Horse loves me, hates my mom.. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-04-2010, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Western Mass
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Horse loves me, hates my mom..

Hi guys I really need some help.

I've owned my horse for a little over a year now, he's had some issues we've been working with, he has VERY low confidence and is incredibly spooky. But me and him have developed a bond, he's sweet to me and has begun to trust me more and more, to the point where he spooks much less with me and his spooks are far less severe. I trust him completely and never get on his with an attitude that he's going to be bad.

My mom however, rides him 2-3 times a week when I cannot, and they have no where near the bond we have. It boils down to the fact that she doesn't trust him, gets on him with this non-trusting attitude and he won't listen to her, he'll duck out on the corners, spook, get tense, and in response to that she gets really tense, harsher in her commands [though they don't work because she's nervous] and ends up whipping him with the crop and getting mad. It makes her ride terrible and makes her trust him less.

Their relationship has gotten so bad that he is actually aggressive towards him, when she goes in his stall to halter him he pins his ears and snaps at her, when she takes him out and brushes him he continually snaps at her. When she saddles him the same situation. He never snaps at me except sometimes during the girthing.

So I was wondering what my mom can do to develop more trust, and a better relationship with my horse?
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-04-2010, 11:24 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: CO
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When a horse is actively aggressive with a handler, it is a sign of blatant disrespect...does it stem from his lack of confidence in people in general? Probably, but I think where your mom needs to start is ground exercises...getting him to move his feet in all directions; forwards, backwards, left, right. If she can't control his feet from the ground, then of course he is going to be even less responsive from the saddle.

As a whole, I think both of you need to work on desensitization exercises (something I think is very important in abuse cases, and otherwise spooky/flighty horses). Use flags, plastic bags on sticks, etc. I find that the more desensitizing you can accomplish on the ground, and the more engaged you can keep his mind both from the ground and undersaddle, the less flighty they tend to be.

My mare was very spooky when I got her too, and I've done ALOT of desensitization on her, and that has helped immensely.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-05-2010, 12:05 AM
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That's a tough one. Once she has a negative feeling toward him, it's hard to change. Striking him for spooking is pretty counterproductive. She may have to rethink or be reeducated on why a horse spooks and what a horse NEEDS from its' rider in the way of helpful leadership.

I know that the Appy I ride is much more tentative under me than under his owner. They have a long relationship and she is a much more confident rider, so the horse is happier under her. However, I have made a much better relationship with Mac in the last 2 year.s He had got me off 4 times with his spook/spin shenanigans. So, I always assume he will spin, and in fact, I still have trouble trusting him. (he can it do it SOOO fast and without warning, it takes your breath away).
Anyway, the big breakthrough came for me when I tried to think of him as needing my HELP. He needs me to be with him mentally when he's worried and make decisions for him. I don't push him beyond what he can tolerate, but if he gets worried about some scary thing on the trailside, I don't just leave him to make the decision whether to react or not. I am THERE and not in a harsh way, just a "oh, that 's a shadow, . . whatever" sort of way. I pick up one rein and kind of check in and tell him to move on.
This may not have anythig specific to do with the problems your mom is having, but one thing is for her to put this fundamental way of thinking in her mind, "I am here to help you through the tough spots". This will bring out her kindest perspective and will be so different from "I am gonna show you not to do that to ME!" sort of feeling.

The other thing, is maybe she should not ride the guy for awhile and instead work with him on the ground. Every time that a horse and rider do something successfully, it builds that positive feeling for both of them.

Like even things like working on leading skills or teach him to back up and come forward on a loose line. Teach him to step on a cardboard flat box. walk over a tarp, step over poles, what ever engaging game you can come up with.
Would your mom enjoy doing that sort of thing?

It can be a lot of fun and people and horses can really have a new relationship when they are both unburdended.
tinyliny is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 11-06-2010, 09:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: New Hampshire
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Your mom should take it back to work on the ground. Make the bond on the ground solid before riding. Have her maybe do some lunging activities for now to help the bond. Good luck!
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-07-2010, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Western Mass
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Hey guys, she had a lesson yesterday [riding] and she said she got him to listen to him, not shy out on her, and relax and she was extremely pleased, she also said that he wasn't snappy with her on the ground, so it seems like things are going good on their own, but I definitely recommended some of the advice you guys offered to me in case problems arise again. Thanks a ton guys!
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