Thank you. Speaking of cantering and lunging. I am currently retraining a QH mare who is 9 yrs old. She was a riding horse for several years but hasn't been ridden in some time. For as long as I have had her (since she was 3 yrs old) she has been "skiddesh", very jumpy and nervous. She isn't a big horse, being only 14.1h but she has never been comfortable with a rider and therefore it tends to make me nervous riding her. I know that by feeling this I am just making a bad situation worse but I have had her run me into trees, fences, clothing lines, you name it, because she was frighted of little things like leaves blowing in the breeze.
I had thought to put her out to pasture for several years and than retrain her, hopefully with better results and less stress for her. But it doesn't seem to have been working out that way.
I have just started lunging her these last few months after her long break (4 yrs). Taking it slow at the walk but she doesn't want to do this. She freaks out on the lung just like she used too and starts cantering around me with wide eyes and she is terrified. I try to speak to her softly and encourage her in anyway I can but once she is out in the training area she is all over the place. I can't seem to get her to focus on me enough to understand that I am not trying to hurt her.
She gets very nervous as soon as I hook a lead up to her and it only seems to go down hill from there.
What can I do to gain this horses trust and help her to learn under the lunge and in the future, under saddle?
When she is out in the field she is comfortable for the most part and is housed with several other horses who are all calm and companionable. She is a little hard to catch but I usually can remedy this with a little feed to bribe her.
She loves to be brushed and isn't frightened of being bathed but any sort of training and she seems to turn into a completely different horse. One that is just a basket of nerves. I suspect that she was abused while being trained as a youngster just because of the way she acts as soon as you put her in a round pen or bring a lunging whip anywhere near her but I have no real way of knowing that for certain.
I just wish there was some way I could help this horse to be more confident in herself.