what should i have done? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-20-2012, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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what should i have done?

Hey guys I'm gonna tell you about my ride today and I want your advice as to what you would have done.
So today I saddled up my mare and decided I was going to ride her down to my grandmothers house. We did some light work in her pasture then headed for the road. It is a dead end dirt road with 9 houses and never any traffic. My grandmother lives less than 1/2 mile from me. Well my mare was doing really well until we got about a 1/4 mile from her home. Everyone has horses and they were all getting excited and pacing fence lines. Well my mare got really worked up by this. She isn't spooky but I could feel her tensing.
So I turned her around and worked her in our pasture more. She wasn't trying to come back, I turned her on my own. After I calmed her down we hit the road again. We got a little further than our first trip and she started getting all worked up again. My mare was sweating and breathing very hard just standing. She wasn't trying to head home or visit with other horses, she was becoming less responsive. So I did tight circles and lots of backing up to get her attention. I then kept pushing her until we got to my grandmas house. Once in the yard my mare would not stand still and became very spooky. She attempted to bolt but I spun her in circles. Once she stood still for a few I dismounted and did some work to get her attention.
I took off her bridle and gave her a peppermint and let her graze for a few minutes. Ultimately I ended up walking her back in hand. Then mounted again in our pasture and rode her for a while. We ended on a good note.
My question is how should I have handled this? I didn't dismount because I was scared, I did it because she was so stressed out. Any advice would be much appreciated. She is my trail horse and I'm sure this will happen again.
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-20-2012, 11:28 PM
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Well, I think you did ok. I might have walked her down the road the first time, if she had never been down it before. WAlking her down it is not a capitulation or a disgrace. you are building her mind for the long haul, so having her leave this experience with it being a safe and good one is the more important factor, IMO>

I'd go do it again pretty soon, and mayb ride partway, walk part way, stop a bit and let her look around, go home, then come back out again. All really casual.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-21-2012, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you tiny. So is this behavior something I should expect on trails?
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-21-2012, 10:31 AM
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Well, I think you might have helped her out more. The horse ought to look to you for direction. So if you were completely and utterly ignoring the other horses, she ought to have taken your lead and done the same. However, I think you either started to pay attention to the other horses which caused her to tense and do the same, or she just doesn't see you as "lead" and figures she has to decide for herself what's scary or not.
What you did was remove her from a 'scary' situation without resolving the problem. Next time, ride her until she gets nervous, and then get off and hang out in that area until she calms down. Let her spin in circles or whatever. Just stand there and hold on and completely ignore her. Once she's good, get on and continue on.
I'd usually suggest just working them through it, but it sounds like it didn't work so well with your horse.
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-21-2012, 10:39 AM
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Lots of horses get syked up when there are unknown horses around them. Don't expect it, else she'll pick up on this expectation and fufill it I think you did ok and were right to take her out of the situation and get her attenetion back on you before you tried again.

I agree with tiny too, in hand is never a bad way to go, and it can be really good for a nervous horse to have their momma next to their head while they face a scary situation.

If this happens in a different place, and its only one field of horses, sometimes its best to ride like they aren't there. I find a spot and ride towards it ignoring everything except how my horse feels under me and that spot. Some people prefere to yeild and do lateral work, but I've found if the horse is too wound up sometimes its hard to get their attention on their feet and your commands, especially if they're not 100% on their lateral work.
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-21-2012, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Alrighty so to sum it up- I should ride pass and ignore the distractions. Then dismount and let her relax?
When we got to my grandmothers I let her graze for a few minutes. But even just walking back next to me she was still stressed but not as badly. I think maybe she doesn't trust me yet to make those decisions for her. We haven't faced anything else that has upset her.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-21-2012, 12:13 PM
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When this happens to me I cross the road and keep on riding. If you keep them forward and not walking that will help. The one thing I wouldn't do is back up. That can be frustrating for the horse and cause rearing in a situation like this.
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-21-2012, 07:31 PM
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I have a similar problem with Mia but not when we are riding by other horses it's only when we are trail riding with them. She gets all worked up over nothing, prancing in place, dripping in sweat, refusing to stand still, jerking her head around. I found that if I simply take the lead with her and ride her past all the other horses on trail with us she calms down. Once I have her in a calm state I will circle her around and have her ride behind I never pay attention to the other horses and eventually she takes the hint and settles down and I can put her anywhere in the trail line up I want. If you pay attention to the things that get them worked up it only seems to make them think there is something to be worked up about but if you ignore them chances are she will eventually follow your lead. I also think there is nothing wrong with leading a horse through a problem if they are more comfortable with you on the ground then in the saddle go for it. I think the way you handled it is fine, just look past the problem and not at it is my advice.
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