the scary scary arena :D - Page 2

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the scary scary arena :D

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    02-22-2008, 06:49 PM
Green Broke
I've seen the Clinton Anderson problems Solving special a billion times......this is pretty much all it's about........

What he does is makes his horse listen to him... he'll ride beside the object and walk/trot/canter beside it and do stops and back ups and roll backs and everything and keep getting closer to it (you can start from far away) and he makes sure his horse always turns toward the scary area so the "spooky energy" is never behind him.... the whole point is for the horse to be so intent on listening to you that he forgets about being scared...... I wish I could show it too you..... hmm, i'll look for it now
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    02-22-2008, 07:05 PM
I usually trust my horses instincts about scary stuff. If its something silly like a bucket or plastic bag I do the same thing you did Jazzy work her close to it do circles closer and closer etc. If its something I can't see in the bushes or something, I trust her to known when there is danger. We have bobcat, coyote, mass amounts of rattlesnakes and an occasional mountain lion in our area. If she sees something I don't see I will avoid the area if I can, for safetys sake if nothing else. Of course that is on the trail, different in an arena but you might go out and walk the area to see if you can spot what could be frightening him. Even have him stand and watch you go into the area may help.
    02-22-2008, 10:46 PM
For the first couple weeks when I first got my horse he was really spooky. I mean he's jump at EVERYTHING...birds, shadows, his bridle, the footing in the arena, the walls...literally everything.
Each time he spooked I'd give him a pat on the neck and in a soothing voice tell him that it's okay. Yet he kept on doing it. I finally asked my trainer about it, and she told me NOT to pat my horse on the shoulder, and to just ignore him spooking. Each time he did good and didn't spook, then I was to pay him and tell him good boy.
It worked for him, so it might be worth a try with yours.

Do you know what was in that bush or what about the bush that your horse didn't like?
Does he still spook when other horses are in the arena with him? What about by himself? (you didn't say if you were alone or not when that happened)

Try to put yourself in his hooves for a day...try to figure out what exactly is scaring him at that particualar point, try to figure out ways that would eliminate the thing that scares him.

It takes time and patience. Lucky for me my horse trusted me 100% the first day I bought him, so he got over his spooking easily...he still does spook (those evil fat doves scare all haha ) but not to the extent of what he did before
    02-24-2008, 12:12 AM
The worst thing you can do when your horse spooks is to pet him and coo.

As the leader you are reassuring him that he evaded danger and he was smart in freaking out. That's bad. XD don't do it. Take the advice Sonny gave, IGNORE IT.
    02-25-2008, 11:55 AM
My ottb is incredibly spooky, and has been convinced for a good 14 years that there's a monster in the corner of the arena, despite the fact that she's never seen it and it's never tried to eat her.

Like one earlier poster said, the most effective way for me to calm her down has been to ignore her reaction. No petting, no punishment. All of that reinforces the behavior and the idea that she was right to be scared. It doesn't sound like you are having issues with any of those things though.

Many times, we would free lunge her in the ring first to allow her to move and get the spooks out. She would always spook at her scary spots the first few times and then settle down. It helped that she didn't have someone on her back, because even though I don't really react, I'd still have to tense my body to stay with her.

I think you handled it in the right way, with the circling and gradually getting closer and closer. He has to learn to walk by the spot, but forcing him to do it quickly when he's scared doesn't help. It just may take a few days to gradually work through it, and he may always be a little un-confident at that spot. Do you ever have any other horses in the ring when you ride? If you still have trouble with that spot, maybe it would help for him to see another horse go past the scary area without getting freaked out (or eaten).
    02-25-2008, 09:46 PM
[Well I'll hold off on suggesting some things until you report back since he did well the other day.

But I will say that you should NOT MAKE him go past it. That's the worst thing you could do IMO. Say you are afraid of snakes. There is a snake on the sidewalk going outside your door and you want to leave. Would you want me pushing you toward the snake, the thing you are terrified of? Heck no. Same with horses. They get more emotional and unconfident when you force them toward something they are afraid of. He's NOT testing you, he's just acting out of instinct. Also since he is afraid food will not work. A horse wants safety, comfort, play, then food, usually in that order. He doesn't feel safe in the arena so he certainly isn't going to be concerned with food.]

One of my mares used to freak out every time we went down the woodland side of our riding ring. She was convinced that there were bears in there, even though she could see through the tall trees (no underbrush at all). She was also afraid of one corner at the arena where I used to go for lessons with her. She was also afraid...well you get the point. If I had never pushed her past any of the scarey places, I would have been able to ride in a straight line back and forth in front of my barn. If you know there is nothing immenently dangerous to your horse, then you have to push them past their fears otherwise the fears grow and take over and pretty soon you aren't doing anything with them. That is just my opinion.

As far as getting them past a scarey area, I find that as you are soon to come up to the scarey spot, you start keeping their mind focused on you. A little more gentle hand/mouth contact to remind her that you are there. Half halts, neck softening, bring her face to the vertical, and turning her face into the centre so she can't look directly at the area where she thought she saw something. You should look in to the centre too because you know how sensitive horses are to the position of your body and legs and she'll feel your focus. And push, push, push. I seem to recall that when Ambra would have her fits, she'd try to duck into the centre of the ring, and I would have to force her to do a small circle back onto the rail at that point and try again to get past it.

You can do it, you just have to be more persistent than your horse. And be quiet, and calm, but determined. If you feel like you are tired from trying for that day, then just matter of factly, ask your horse to do something that you know is no problem, where you know she'll be successful so that you can end on a good note. Then (in her mind) you haven't quit with her being the "winner".
    02-26-2008, 05:09 PM
You could try feeding here there, like put a bucket of grain. Most horses will follow their stomach. :} that's how I got my horse to trailer "Come on Solomon! Come eat the grain!" hehe he didn't even realize he was int he trailer and once he was in he was like okay cool Chomp-Chomp-Chomp...
    02-26-2008, 09:38 PM
I still havent had a chance to ride again. Its either been too hot or too rainy lol I have been doing a lot of groundwork with him though in that area. I've also been feeding him in the arena right in the spot and he seems to be over it now. Hopefully I will get some ride time in tomorrow :)
    02-27-2008, 10:21 AM
Great Jazzy, I figured he would get over it. Must have been a cat or a bird or a horse eatting leaf on that bush.
    02-27-2008, 06:16 PM
Originally Posted by Vidaloco
Great Jazzy, I figured he would get over it. Must have been a cat or a bird or a horse eatting leaf on that bush.
i definitely think it was the horse eating leaf that did it...its always the leaf ;)

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