Spooky horse+herd bound - did I do the right thing?
Sorry in advance if this ends up long winded.
My mare has been an air-headed spooky space invader since day 1. With a year of work now I am confident she will Never invade my space. Even when she spooks she'll gallop around me dancing at the end of the lead rope, without coming within a foot of me or pulling on the rope. But she STILL spooks over everything!! I've got her spooking safely now but I'm still sick of it!
We have just moved to our new home. We came from a rescue with 17 horses, we moved to a tiny at home barn with just her and the other pony in her two stall from the rescue we were at. She loves her pony, though she's awful mean to him. They aren't allowed out together because she's far to big and would easily kill him by accident. But she's happy enough so long as he's within sight.
Welll.... 2 days ago my friend was over and we decided to work on teaching the pony some basic manners. I lead him out of the barn and my mare (Tank) threw a tiny hissy fit until she found him on the other side of her paddock. When we brought him over to the sandy area I can train in without a grassy distraction she couldn't see him. She had a total melt down and bombed around her field. I decided to make it a day of teaching her to be without her pony. I got her lunge line and headed out - she was Still worked up, despite her pony being next to her field now, when I finally caught her she was Soaked in sweat. She doesn't work much so that much exercise was too much, besides being 95+ degrees out. So I decided to just hold that lesson for another day. I've learned sense that she's fine being without him so long as I'm with her, so me and her can leave him, but not the other way around. My plan was to lunge her while the pony was around and let her rest when the pony was out of sight. I didn't get to work on that yet though - is this a good plan? Is there a better way to teach her to be alone? Can she ever get to the point where she could be alone in her field? I like to think our abilities are limitless but I've been told it's cruel to leave a horse alone, but at the same time I can't just never work my pony because she gets upset!
Now the next thing to mention, today I heard her galloping around downstairs (she thunders so much my whole house shakes!). I went to her stall door and called her in, I got her to come over so I could put her halter on with the door shut.
I went out with her and soaked her in bug spray, assuming that was why she was all worked up being eaten by monster bugs.
I began to groom her, I'm trying to make the paddock a more pleasant place for her, as of so far it's a pretty scary place whenever she's in it and everytime I've caught her in it I've needed to make her work for one reason or another and haven't had a chance to make it pleasant.
Well turns out it wasn't the bugs that were upsetting her, she had her neck all arched and was snorting and puffing herself up HUGE. I couldn't see anything, there was a new red car parked in the neighbor's driveway, but she seemed to be looking past that. I made her go over to the fence where she was nervous, she puffed and would pace up to it then as far as the end of the lead rope and back and forth puffing. Then I realized there was a horse a good 200 yards away in the neighbors paddocks. She didn't whinny or call to her she just puffed and huffed and paced. Then the red car moved and she had a little meltdown dancing around at the end of my lead rope. She has had a number of cars pass her previous paddock, right up next to her gate. Cars and trucks with no issues. When she was totally worked up and couldn't stop dancing I got her to the middle of her area (the only area clear enough of grass for us to move through easily) and made her do some simple lunging in both directions. She kept making D's while lunging instead of circles, coming in away from the scary corner. I lunged her until she made circles more smoothly in both directions and had her attention on me not the scary thing and until she really didn't want to keep working (just walking/trotting).
Then I walked her toward the 'scary' places in her paddock, each time she got nervous (threw her head up, started snorting, wide eyes) I made her put her head down. I did this until she was calm in each area of her paddock all around.
I'm so fed up honestly I love this horse more than anything but if she gets THIS stupid while just being in her paddock how am I ever going to do Anything with her? I just need her to become a pleasure horse, nothing big, but I'm just so frustrated with her. I ended our lesson by grooming her in one of her 'scary' spots. Then I put her away but left her top outside door open so she could continue to watch the outside world.
What are some methods I could try to help her overcome her fears? Or more like teach her how to better react when she is afraid? Honestly she's scared of so much I'd rather teach her how to react than teach her not to be afraid of every individual object she may ever encounter. Thank you all :) The more specific you can be the better.