Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
The better of two evils?
*sighs* Back to this song and dance. So I've been working Zierra in the yard, some of you may remember that I posted awhile back with what a demon she's become with bolting. Lately, she's been fantastic - I got a new Western saddle, and not only has she been working at all three gaits on a loose rein in a snaffle, I've even got her rounding and respecting the bit when I ride English and ask for a contact. We're even reintroducing crossrails and she's doing fantastic - not bolting at them and jumping wildly.
And then we hit the trails and it all ends. At this point, I think she's got an extreme case of the "herd bounds". I can walk her out on a totally loose rein, the most relaxed horse alive but the MINUTE we head home, she turns into a raving lunatic. She's NEVER done this before - she gets jiggy and stupid if other horses gallop by, but this is just ridiculous.
My question is, would I be better to work her hard in big circles when she refuses to walk? Or should I spin her in tight, tiny circles until she whoas? Essentially, she wants to jog the entire way home. Which is one thing in itself, I don't even MIND jigging, I can compromise. But she's resorted to FREAKING out when I won't let her run home. She'll jig a few feet and then flip her nose hard, leap into the air with a buck, and try to bolt. The harder I hold her in, the tenser she gets. If I give her her head, she bolts.
I tried the last ride with a tiedown and a mechanical hackamore because I have more control but it effectively reduces my ability to straight rein her when she's going insane. I'm going to take her out in her snaffle and martingale next time so I have control over spinning her or making her lope figure 8's.
She knows how to neckrein, but she chooses to forget when she's focused on running. I tried everything, I swear. Anytime she trotted off, I'd ask her to back up. That worked a few times and then she REFUSED to back up anymore. If I insisted, she'd threaten to rear. This is her new thing - when I lay into her, she threatens to go up.
I tried RiosDad advice - shut her down HARD. I threw her back on her haunches a few times while hollering WHOA as loud as I could and all it did was make her neurotic - flipping her nose constantly and trying to rear. I tried stepping off and lunging her - none of it matters because as soon as I'm OUT of the saddle, she calms down and thinks straight.
I have NEVER run this horse home before, so I have no idea where this is coming from. This is the same horse a year ago that pretended she didn't see the driveway because she wanted to keep going. She's never acted like this before.
I'm not even considering a "pain" issue seeing as how she's working just fine in the yard and heading out and only gets stupid going home or when another horse tries to get ahead of her. She does it regardless if she's alone or with other horses.
Sorry that was such a novel, I'm just a bit dumbfounded. I've tried loping big figure eight's until she stops, I've tried doing leg yielding, I've tried everything to make her focus on ME.
I'm going to swallow my pride and tell RiosDad I need help. I'm willing to take any advice because I am FED UP. This horse needs a nice big dose of I'M FREAKING SCARY AND YOU NEED TO FEAR ME. Laying into her only makes her freak worse though and get neurotic. And tiring her out has little effect, but I'm willing to log 10 hours in the saddle if it teaches this little witch she needs to fear me and my consequence more then she desires to be home with her friends.
I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.