horse hates arena

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horse hates arena

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    09-22-2009, 09:32 PM
horse hates arena

Ok I haven't been on here in a while but I went back to square one with this horse I ride. Basically to make a long story short, I had her to where I could ride her around the pasture, trail ride, her old house. Moved to a new house and she started really acting out. Not lunging, pushing me, racing around...etc...last time I RODE her she spooked at something at the back of the arena (which she has hated from day one) The saddle slipped, I fell off and she went bucking through the fence and off into the pasture leaving the saddle in several pieces. So I was advised to go back to 'sacking her out' and working on ground work. I have done all that, she's an angel on the lunge line...walk trot canter both directions and stop on command. So I'm back to getting on her back. Which I did last week. We've got a new bit on her, it's a pelham...solid mouthpiece with a reign converter. I got on her, no problems. Walked her across the arena and up to the front no problems. But once we were at that gate, she wouldn't budge for anything. She pinned her ears back, danced around a bit...I got her to back up a couple steps but that was it. All I was trying to do was get her to go 3 feet so I could reach the crop I brought out with me but didn't mount with. I couldn't get her to do it so I had to get off and grab the crop. I made her lunge just with me holding the reigns, right in front of the gate. Both directions. Then I got on (with the crop) and made her walk back and forth across the arena a couple times and since she was good I ended it there. I'm just wondering if anyone can give me any advice on dealing with this arena hatred she has!
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    09-22-2009, 10:41 PM
She needs to think of the arena as a fun place, not a work place. Pushing her and forcing her in will not make things better. So start on the ground and make puzzles for her to solve, get her using her brain, not just going around in circles with lunging. Place treats around the arena and have her find them to build incentive to go somewhere. Once she has a more positive attitude on the ground, start under saddle.
    09-23-2009, 10:03 AM
You could try feeding her every day in the arena, maybe turning her out with a buddy into the arena. Or just take her in their and brush her. Like Spirithorse said, make it a fun place.
    09-23-2009, 11:24 AM
Rottenweiler - well if you live with a Rottweiler, like I do, you know that once they have accepted you, then they are *****cats. Beat them and they become difficult - most of them have no fear of humans.

Your horse for some reason has spooked in the arena - the event meant a lot to you but not much to the horse. So, if you want to get back to using the arena for training then as the others have said, you've got to make it a fun place not a fear place. So be careful with Pelham bits. Don't whack her with a crop in the arena. The arena came with the house move -a change for her. So she's frightened of something and it would be nice to know what. Maybe you'll find out, maybe you won't.
It is still early days in the new surroundings - don't be too hard on her otherwise she'll associate your harshness towards her with the new arena. And in a way - she's right.
Be patient with her, but be persistent.
Incidentally I hope you are giving her the occasional apple or carrot as a treat for being responsive when she is being responsive. Don't forget, if you bought a stick (crop) then you should have bought the carrot at the same time.

Barry G
    09-23-2009, 01:09 PM
Horse's don't like change........period. Some accept a new place quicker than others but a spook at a new place isn't that unusual.

I agree with Spirit, don't try and force her to "like" the back of the arena. Forget there's even a back where she is comfortable and slowly start moving to the back as if it was the most natural thing in the world. As soon as she starts to get apprehensive keep her moving but move away. Advance and retreat.......

She sounds like she got a "busy" mind. Those types of minds need to be engaged in a task. Just keep asking her to do things..........trot poles,changes in gait, leg yields..... whatever.

I'd like to address the use of a crop. There is nothing wrong with using a crop to "encourage" a horse. That said I've seen too many horse's "whacked" with one and it usually comes at a time that things have escalated. This is a no win situation for rider and horse.
    09-23-2009, 02:12 PM
^^ Agreed. I also like the idea of feeding her in the take that a step further, perhaps you can eventually tack her up and ride her into the arena over to her grain and sit on her while she eats. That would blow her mind!
    09-23-2009, 03:53 PM
Unfortunately she is not my horse so, although I had the same thought of feeding her in the arena...the owners wont do that. She has been uncomfortable in the back of the arena since day one. It used to be used for weekly shows, so there is a building behind the arena with picnic tables and such where people used to hang out. Since day one, she has been always very concerned about being back there and of the bushes around it. Even when I'm not on her back, just lead her back there and let her have a good look around without any pressure. The day she spooked, spun and took off...there were kids playing at that building. I think she initially spooked at that, spun on a dime and took off to the front of the arena. Then the saddle slipped and that freaked her out more, so she went sideways trying to get away from the saddle. She slammed into the fence, which broke and she took off to the back pasture - PAST THE BUILDING and eventually just froze and let someone go and unhook what was left of the saddle to free her. Now, she was fine...'cept a couple tiny scratches and a good scare.
As for the crop, I don't really USE it that much. Only until recently and, like I said, I hadn't even mounted with it because I thought maybe the new bit would be enough to control her. When I HAVE used it, all I need to do is barely brush her with it and she's back on track. And also, I have brought treats out with me. Previously I had used little peppermint horse treats and given them to her at the back of the arena, not when she was anxiously looking at 'whatever' but when she relaxed and focused on me. The last time I brought out baby carrots, had a baggie of them in my pocket. She is very responsive to treats and will nicker to you when she thinks you have them.
I didn't work with her today because I'm concerned she may have a medical issue going on but I wont post that under this thread, I think there's a 'horse health' thread somewhere and I'll post that there
    09-23-2009, 05:56 PM
The "new" bit will do nothing if the horse doesnt understand. Also you can use the worst or harshest bit in the world and the horse will always pay attention to what it is scared of. I would suggest going to a snaffle or the bit the horse was in. Just to bring things back to the norm for her. The horse needs consistency with the training and when you change something you need to go to square one with it. With the arena part feeding the horse in it would do well, but I read that you can't do that so I would suggest trying to work the horse at the gait and keep doing it and only let him rest in the arena so the horse can begin to associate the arena as a good place. You can go at it alot like training the horse to get in the trailer.
    09-23-2009, 06:04 PM
I should mention the bit that WAS being used on her was a rubber snaffle. When she spooked and spun and took off, it was suggested I switch to a pelham or a tom thumb to have more control and 'stopping power' on her
    09-23-2009, 06:31 PM
Originally Posted by rottenweiler    
, it was suggested I switch to a pelham or a tom thumb to have more control and 'stopping power' on her
Of course it was....... *shakes head*, she needs some time to trust her rider. When horse's spook big it's because they haven't learned that they can trust their rider. Working with her to build her confidence in herself and in you is the key.

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