Filly with Nerves in Arena? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-16-2010, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Filly with Nerves in Arena?

So heres the deal. I am working with this 2 year old filly for my friend for the next week because she will be gone. My friend wants me to just lunge her horse around. Well there is a problem.
Right when your leading the filly into the arena she will want to start trotting or fast walking on the lead line or lunge line (whatever I choose to lead her in with) and no matter how many times you say whoa or put pressure on her halter she wouldn't stop and will do tight circles around you. Im thinking she is very nervous and moves away with her anxiousty. Is this a sign of disrespect possibly?

So, is there anyway I can help this filly calm down before each session of work and get her to halt and wait for my command to move out.

I know this really isn't my problem but I really want to help out my friend and all of the youngsters I have dealt with know enough to listen to my command of whoa and stay still.


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post #2 of 9 Old 05-16-2010, 09:18 PM
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Horses are fight or flight animals - And if they can, they will choose flight 99% of the time as they aren't equipped well to fight.

If the filly is nervous, asking her to stop moving her feet will nly increase the feeling of being 'trapped' - Unable to flee from any perceived danger. That's why horses who are scared/nervous often prance.

You will have a hard time convincing her to stand still while she is still worried. I would drift more toward gettingher comfortable within the environment before asking her to stand there. It makes it trickier that she is so young - normally I would just work a horse within the scary environment, and work them hard. Work them until they are either focussed on me and not the nerves, or if that doesn't work, work them until they are so tired they can't pay attention to the nerves. Then I would stop, stand for a few minutes, and leave the area.

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post #3 of 9 Old 05-16-2010, 09:27 PM
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good advice WS! I agree. Often trying to make a nervous horse stand still only makes them more nervous. I would be careful about lunging a 2 y/o too hard though. It can be tough on their joints.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-16-2010, 09:37 PM
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That's why I said it's harder as she is so young - I don't have much experience with such young horses so not too many ideas from my corner!

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post #5 of 9 Old 05-16-2010, 09:37 PM
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I agree with Upnover and WS as well. It's usually more productive to allow her settle herself. Instead of putting her out on a circle just make it more simple and hand walk her around the arena until she calms down. She needs to be able to move to settle down. Don't ask anything of her that's complicated, just keep it simple and hang in there until she realizes she's ok. Unfortunately, we cannot speak their language and tell them everything is ok and then magically it is. Be calm and confident yourself, and walk her around until she decided for herself that she can quiet down.
When horses decide things for themselves and have their own realizations the more permanent the result is.

In riding, a horse's energy is like a river- guided by the banks but not stopped by them.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-16-2010, 09:44 PM
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Is there any chance you can turn her loose in the arena for a while? That could help her get used to it, and help her sort out anything she thinks might be scary in there.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-16-2010, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice everyone! Ill call my friend and share some of this advice. thats a great idea by the way carleen! Ill try just letting her loose in there and find out what she is so nervous about.
Ill also walk her around the arena to calm her down too.
thanks everyone!

" Horses are a humans wings."
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-17-2010, 04:52 PM
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You could also take her out of her pen during feeding time and feed her in the arena.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-19-2010, 07:12 PM
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All youngins are either dead heads or hign spirited. I prefer the high spirited and the dead heads are just that.

The key is to get her focused on you and moving her feet. She will find comfort in that and will come around. It may take some time--depending on how you act.

If you stay calm--don't try to cheat as she will know if you are--and simply ask for control she will give it to you. Tune in to her and know when she is getting nervous before she does and get her thinking about what you want her to do with her feet.

Think of all the futurity horses--2 year olds-- who are exposed to massive crowds and chaos. they only get one chance and the only way is keep em thinkin about you and what you want.
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