For those of you who don't know about the troubles Savannah has given us.. Below are things we've both had problems with. I split the blame between us 50/50 now, so excuse my ignorance in some threads.
Threads in order by time (oldest to most recent)..
Ohmygosh! Amazing break through with Savannah!
She freakin' kicked me!
Okay, so basically she is a horse that has been through a hard time, and needs to learn who's boss. She has authority issues, along with respect ones too. I -think- she was abused from early in her training, until she was 8 or 9.. And then was mistakenly used as a lesson pony where young riders "ruined her" (not purposely, of course). Her previous owner had great intentions, but did not help Savannah. That is what I'm now trying to tackle.
Vannah is very sweet, but with attitude! She bolts when I try to bring her in for pasture.. I use a technique that requires her to run around for a bit to understand "If you're going to walk away from me, it's more work than just coming to me in the first place.". She is forced to run until she looks at me, and whenever eye contact is made, I back off. It seems to be working so far.
She is rewarded by sweets, since it is the most effective. Before we do physical work; I play a few games, reintroduce Mr. Carrot Stick, and groom her down. Savannah kicks out when her rear feet are picked up - I want to get a chiropractor out - he may also be able to determine her under-saddle problems. [To gently pick up her feet, I rub my hands down her legs, & desenseitize her to someone touching her legs in general.]
(This turns into a story, lol.)
After, she was put on turn-out with the goats to relax, before free-lunging. This is our warm up. I pet her down before hoping on bareback to do some "in-saddle" work. [The turn-out helps her relax & shows that I'm not a meanie-butt who always makes her do stuff she doesn't want. The free-lunge is her fun; she *LOVES* to run my goats for me.]
Currently, she is in my "walk/halt/walk/halt/walk/halt/walk/trot/halt/walk/halt/trot/halt" program. Confusing, but beneficial! [It helps in the long run. She has problems with bucking, rearing, bolting, head tossing, and controlling her gait. This corrects most of the above. If she gets frisky, I make her circle & immediately halt.]
Then I took her through the "scary death-woods" to the front of my property. She is practicing not to spook.. If that makes since. Savannah has a severe fear of trails, I think it claustrophobia kicking in. She has no problem in stalls, but in a trailer is a whole different world. Along with pony-eating-tree's. [As many people know, horses are naturally claustrophobic. Desensitizing is the best way to calm the fear.]
Next I walked her along side of a 'major' road. My mom & I ride along side of it - so it's frequently used, not busy. Savannah was SO GOOD!! Phenomenal, in my opinion. No spooking or shying at motorcycles, trucks, cars, or vans!! We walked in both directions, both sides of the road, and even trotted! Soo good!!! [Another element of her training - to be ready for whatever may come our way. In Vannah's line of work, we could come across any motorized vehicle, paved roads, kids screaming, weird animals, etc.]
The walk back to pasture was great, we even did a little canter up a hill (I was walking her). No bucking . Before I let her off for the day, I gave her an apple - she went to town . I've never seen such a small pony eat such a big apple at that speed . Lol. [She soo deserved a treat.]
Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to share Savannah's progress... Hopefully some of the things I shared will help someone else [: .
For the record - Savannah is training for Hunters (flat work), Western Eventing, Lead-Line Pony, and a Petting Zoo pony.
She is 12.2hh, a weird brown color that roans out in summer, she's semi-gaited, and partially Icelandic (mixed). I'm not particularly looking for advice, but it is welcomed. Along with questions and comments.
And a cuuutee pic - I'll get one of us working tomorrow! :]