My mare is 4 and I've had her since August. She is a TB and nervous in new places. I'm not really sure how to handle her when she acts up or how to help her relax.
It took about 2 months before she was comfortable on the trailer and even now she isn't totally relaxed. When we go off the property she gets tense and looks at everything. She is quicker to spook. I can handle all of this. I'm pretty good about staying relaxed my self and if I get her forward and into the bridle to work, she is manageable.
When there are other horses around, especially if they are going faster than her or pass too close, she hops and rears and tosses her head and then trys to run. This is what I don't know how to handle. I usually laugh it off and hope that people pay attention and don't pass too close again. The more she does this hopping thing, the more anxious I get. I haven't fallen yet, and I can always stop her when she trys to take off, but I'm waiting for the day when things don't go as well.
She is also very anxious on trail rides. The only place I have taken her is in a large hacking field by my barn. She was very nervous and reared/bucked/bolted/spun/ and spooked. I don't take her very far any more- just to where she is comfortable and then we turn around. I don't think she likes seeing the whole field, but she isn't this bad when we go cross country.
In the ring she is an angel. Sure she spooks and acts up sometimes, but it is rare, much easier to handle and it's not as bad.
Tomorrow I plan on taking her on a trail ride with a very calm companion who is okay leading or following. I want to see if she is better in an area that isn't as wide open. The probelm is- our "trail" is really a gravel road. Cars do drive on it- and they don't slow down, so she might get scared about that.
What can I do to help her relax? Any amount of training in the ring hasn't helped her nerves. She is 100% okay with horses that she knows passing her at the barn, but at shows, people tend to get a little careless with their steering. How do I help her? I can probably sit through all of her antics and just shake my head and keep going, but will that really help the next time we are in the same situation?