Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: northeast Arkansas
How much grain is she getting? If she's nervous by nature adding a sweet feed will only make it worse. Since she has just now started to trust you you need to be careful that you don't overdo anything and make her lose that trust. I would start off with getting her to join up. That works very well for getting the horse to see you as the leader and that increases the trust and also the respect because you are making her move her feet and she only gets to stop when you, the boss mare, says it's ok. Once she joins up and is really focused on you I would start with taking the end of a whip, or the end of the lead rope,etc and just tossing it over her back, flicking it lightly all around her. If she shows she's a little unsure just talk to her, touch her with one hand while calmly flicking the whip/rope all over. If she moves away, turn her nose toward you and walk with her. When she stops and relaxes, make sure you rub her and talk to her and stop when she is relaxed. If you stop when she is still trying to get away that is what she is going to remember and she will keep doing that in every situation where she gets scared. By keeping her nose turned you are able to control her much better. Once you introduce that and she accepts it all over I use a plastic bag and do the same thing. I use as much as I can to desensitize a horse. When you are working her and she gets scared of something, say a plastic bag waving on the fence or something, have her go up to it and encourage her to sniff it and check it out. In my experience once a horse actually sniffs or touches something they think is going to eat them it's like they go "Phew...it's not a monster, it's ok." And next time they see that "monster" they just think "Oh, that's just that flapping bag, nothing to worry about." lol Main thing is to not let her run away when she gets scared of something but at the same time you want to introduce things slowly and in a positive way so she doesn't feel like there's any need to be scared. Don't push her or overwhelm her and always encourage her and praise her.