I train horses using natural horsemanship methods, with a little bit of old school cowboy mixed in.
I've been very successful, but just took on a mare 2 days ago that really scares the crap out of me. I've hit a brick wall already, and my confidence has suffered an extreme blow.
Fancy is a 4 year old QH mare. Her wolf tooth came in, and the man who owned her at the time was an imbecile. He began to beat her around the round pen, yanking her mouth and putting her in extreme pain. She then bucked him off, and he chased her, beating her with a water hose. She panicked and ran into the panel on the round pen, got hung up in the bars, and he kept hitting her while she was stuck. He tried to ride her a few more times, with similar results.
Her owner now has had the tooth removed, but had to call me in because she bucked him off the 3 times he has gotten in the saddle. This horse is TERRIFIED of having a rider on her back. She is almost impossible to catch and halter, tries to walk over you when being led, and will not turn to the left (the side the tooth was on).
When on her back, she bucks violently when asked (no matter how gently) to turn to the left. When on the ground in the round pen, she resists lunging on her left lead. She hates the direction. When she tries to turn back to the right and I pressure her to turn back to the left, she throws her back legs out to kick me (hasnt connected yet, thankfully.)
She has improved drastically in just two days, as I can now catch and halter her, even saddled with no issues.
I saddled her today, and had my partner hold her lead rope while I mounted up. As soon as my butt hit the saddle, she spooked like crazy and began to buck. I bailed off before she could throw me. As soon as I was back on the ground and she could see me, she approached me on her own and put her face down for me to rub.
It seems to me like she is scared that she is going to get hurt every time someone gets on her back.
I have 28 more days to work with her, and I am at a loss as to how to proceed.
ANY help and advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure the training is working, but its obviously going to take time for her to trust me. Do I need to proceed as I am, or try a different tactic?