Self confidence - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-20-2010, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Self confidence

my horses self confidence is low i think because she can be pretty spooky at times. I was wondering if there were exercises that could make her more self confident?
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-20-2010, 05:07 PM
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Have a bomb-proofing session. Fill an arena with random objects, tarps, cones, plastic bags, etc. Lead her in, allow her to explore each object, and don't force her near them. Praise her any time she chooses to let curiosity win over fear.
Let her learn at her own pace in a controlled environment.

Last edited by chevaliernr; 03-20-2010 at 05:10 PM.
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-20-2010, 06:38 PM
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I'd say have LOTS of 'bombproofing' sessions. In lots of different environments, as horses don't generalise well.

Agree to do it in a non-confrontational way. Use 'approach & retreat' & short, easy sessions - as even a little bit of stress mounts to unbearable levels over time. Give your horse every reason to trust that you will look out for her & never push her into situations that she perceives as dangerous. *Gradually* do more/bigger things with her to prove that despite what it looks like, she's safe with you.
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-21-2010, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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its really more noises and things that you cant see, like in bushes or something, when she gets spooky. And she gets nervis in new environments. But just in general , not thinking about her spooking, i feel like she needs a mental exercise i can do with her to get her relaxed or something. I dont know if anyone knows something like this. But I will definatly do some bombproofing sessions with her, that will probably help :) Thank
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-21-2010, 01:18 AM
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I use a little wiggle to get some inside bend on my guys when they get looky and nervous. It's kind of a tip your head, relax your poll and chill out message. Like squeezing a sponge on one rein, I usually use the inside because if they do decide to cut and run you already have them a little off balance and it's like the dressage version of a one rein stop so it's a little more balanced....sometimes! Haha. Just getting them to relax their jaw and round over the poll makes them inadvertently lower their head. Which supposedly send endorphins and calms them down. I know it takes their mind off of little things, but it's not going to calm them down if something is charging at them or whatever. So it's a good way to get them to check back in with you if their mind wanders but it's not going to save your butt every time the bogeyman jumps out from the bushes either. Just to clarify that it's not a wonder trick to make them spook-proof =)
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-21-2010, 05:08 AM
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Is your horse spooky inside the arena or on trails? (or all the time)
If she is spooky on trails, it's always a good idea to ask one of your friends at the barn with a self confident, calm horse, to join you. If there is a situation, your horse is afraid of, it can walk behind the other horse (if this horse doesn't spook, it will calm her down). If she gets more and more confident, you can start to ride her next to or in front of the other horse (then she has to face the spooky things first).

How old is your horse? I think that it's rather normal for unexperienced horses to be spooky from time to time.

In my opinion, important questions are: Are you a self confident, experienced rider? How do you behave, when she's spooky?

If you are frightend or tend to tense up, when she's spooky you have to work on yourself. Otherwise it won't work. You have to support her with your calmness and assertiveness.
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-21-2010, 07:00 AM
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i would have lots of"bombproofing sessions" then throw her in at the deep end with a show she will be soo proud of herself at the end of it! give her lots of engouragement and tell her how good shes doing:)x
and regaurds to your riding i would be more self confident yourself!
you need to be there to say yes you are good enough yes you can do it! you nedd to be able to reasure her all the time:)x
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-21-2010, 07:39 AM
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Do you use a fly bonnet on her?
My guy tends to get really nervous outside from all the rustling in the bushes and people in the field he can't see etc, he pays more attention when he's wearing a fly bonnet and doesn't freak out so much over the little birdies/barn cat/ field workers etc :]
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-21-2010, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
I'd say have LOTS of 'bombproofing' sessions. In lots of different environments, as horses don't generalise well.
This is very important. I have friends that spend a lot of time with desensitizing training at the barn, only to find their horses still spooky on the trail or when out alone.
These are all good ideas, but keep in mind that these are just training tools. Nothing will replace time, age, and miles in the saddle, and even then some horses have their own special set of monsters that they never fully overcome.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-21-2010, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much guys! My horse is 11, almost 12 so she isnt terrible young. I would say that I am pretty confident. When she sppoks I dont get scared, im just like, ohh gosh lena your pathetic. but dont get me wrong i dont get mad at her i just try and move on. She is spooky in one corner of the ring (outdoor ring) sometmes. Some days she is fine with it and some days she is not. She likes to lead on the trails but then at points she will get scared. I go out with my sister and we take turns leading because her horse is pretty good but sometimes he will get a little spooked too. This has helped alot, thanks again
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