I have a mare that has a "scary place in the rign. There is no amount of collection, encouraged or forced that makes her like it. Since it's been darker and that is the spot in the ring that is under the lights, I finally decided it was time to address the issue once and for all.

What I did was put her on a big 20 meter or so circle that wnet through the scary space. I started by riding her through the spot at a walk. If she was good and non-reistant, I patted her neck and told her how good she was. If she started walking fast, sucking back, resisting my leg or rain aids,etc, I stopped her right away and made her do a turn on the forehand or haunches, stopped, patted her and told her she was good, then walked her on. I kept doing that at a walk (alternating between haunches and forehands) until she walked through in both directions with minimal or no resistance. Then I did the same thing at the trot until I got the same results.

It took about 30 minutes of really patient, consistent insistence on my part, reinforced by a lot of praise when she did good. She still doesn't like that spot in the ring, but she accepts that she has to work there and goes through it with minimal silliness now because she would rather work reasonably through the scary spot than be forced to stand in it and turn around in little circles. Whenever I go in the ring, if she starts good right away, I give her lots of praise and pats as we go through the corner. If she starts silly, turns it is. It normally only takes once or twice now and she is good to go for a full work out.
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 10:38 AM
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One other thing I found with my mare. IF she really digs in and isn't having any of it - as in she won't even walk into that corner - turn her around and back her there. A lot of times horses will back somewhere that they won't walk forward into. Then when she is there, make a big deal about her being in the scary spot (yea, good girl!), walk her out, then walk her back in. Repeat until she will at least walk forward into the spot, then you can start phase two as explained above. :)

Aren't mares great. I love that they have a very special mind of their own. There is no forcing them, just patiently working to convince them that your way is better than their's. But when it finally clicks
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