How to calm nervous horse?
 
 

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How to calm nervous horse?

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  • How to calm my nervouse horse out on the trail
  • Calming a nervous horse under saddle

 
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    06-21-2011, 07:22 AM
  #1
Weanling
Question How to calm nervous horse?

My mare is calm, concentrated horse, she is great to ride. Until something happens that scares her. After that it's impossible to get her to concentrate. She doesn't reach for contact, she opens her mouth all the time and she does everything very quickly. She obeys, but not the way I'd like. It's obvious that she thinks about other things and sometimes it takes half an hour to get herself calm and to close her mouth and reach into contact. I don't know how to help her to relax. Circles doesn't help, the only thing that does is to get out of the place.
She's not hyper (well far away from lazy too), just nervous when something scares her, I know it's normal, but she stays nervous for too long...
What should I do to get her calm?
I know I influence on her, so I try to be as calm as I can be, usually I sing and let her have loose reins (she still opens her mouth). I try not to be rigid and ride normally.
     
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    06-21-2011, 09:03 AM
  #2
Started
I would work her hard by whatever scared her. Keep her engaged so she doesn't have time to think about it. Sometimes horses will booger at things to get out of working!
     
    06-21-2011, 09:42 AM
  #3
Yearling
I would do as much desensitization as possible, and as gigem said when she does spook don't give her too much time to think about it. What kinds of things is she spooking at?
     
    06-21-2011, 10:32 AM
  #4
Weanling
She spooks of sleeping dogs that suddenly bolt under her feet, or (ok, this isn't spooking, but she behaves the same way) seeing non-familiar horses when we are on trail. With other things she's ok...
She was afraid of motorbikes, cows, tractors, and other things but it's 2 years from then and she is completly fine with them now, she even doesn't notice it.

Dogs and horses are things I don't know how to desentize her to, she is fine with dogs, until they announce that they are there. But sometimes they just creep from a corner, silently, and then suddenly jump behind her and bark.
And the horses... I think she just has to check if there is a handsome stallion around :P
But I don't like it, cause then she doesn't work at her best.

I won't give her time to think next time this happens :) We'll work hard :P
     
    06-21-2011, 09:50 PM
  #5
Trained
My horse picked up the scent of something in the woods last week and started snorting and jigging. Very narrow trail so nowhere to circle. What I did was have him walk back and forth just 10' or so. He calmed down after about 7 turns. Something about frequent changes of direction seems to switch their brains over from reacting to thinking. That's all I can think of the try with your mare.
     
    06-21-2011, 10:03 PM
  #6
Weanling
When Dusty isnt listening to me or gets spooked I will flex him side to side it gets him back to the thinking side of the brain the barking dog thing I think I'd find a recording of a barking dog and play it for her 24/7 until she forgot about it. The other horse thing I dunno mine can get excited like ohhh who is this but never scared.
     
    06-21-2011, 10:06 PM
  #7
Weanling
In the arena I do lots of circles with my mare. She's hot and somewhat nervous too, so this seems to help her calm down. However, it's not very practical to be circling for 10 min., lol. Changes of direction actually worsen it somewhat for my mare though... she seems to like to go faster away from the scary object, so if she's not looking at it it's hard to keep her collected and calm. I think the most important part is for you to stay calm, and maybe try out what works best for your horse =) Good Luck!
     
    06-21-2011, 11:08 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
My horse picked up the scent of something in the woods last week and started snorting and jigging. Very narrow trail so nowhere to circle. What I did was have him walk back and forth just 10' or so. He calmed down after about 7 turns. Something about frequent changes of direction seems to switch their brains over from reacting to thinking. That's all I can think of the try with your mare.

YES!! This frequent change on a narrow trail would necessitate the horse disengaging the hind end and stepping under herself. While the horse does this, they momentarily must focus on their balance. That is a good thing to do if the horse is worried about another horse. NON punitive work, just work that requires her to think a little.

As for the dogs, well I would have a fit if I had to deal with what you deal with. I know if you can chase the dog, it builds confidence in the hrose, but I know that doesn't always work. I have no adice there, as I would be hard put to deal with that, too.
     
    06-22-2011, 07:50 PM
  #9
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
My horse picked up the scent of something in the woods last week and started snorting and jigging. Very narrow trail so nowhere to circle. What I did was have him walk back and forth just 10' or so. He calmed down after about 7 turns. Something about frequent changes of direction seems to switch their brains over from reacting to thinking. That's all I can think of the try with your mare.
The same thing happened to Savanna on her very first trail ride. We were out alone and she heard something in the woods and stopped and wouldn't listen. Her feet were planted and she was staring into the woods. I changed her direction two or three times and then she walked quietly past the place where she balked. She was also afraid of some of the anthills that we came across. I had to do the same thing. I say it's a good way to get them moving!
     
    06-26-2011, 05:45 PM
  #10
Yearling
I apologize for hijacking this thread, however I don't want to start a new thread and I have a few questions that are kinda' on the same pathway here.
So my horse is also a bit nervous. He tends to be anxious both on the ground and under saddle. I am trying to work with this behavior slowly and sensitive to the fact that he's a flight animal. So would you folks say that it is better to address scary things (i.e. A liverpool, traffic cones, balloons, whatever else) on the ground/in hand or in the saddle? I would like to do the most safe thing for myself, but also the most dominant and alpha choice as well.
     

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