How would you work with this horse? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 58 Old 04-15-2013, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: An English Girl living in beautiful Alberta, Canada
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In answer to your question, this would be my plan:

Over a number of weeks I would fill the arena, one by one, with obstacles - like in a pony club obstacle course. Tarp on the ground, traffic cones, post with flag tied to it, tyres on the ground etc etc.

Each weekly riding session with the horse I would be working on approaching/standing on/ walking past/ picking up etc the new obstacle in question.

I would set us up for success, never failure - start very very easy and never progress to fast.

My coaching to the owner would be along these lines

"Today we successfully walked past that traffic cone, she stopped when I asked, I leaned down and touched it with my hand, and then I asked her to move on. She is NOT scared of that traffic cone. I want you to repeat that exercise in hand, making sure that you control all the movement. Do not add anything else in! Little steps"

For me, this plan would (hopefully) work because:

It would give me the opportunity to find out how to get the mare near to or over things she doesn't like. Getting to deal with scary obstacles in a controlled environment is a very useful technique.

It would give the mare and the owner a structured program for gaining confidence in each other.

It should engage that Welsh Mare's clever little brain

I would be less concerned with making this mare produce good flatwork, and very motivated with making her use her brain in partnership with the human.
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post #12 of 58 Old 04-15-2013, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Scotland
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That is not a bad course of action. I suppose I envisioned the mare, at some point, being able to produce some nice Training level dressage (I still have no clue what British people call the equivalent), and am always working her towards that goal and I was hoping that, through quiet work and discipline, the spookiness would work itself out as the mare got used to the work and more accustomed to being in the arena. I suppose I'm feeling at an impasse with the mare because it doesn't look as though that will happen on the current regime. Perhaps doing what you say, ShropshireRosie, and going back to more basic stuff is the way forward. And I liked Faye's suggestion of having her chase a plastic bag.
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post #13 of 58 Old 04-15-2013, 08:01 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
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It's like you're describing my horse. What does her diet and turn out look like? How is she on the ground?
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #14 of 58 Old 04-15-2013, 08:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
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If you want to know if she's outsmarting people or genuinely spooky, put all those spooky things in the arena, put some grain in a pail and put her in there loose. Offer her a sniff, then head for the various obstacles. I suspect she won't be too concerned about anything. Challenge her, rustle the tarp. If she holds her ground, offer a treat.
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post #15 of 58 Old 04-16-2013, 04:25 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Scotland
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@Sky, she's pretty much on all forage. Just gets a bit of chaff at feeding time so she doesn't feel left out. Her ground manners are fine. By that I mean, not so good that Buck Brannaman, Mark Rashid, and Chris Irwin would be lining up to use her as their next clinic horse, but functional. She's turned out 24/7 in summer but currently out from 9am to 2pm or thereabouts.

@Saddlebag, one experiment her owner and I did was hold a plastic bag and stand between the horse and her hard feed. Not even flapping it about. Just holding it. We were just standing in stable and horse was loose and had a choice between walking up to plastic and getting her tea, or avoiding plastic bag but not getting tea. Horse would not touch her hard feed, and this is a very food oriented horse.

Last edited by thesilverspear; 04-16-2013 at 04:33 AM.
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post #16 of 58 Old 04-16-2013, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Australia
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Originally Posted by corymbia View Post
suddenly sitting on a leaking petrol tanker with a smoke in my hand.
Love the analogy, I'll have to remember it!

Look into nutrition, particularly magnesium. Google 'magnesium for horses' Try putting her in the arena with 'obstacles' & feed & you not being present...
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post #17 of 58 Old 04-16-2013, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,444
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Yes, a Mag supplement would not be out of order, or at least giving it a go.

This is the horse, or so I am told, who spent an entire night hiding in one corner of her stable not touching her hay (in the opposite corner) because her owner had left her there with a Jolly Ball. Horse did not eat until morning, when barn staff realized what had happened and removed the offending ball.
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post #18 of 58 Old 04-16-2013, 10:50 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Some times Llanelian - North wales, sometimes Hull in East Yorkshire (UK)
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if you are giving her magnesium make sure she gets enough calcium as well.
Horses cant process magnesium properly without sufficient calcium

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

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post #19 of 58 Old 04-16-2013, 10:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
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Mmm, good stop, spins away, likes a controlled environment, hot and reactive, stick her in western tack and make her a reiner
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post #20 of 58 Old 04-16-2013, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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You are the only real discipline in this horse's life, unfortunately. Beyond using CA's method and doing intense ground work only, I can't see you making much progress. It you really like this mare, perhaps the owner may end up selling her to you. Otherwise, she is her property. You didn't say that you were being paid to train. If I missed that, you could proscribe a better training regimen. Otherwise, if you're just lending her training help, I would stop. The owner is riding an accident waiting to happen. Don't know about you but I don't have enough time to do all of the training I want to with MY 3 horses, and they live in my back yard. You sound like you can train. Perhaps you can find somebody else you WANTS you help.

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