I need HELP >.<

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I need HELP >.<

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        09-14-2012, 09:11 PM
    I need HELP >.<

    Today was a very frustrating/infuriating day. My mare has ALWAYS been terrified of leaving her paddock at our last home. I found many excuses for her behavior about her past, about her fear issues, then I settled that it was because there were too many scary things outside that barn. I moved to a new house where I could keep her and there is nothing around besides grass, grass and more grass. The only potentially scary thing is the dumpster for the manure. She has her friend, a pony, living with us. With a great deal of work she is no longer herd bound. I walked him out in circles where she could and couldn't see him for periods of time progressively making the time she couldn't see him longer until she just didn't care anymore. I can now take the pony out for hours on hikes without any fuss from her.

    Now when we first moved to our new house I said "I am nipping this no leaving the paddock thing in the bud!" The fourth day she was in I marched her giant patooty outside her paddock, past the dumpster and found a good place to let her graze. She calmly walked out, calmly ate grass and then coming back she got a little nervous of the dumpster (odd because this time I was between her and the dumpster) but we walked past it back and forth about 10 times until it no longer phased her.

    Then the past almost 3 weeks the bugs have been SO completely miserable I've only been able to put her out long enough to do her stall, or not at all. She has a serious allergy to bug bites and it's been awful lately so I didn't want to risk letting her out much. But we practiced all our basic ground work techniques for a few minutes every day. Yielding her hind end, front end, backing up, leading and halting in turn with me, turning to and away from me without ever invading my space. She has been doing incredibly well with all these skills. She has learned to put her head down with just a tiny amount of pressure on her halter, even when we are walking by a scary object she'll put her head to the ground.

    Well today was pretty cool and there weren't too many bugs so I decided today would be a good day to venture out again. We practiced all our ground work skills until she was very light, as usual. I opened the gate and she backed violently away from it to the end of the lead rope before I managed to stop her backing. I immediately made her lunge in a tight trot around me until I got lip-licking. I marched her toward the gate BOOM she's backing up again!! So I do what a number of trainers had told me and backed her up more. I backed her until she was all the way at the other end of the paddock. And that's where we stayed for a good 20 minutes. She would NOT move any forward steps AT ALL. I was pissed at this point and was yielding her hind and front end quite aggressively. She was spinning till she was dizzy - but STILL wouldn't take a step forward. I decided forward wasn't the way to go, so I zig-zagged her accross her paddock, whenever she stopped I changed direction but still walking a tiny bit toward the gate. This took about 30 minutes of me getting more and more furious and repeated yielding practices. Finally she got to the gate opening. At this point I was exhausted and furious and I was willing to take ANYTHING she'd give me. So I went as far as the rope would reach and stood there holding all my strength on the rope. I just waited. After about 5 whole minutes she took 1 step forward. I let her eat some grass and while eating she meandered a few more steps out of her paddock. She got the front half of her body out of the paddock and then started to graze backwards so I decided to just call that a day.
    I turned to walk her back to her paddock and she lunged past me scared of something, god knows what. I turned her around and marched her back to where we were grazing I was NOT going to let it end on that note! She went back, ate some more and we turned back more slowly this time I made her face the wall that she was now suddenly afraid of for no reason. We looked at it, walked by it, turned and walked by it in both directions a few times - then went back home.

    I'm exhausted, furious and my back is killing me.

    I have asked for help from a number of trainers and had a few come to help me. One was a big cowboy who tried forcing her out and had essentially the same story as what I just posted. Another tried bribing her out with grain, which she just didn't care about. Others tried all the same ground work, repetition - no go. People have suggested just about everything to me but NOTHING has worked. What do I do?
    Do I just keep doing what I did today pushing a little further each time?
    Clearly trucking her to a trainer wouldn't work as this issue restarted every time she moves. And clearly no trainers in my area seem to know how to fix this. -.-'

    I'm going to ask a woman who delivers my hay who worked with draft horses to see if she has any ideas. I'm out of options. I'm at the point where this horse will just be a complete pasture ornament, because I KNOW she'd never be able to find another home, not that I'd want to give her up anyway regardless of whether or not she can leave her paddock.

    I kept reminded her ALL day today the only reason she wasn't on a truck to auctions was because she's SO freaking pretty!
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        09-14-2012, 09:22 PM
    Super Moderator
    I told you a long time ago what I would do with her but you rejected 50 years of having it do wonders for every horse I have ever trained.

    I suggested tying her out until she got relaxed and happy. I would not even bother training a horse that I have not already taught to be patient and non-reactive. It would be a HUGE waste of my time and I would get little done with them, kind of like you are not getting done now.

    They do a far better job of teaching themselves than anything we can do with them.

    So, do whatever YOU think will work. I would just ask: "How's it working?"

    WickedNag and MsBHavin like this.
        09-14-2012, 09:35 PM
    Like I said last time, I don't have a single thing I could tie her to that she won't kill herself on anywhere I can get her too. The only trees on my property are a good walk outside of her paddock and I have NO other thing to tie her to. I don't have the money to buy those fancy patience poles. Also, she ties fine. I can tie her to the spots I tie her and she's fine, she'll stay there as long as I want. She doesn't paw or pull or fuss. So what would be the point of tying her to anything else? If she ever felt truly threatened or afraid, if she were tied and couldn't get away I'm SURE she'd kill herself before giving in. I know her.

    Perhaps for her previous herd bound issue it could have worked, tying her away from her friend, but she no longer cares where the pony is. So tying her somewhere would just result in her standing for hours, getting eatten by bugs and causing her allergic reaction to flare up worse than ever. To be tied and not be able to get away from the bugs eating her. And no matter how much I bug spray her the flies out now just don't care.

    I'd love any suggestion that may help though - It took me a long time and a lot of thinking to decide tying her out for multiple days was a BAD idea for my horse. Maybe it would work for other horses or horses who need to learn to tie, but it just isn't going to do anything productive for her. But I appreciate your suggestion - and I wish it would be as simple as tying her to a tree for hours then *poof* she's a perfect horse.
    CountryChic12 likes this.
        09-14-2012, 09:40 PM
    Do you have a pasture you can put her in? I would put her out of the barn and out of the paddock permanently.

    Also, if she is afraid to go beyond her normal boundaries, and she is attached to her pony, could you use both of those thought processes together? Could you take her and the pony out for a nice stroll together? It might not be a total training victory, but it would be a step in the right direction if it worked.
        09-14-2012, 09:43 PM
    Why didn't you turn her around and just back her out the gate since she was willing to go backwards?
        09-14-2012, 09:54 PM
    Oh spur! I forgot to mention, yes I tried that. I backed her very aggressively toward the gate and watched her keep trying to face the gate and she couldn't tell whether she was more afraid of me or the gate - I saw the explosion about to happen. She has NEVER reared or acted aggressively - I nipped that in the bud the first few days I had her. But I could see her thinking about it because she was feeling so trapped, so I quickly started lunging her around me, tightly and trying to back her again - rinse and repeat.

    Holy CRAP Celeste! I feel like a moron! We couldn't do that at the rescue because none of the horses were sound or sane enough to get out of her way if she were to explode or something - didn't want two crazed broken horses. So I had ruled that option out and forgot I had it again now that we've moved!!! I will try to see if my fiance can lead the pony or get my friend who's pretty decent with horses. I could just hug you right now!!!!!
    You're right, it's not a big victory, but I think once she starts venturing out and seeing that the world isn't filled with horse-eating monsters that she won't need the confidence of her pony. But she needs to get out to see that. Oh thank you!!
    Celeste likes this.
        09-14-2012, 09:58 PM
    My mare can be pretty psycho. I like to trail ride. If I have someone to ride another horse (preferably her favorite stable mate), she is so much better. I have ridden her off alone, but she loves the company.
        09-14-2012, 09:58 PM
    Super Moderator
    I know you do not want to listen, but tying her out as far away from her comfort zone as possible would do more than all of the fighting and fussing with her that you can do. It does MUCH MORE than help horses that are herd-bound. It is essential for any horse to change from 'reactive' to a thinking and 'responsive' horse.

    I have watched some people fight their spooky and reactive horses for years and once they finally listened to me and tied them out until they got quiet and relaxed (and happy). They were amazed that they turned into different horses almost overnight.

    As long as you are dealing with a reactive horse, you are just spinning your wheels. A reactive horse is not learning much and it is literally 'one step forward and two steps back'.

    She needs to get 'settled' and comfortable away from her comfort zone. Right now, she has you trained. It will stay that way until you figure out that she must learn that the world beyond her comfort zone is not going to kill her.

    If you have to, MAKE place to safely tie her. Sink two old telephone poles in the ground and stretch a nylon lariat rope high between them. Find a neighbor with a tree that will let you tie a rope from a tree limb. Put a high tie ring on the outside wall of a distant outbuilding. There is a place somewhere that will hold her until she figures out she should stop, relax and think. She is not unique. She is not going to be the only horse that cannot be tied up for a full day.
        09-14-2012, 10:09 PM
    Cherie, honestly at this point I would try it. But she physically will not go beyond her comfort zone. There is no moving her beyond that.
    Also I'm renting, so digging telephone poles into the ground I'm fairly sure isn't allowed on our lease. I have a tree I could tie her to, but there's no way to get her to the tree.
    As of right now I can tie her to the O ring screwed into the side of the barn and she will stand there quietly for as long as I leave her there. I have never left her there unsupervised, but I've done it while I was in the barn fussing. I've never tied her to anything for more than an hour or so, because there's no need for her to stand there all that time. Her previous owner had one of those posts that's mad out of two short logs and one really long log laid on top of it. He had tied her up there for days at a time due to different situations. She does all that perfectly.
    But she won't walk out to any trees I could tie her to. There's no place she's uncomfortable where I can both get her to and tie her up to. I wish it were that easy.

    Celeste- you're right, I've always known that was a good way to teach new or nervous horses trails and the first day I had this mare we used a pony to get her out of her paddock, but coming back she had nearly run her over because a truck fired. So I couldn't do that anymore. But my pony a friend could lead and just be cautious to be well out of her way if needed. Thank you!
        09-14-2012, 10:20 PM
    Super Moderator
    You do not even have her broke to lead. Can you get someone to haze her from behind until you get her to a good place? I think you may need to start there anyway if she is not better broke to lead that this.

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