Following "items" Freak her out...
   

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Following "items" Freak her out...

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        04-06-2013, 10:00 PM
      #1
    Weanling
    Following "items" Freak her out...

    So Fi my 5 year old IDH has an absolute fear of things following her as she backs up or anything laying in front of her.

    The first week I had her I made the mistake of dropping the lungeline and she took two steps back, started snorting like a bull (whilst I'm trying to tighten my saddle) before she took off at a dead gallop. She galloped the pasture about 10 minutes before she finally got hung up on the ATV, saddle under her belly and all. This is vital, I'm pretty sure. But the problem started before this incident, but wasn't aware.

    Fi was worked up and down on a tarp as she grew up, same with me when I frst bought her. Loads of groundwork with the tarp, no problem!

    Last week was her first day back to work after the radial nerve paralysis and decided to play around with a tarp.

    Long story short I got on her, walked to the tarp, let her investigate, took a step on it, she backed up and the tarp got stuck on her hoof thus it came with us. I had her on the buckle with the rein so she had no guidance from me on how to react. When I saw this materializing I made a snatch for the reins, but it was too late. Her flight kicked in. She'd tugged the tarp and fled in the opposite direction. Leaving me on my bum in the dirt. Stopped about 8 feet away.

    First fall in over three years and my first off of her

    I worked with her and this "scary" tarp for about 10 minutes before I resumed our ride. Then followed up the next day with the tarp again. She was fine walking on it after my husband managed to convince her after I tried earnestly for 40 minutes to even get her to think about said tarp. She had gotten to the point where she would get within an inch of the tarp and shut down. So the hubby took over, we moved her to the high-wall round pen, set the tarp down and she walked right over, backed over it, turned around, etc. Took it back to the arena that the incident happened (different spot) she hesitated, but humored us and walked over. Moved said tarp to original panic location, she wouldn't walk on it for about 5 minutes. Who said horses weren't smart

    Needless to say getting on, off, and turning on the tarp is no big deal. The problem is something that drags in front of the horse as they back away kind of deal.

    So... How would you desensitize a horse that panics at an item that follows them whilst backing (essentially something they can't see all that great) I mean heck, she freaked out when I went to catch her and her reins were hanging on the ground (same applies to the leadline on the ground).
         
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        04-06-2013, 10:44 PM
      #2
    Yearling
    I think the easiest way to go about it is on the ground in a safe, enclosed environment - arena, roundpen, etc.

    I'd start with things being on the ground in front of and behind her. Then, work on moving her on and around them.
    Hang on Fi likes this.
         
        04-07-2013, 04:25 AM
      #3
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hang on Fi    
    The first week I had her I made the mistake of dropping the lungeline ... galloped the pasture about 10 minutes before she finally got hung up on the ATV, saddle under her belly and all.
    Lucky there wasn't a bad accident/wreck. For fear of stating the obvious, now that this event has been & done, especially as you'd only had her for a week & you weren't sure of how 'solid' or otherwise she is, it's a good move to get used to a horse - & ensure she's used to you & all your 'toys' - in an enclosed, safe environment. If there's any risk with your training of a horse panicking & getting loose, best to keep them in a safe area.

    Quote:
    Fi was worked up and down on a tarp as she grew up, same with me when I frst bought her. Loads of groundwork with the tarp, no problem!
    What did you do with the tarp, aside from I'm guessing walking over it? Have you done 'groundwork' with other tools/toys/obstacles too? Tarps are probably not a common thing for them to come across out on the trail so good to get them used to *listening to & trusting the handler* in the face of other stuff they need to be desensitised to.

    Quote:
    I worked with her and this "scary" tarp for about 10 minutes before I resumed our ride. Then followed up the next day with the tarp again. She was fine walking on it after my husband managed to convince her after I tried earnestly for 40 minutes to even get her to think about said tarp. She had gotten to the point where she would get within an inch of the tarp and shut down. So the hubby took over, we moved her to the high-wall round pen, set the tarp down and she walked right over,
    I'd guess 10 minutes was too long/stressful & 40 definitely well overdone. &/or however you were going about it was too much/confrontational. When approaching this sort of training, it's best to do it in a way that's minimal stress to the horse. Very short, 'easy' sessions are much better than persisting for long periods, even on successes, but particularly on failures. It's great that you recognised that she emotionally 'shut down' & this is an indication that it's all way too much for her. I think that hubby having success was nothing to do with a high walled round pen but that the problem became you & the tarp in that particular place- they're very perceptive of details & don't generalise well.

    Quote:
    Needless to say getting on, off, and turning on the tarp is no big deal. ... So... How would you desensitize a horse that panics at an item that follows them whilst backing ... I mean heck, she freaked out when I went to catch her and her reins were hanging on the ground
    Sounds like you did think it was a big deal to me?? I wouldn't consider this mare in ready to be ridden yet, if she can't even handle dragging reins & stuff yet. I imagine these wouldn't be her only training 'holes' either. Anyway, I'd be getting her used to stuff 'chasing' her in the same manner as I'd desensitise her to anything else - with 'approach & retreat' tactics to get her used to all that sort of stuff in a non-confrontational way. Oh & in very short sessions with stress-free breaks.

    Oh & you may want to look into extra Mg in her diet, which may help too if she's a generally nervy individual.
    Palomine likes this.
         
        04-07-2013, 05:04 AM
      #4
    Green Broke
    First, who had the radial nerve paralysis?

    It sounds like some of it could be you hyping her up at this point. The fact that she didn't do it for you but did for your husband seems to point towards that.

    I would also never let your horse have the ability to "drag" the reins. If she launched forward and caught a rein, she could easily slice her tongue in half on the bit. Never let your reins touch the ground, I know it can't be helped when you fall off though.

    As for desensitizing her, forget the saddle an bridle. Get a good Ol' rope halter and looong lead rope. You first need to get yielding hindquarters down pat. Then stand at her shoulder with the tarp and cue her to back up. Even one hesitation to step back you stop and praise the crap out of her. It needs to be done in baby steps and you eventually repeat until she willingly backs without hesitation. I she ever freaks and tried to run off, yield her hindquarters immediately and get her attention back on you.

    How is she for standing to get her feet done? Have you ever looped a cotton lead around her Pasterns and getting her to yield pressure an pick up her feet that way? That may also help in your situation to prep her for the dragging items.
    Posted via Mobile Device
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        04-07-2013, 09:29 AM
      #5
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    
    Lucky there wasn't a bad accident/wreck. For fear of stating the obvious, now that this event has been & done, especially as you'd only had her for a week & you weren't sure of how 'solid' or otherwise she is, it's a good move to get used to a horse - & ensure she's used to you & all your 'toys' - in an enclosed, safe environment. If there's any risk with your training of a horse panicking & getting loose, best to keep them in a safe area.

    I don't have the luxury of a round pen, hence the lunge line. I'm aware this incident could've been ugly, but it wasn't. I also did not introduce the tarp at this point. She didn't see said tarp until a month into me owning her. I was lunging her prior to riding as her previous owners did when the "got loose and bolted" happened.

    What did you do with the tarp, aside from I'm guessing walking over it? Have you done 'groundwork' with other tools/toys/obstacles too? Tarps are probably not a common thing for them to come across out on the trail so good to get them used to *listening to & trusting the handler* in the face of other stuff they need to be desensitised to.

    Yeah, that's for certain. Definitely not something she'll surpass on the trail As for what we did, we just simply walked over it, let her sniff. No big deal. The lungeline is what made her bolt, something that simply fell outta my paws while trying to tighten the cinch.

    I'd guess 10 minutes was too long/stressful & 40 definitely well overdone. &/or however you were going about it was too much/confrontational. When approaching this sort of training, it's best to do it in a way that's minimal stress to the horse. Very short, 'easy' sessions are much better than persisting for long periods, even on successes, but particularly on failures. It's great that you recognised that she emotionally 'shut down' & this is an indication that it's all way too much for her. I think that hubby having success was nothing to do with a high walled round pen but that the problem became you & the tarp in that particular place- they're very perceptive of details & don't generalise well.

    I wasn't forcing her to do anything at this point, I wanted optimism. This was also on a lone day of its own, not the first one. I was guiding her up to it. Letting her evaluate the tarp, take a sniff. I did encourage her to try and walk over it and walked around it. Which also consisted of multiple 8 minute breaks or so away from said tarp. I even brought her pasture mate out and walked her over around and on the pasture for about 10 minutes. So the "lesson" was practically broken up. I do my best not to overwhelm her, but obviously missed the mark.

    It probably wasn't a forty minute workout, just felt that long. This wasn't a stressful environment, she wasn't wall-eyed, snorting, and sweating. It was "Nope, I'm not doing this." Kind of attitude.


    Sounds like you did think it was a big deal to me?? I wouldn't consider this mare in ready to be ridden yet, if she can't even handle dragging reins & stuff yet. I imagine these wouldn't be her only training 'holes' either. Anyway, I'd be getting her used to stuff 'chasing' her in the same manner as I'd desensitise her to anything else - with 'approach & retreat' tactics to get her used to all that sort of stuff in a non-confrontational way. Oh & in very short sessions with stress-free breaks.

    She's well mature beyond her years. Perhaps you misinterpreted over a simple hiccup. Fiona has never given me an issue up until now. She's never bolted and I've owned her almost an entire year. She's been routinely ridden five days a week up until her "injury" lessons with a licenses instructor, shows (which she hollered, but hey, it was only her second show and she still did phenomenal) Has been doing low-level cross-country and some jumping, dressage work, and trails. She's definitely not as green as what is being perceived (or as I'm interpreting from your post of her)

    Did I think the tarp was a big deal? No I don't. Not with how much work her previous owner did on it and me as well. Fi has never bolted nor "lost it" when something has startled her. A lot of this I believe materialised from not being able to control her with my own guidance. I didn't have the reins to say "Hey, it's no big deal." So she took it upon herself to react. She's had maybe two fleeing moments (this one being one of 'em) and simple half-halt brought her right back to earth.

    She's intelligent and inquisitive (probably to a fault) but still very much mature beyond her years.


    Oh & you may want to look into extra Mg in her diet, which may help too if she's a generally nervy individual.

    She's the polar opposite of nervy

    Thanks for the reply :)
    My post is highlighted in red above :)
         
        04-07-2013, 09:33 AM
      #6
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kayella    
    First, who had the radial nerve paralysis?

    She did, two weeks ago. She was given the OK to be ridden by the vet last Sunday. We caught it early enough that she was nearly "normal" by the second day.

    It sounds like some of it could be you hyping her up at this point. The fact that she didn't do it for you but did for your husband seems to point towards that.

    Perhaps...

    I would also never let your horse have the ability to "drag" the reins. If she launched forward and caught a rein, she could easily slice her tongue in half on the bit. Never let your reins touch the ground, I know it can't be helped when you fall off though.

    Please re-read my initial post. She got away from me hence the dragging reins. I'm aware of the risks and never would let the reins drag simple to desensitize her. She'd gotten away from me and the initial fall broke the buckle of my reins.

    As for desensitizing her, forget the saddle an bridle. Get a good Ol' rope halter and looong lead rope. You first need to get yielding hindquarters down pat. Then stand at her shoulder with the tarp and cue her to back up. Even one hesitation to step back you stop and praise the crap out of her. It needs to be done in baby steps and you eventually repeat until she willingly backs without hesitation. I she ever freaks and tried to run off, yield her hindquarters immediately and get her attention back on you.

    She's very good at yielding on her hindquarters and respectful all the way around on the ground. She won't crowd, will move on the forehand and yields. My wrong direction of focus is how she broke away from the first time when walking around the tarp, which equaled in the reins being on the ground in the first place.

    How is she for standing to get her feet done? Have you ever looped a cotton lead around her Pasterns and getting her to yield pressure an pick up her feet that way? That may also help in your situation to prep her for the dragging items.

    She's perfect with the farrier,, vet, shots, loading, show atmosphere, trails, and everything else. This incident is very out of character for her.

    Posted via Mobile Device
    Thanks for the post; mine is highlighted in red. Excuse anything I missed, I'm out the door.
         
        04-07-2013, 09:41 AM
      #7
    Weanling
    I can't edit my first response since it has been 10 minutes, but what I meant to say to the tarp "big deal" part was this:

    Did I think the tarp was a big deal? No, I didn't... But I also didn't expect it to get caught on her hoof lol*
         
        04-07-2013, 01:58 PM
      #8
    Yearling
    She has to accept that **** happens. Tarps blow around, plastic bags get stuck in trees etc and she has to deal with it. I use a training stick with a plastic bag and make a game out of it. I will show it to the horse and encourage him to step toward it while holding the rope so he will feel tension if he backs. When he steps forward, the scary thing goes away. That's step 1.

    Step 2 is that this 'scary thing' is going to get worse if you freak out, but it will go away if you relax. I bring it to the horse's shoulder and if he freaks out I shake it and make all kinds of racket until he stands still and allows it to touch. Tension gone -scary thing goes away.

    So I teach the horse that the only way to make a scary thing to go away is to relax and accept it.
    loosie and Hang on Fi like this.
         
        04-07-2013, 06:35 PM
      #9
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palogal    
    She has to accept that **** happens. Tarps blow around, plastic bags get stuck in trees etc and she has to deal with it. I use a training stick with a plastic bag and make a game out of it. I will show it to the horse and encourage him to step toward it while holding the rope so he will feel tension if he backs. When he steps forward, the scary thing goes away. That's step 1.

    Step 2 is that this 'scary thing' is going to get worse if you freak out, but it will go away if you relax. I bring it to the horse's shoulder and if he freaks out I shake it and make all kinds of racket until he stands still and allows it to touch. Tension gone -scary thing goes away.

    So I teach the horse that the only way to make a scary thing to go away is to relax and accept it.
    Thank you for the post. I was looking for other options to handle the situation and you hit the nail on the head. Seeing how others would handle something like this and your post confirms a few things I've done with her.

    The second day I worked on it with her I was able to drape it over her back, ears to tail, walk her around with it. After she accepted that this noisy and scary tarp wasn't so scary when she stopped shying from it. I was able to drag it through her legs and under her belly.

    I could be over analyzing it, but I wonder if she got hung up on something at some point in her youngster life that she associates it. Horses have that thing about remembering the negative.

    Either way, I agree with how you tackle the "scary" stuff that's going to happen at some point in her life .

    She really has been an absolute blast to work with and this doesn't really bother me that she had this outburst. She has a runny tear duct and that's it. So a horse as optimistic, intelligent, inquisitive as she is and bold, I'll take a moment of "panic" that can be fixed over something chronic. This whole incident (as stated earlier) is really out of character for her. Thus curiosity got the better of me to see how people tackle things that startle horses in front of them.
         
        04-07-2013, 08:30 PM
      #10
    Yearling
    It just takes time...keep at it.
         

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