Hello folks. I've only used this forum a couple of times, but if I bring this up to my trainer one more time she's going to hit me. (joking, I just bug her with it a lot and she's wonderful and working with me, but sometimes I just like to hear some other opinions and ideas.)
Anywho, I adopted a 10 year old chestnut OTTB mare in August. She lives up to the "hell hath no fury like a chestnut TB mare" saying..I'll tell you that much.
She had been returned twice to the organization I adopted her from for being "dangerous" and was on the verge of being euthanized, basically. A few years ago she had been fostered at my farm, which is how I found out about her, and my trainer said she was extremely distrustful and explosive when fearful or mad, but a wonderful horse when calm and relaxed.
When she came to us it was clear she's grown more of a brain than she used to have. She no longer charges or strikes out at you if scared or reprimanded and she has far more respect for your personal space...in fact she's downright affectionate 98% of the time. When on the ground or in the barn she's only slightly reactive to scary things. She'll turn and look and I'll have to do something to get her attention back so she doesn't overthink it, occasionally she'll give a sideways jump if something really scares her.
My biggest issue is under saddle. All of the sudden EVERYTHING is out to get her. Every jump we ride past, every gust of wind, every other horse in the ring, every sound...TERRIFYING. She is not a bucker or a rearer, and as for taking off she'll throw her head up and take off for a few strides, but getting her back is easy. It's just getting her to stop focusing on everything and working is almost impossible. I will get her collected and focused and then something will happen and I'll get little miss unfocused horse jumping at everything. Usually I can get her back from it in a few minutes, but it gets frustrating when everything brings out a spook. Her spooks aren't terrible, but it gets old.
I've been doing some natural horsemanship groundwork with her (call it what you will, I like the groundwork and think it's done great things for a lot of horses and humans. I modify it to my liking). Letting her stop and look at it does no good, as she then just obsesses over it, and ignoring it and trying to work her through it seems to make her anxious about it....I'm at a bit of a loss.
Anybody have any good....bombproofing or anti spooking advice? lol. I would like to eventually event with her, which is going to be difficult if I can't get her to be a little less ridiculous! I would also love to go on a trail ride without fearing for my life. I mean, what's so scary about deer anyway?