Needs to See Whats Going Behind Her?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-04-2012, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Question Needs to See Whats Going Behind Her?!

IMG_0041[1].jpgi have a 9yr old qh cross mare and she has some problems with needing to see whats always behind her. the people i got her from says she was mistreated badly before they got her, so i kinda see why but when it comes to riding trails with other horses and one or two is behind her, she feels the need to turn all the way around to make sure whats going on (never had a horse do this). And i would like some advice on what i could do to make her feel less scared on a easy trail ride. (by the way this is her, her name is Sophie<3)
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Last edited by BackwoodsBaby; 09-04-2012 at 12:34 AM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-04-2012, 12:51 AM
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Well, what I am going to tell is may be not applicable to your horse, but my horse has the same. She has not been mistreated.

She is not easily scared by things she can see or things she may touch/sniff. In Kyra's case I think she doesn't like to be pressured (someone walking/biking behind her gives her the idea that she is "driven" /driving game), so I let everyone pass and then it is all right. Or may be she doesn't trust moving objects she can't see. She has no problem if I walk behind her (e.g. with long reining).

Today I had my first trail ride and I could not get her to walk next to her paddockgirlfriend. So we walked 2 meters behind.

In the arena I almost ride/work alone or on the other side so I haven't mentioned if she's scared in the arena too, if some one is riding behind her.

If she is scared of other horses walking behind her, it can be a hierarchic issue: that she is not walking in "the right place" according to horse rules.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-04-2012, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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hmm never heard of hierarchic

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post #4 of 9 Old 09-04-2012, 11:52 AM
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She may just need time, if she was mistreated.

It probably would be beneficial to do sacking out exercises with her, so she learns to trust and respect you.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-05-2012, 06:55 AM
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I would say work on sensitizing/desensitizing her. Pay extra attention to her rear since it is stuff behind her that is a problem. Whether she was mistreated or not in the past, that is not an excuse for bad behavior.

Does she have a problem with you following her around? If so, keep doing it from a distance and gradually get closer as she gets used to it. (This is of course meant to be in addition to the s/d work) When she gets used to it to the point that she just walks around without turning to face you, enlist the help of a friend in the arena. Repeat the process with the friend following you on foot at first, then mounted. Make sure that she also gets to be the one chasing the other, it will build her confidence up. Just keep building on the being followed, until she could care less whether she is being followed or doing the following.

Just in case you did not know this. She can see behind herself without doing a complete turn around. That's why their eyes are situated on the sides of their heads. Facing straight forward, they can see behind themselves from about four feet out. If they turn their head to one side or the other they can see even better. So they do not have to turn around to see back there.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-05-2012, 09:20 AM
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Sometimes, when an owner can't control the horse, or if there are some behavioral issues, "being mistreated" is often the easiest excuse. I have a horae right now that We raised who is so funny and spooky about things that I know if he went to someone that didn't know what theu were doing that would be what they would say about him. It is a very convenient excuse for horse owners to explain, rationalize, amd not fix a problem.

Whether or not she was, horses tend to have this great way of dealing with the past. They move on and live in the moment. Past memories may affect how she reacts to a situation, until she is shown another way.

What she needs is more confidence and she also needs to be more focused on you? Havibg another horse around while you are working is very distracting. I honestly would consider doing work in an arena or large area while another works a ways off(make sure you are both on the same page). The other person will do their own thing and you will work on keeping her attention on you amd the job, and build her confidence.
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-05-2012, 10:25 AM
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Step one : Forget that anyone ever said, heard or thought anything about abuse. I've worked with many horses that were severely abused/beaten/starved/neglected. Like most animals they live in the moment. If you treat them like any other horse you will get MUCH FURTHER than pitying/babying them, which horses veiw as instability or weakness. Previous abuse is an excuse. Period.

I had a mare like yours. When she learned to trust me(through time and strong leadership) she stopped trying to look back. Clinton anderson has some good trust building excercises that encourage a horse to be forward and relaxed, they may be worth looking at.

it can be a hierarchic issue: that she is not walking in "the right place" according to horse rules.
A horse doesnt have these issues when you are the herd leader. I can get on the horse that is the bottom of the herd, scared spittless of the alpha mare, and go herd the alpha mare around. The horse I'm on listens because I'm the leader, the alpha mare listens because I'm the leader.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-05-2012, 12:32 PM
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That you can ride certain horses in every spot on the trail does not mean necessarily that this issue doesn't exist. There are certain horses that have troubles walking in front, or between specific horses and so on. They do have their own preferences. At least, that is my experience. Btw leadership doesn't apply inter species. (But that is a whole other discussion. I'd rather call it "being a trainer" if the horse does everything you want, regardless of instinct.)

There is a lot of misunderstanding between horses and people. Someone called it "bad behaviour" I think this problem is just "horse behaviour" what doesn't fit in the humans idea of wanted behaviour. But you can sure train a horse. A few ideas are already given.

I agree with the comments about mistreated/abused.

@ TS (topic starter): what did you already tried and with what results?
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-05-2012, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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im not trying to baby my horse and also its not a bad behavior problem, and also she is slowly gaining my trust, and she is slowly gaining the only other horse's trust thats in pasture with her. she she does this even when i walk behind her not just when we ride, she does it when a dog is behind her or anything. and i started working with her in my round pen and set her at one side of the pen while i walked behind opening and closing the gate while i made her stand at that one side of the round pen, then i let her walk around with me and my dog walking behind her and then i got her into a jog and jogged distantly behind her. she did good and then i changed her into a bigger arena with a couple other people and horses and i mounted her making her walk a few feet ahead with the other people riding behind me then i got my friends to trot and canter up ahead and go around while she stayed at a walk keeping her straight with out having to turn around and look around her, and ive done this a few more times for the past two days and tomorrow ill do it for another hour or two

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