Originally Posted by Whisper22
I can rub the whip all over her body with little movement but there is no way I can throw it over her back or around her legs.
Am I supposed to back off or continue until she relaxes. She never seems to relax, she only gets more spooked the more I continue.
I can't throw the whip all over my horse, I can't really rub him with it very much. He's been taught that the whip means fight or flight. Just because some horses let the whip fly all around them doesn't mean your horse has to. If you treat her humanly with the whip, and she learns that the whip means fun she will become accustomed to it. It can't happen over night. If it's a whip with a rope/lash at the end of it, then she may be afraid of he sound or the weird movement of it. Don't force the whip on her. I don't like the rule that says whips are mandatory
. Because they are not! Your horse is not aggressive or dangerous so there is no reason you would need it for safety-and even then, a whip will most likely escalate a dangerous situation with a horse.
I have an idea for you, I've never tried it before. When a horse eats something, it's not scared of it and for horses eating is positive. When my horse licks something or eats something he is calm. When he is scared he doesn't eat-like any horse. What I suggest you do is go buy the cheapest whip you can buy with a lash. This sounds funny but you you are going to teach her to lick the whip. Rub apple juice and sugar all over the whip
. There is no harm in trying this. Once a horse starts licking or eating something, it's not really afraid of it. Here's the thing though, if it's just the concept of the whip near her that she is afraid of, this should help. However, it sounds like it's the movement of the whip that scares her. This trick won't help that. If she is really sensitive to movement then that's what you will have to desensitize her to. Were you throwing the rope all around her legs and over her back?
It may just be the movement of the whip that scares her. In that case, I think the best thing would be to lunge her loose in a round pen. I don't know her personality so I don't know how well this would work. If she is scared of the whip(it's something new) and you are holding her by her head(halter+lead rope), and she feels restricted when she gets scared, she is not likely to stand still and just accept the whip. Especially because she sounds like a forward moving horse. So let her loose and when she is standings still(she might run around the round pen a little) you can start this. Start by having her come to you, use treats. Then start rubbing her with the whip like it's an extension of your hand. If she stands give her treats. If her head goes up(fear), take the whip away and let her bring her head down. If you do anything more while she is fearful, and her head is up with her ears back, her fear will just continue to build up. When a horse's head shoots up, adrenaline goes through their body. When it is down, they actually get a calming chemical through their body(I forget what it is called!). Give her treats when she is calm and standing. If she decides she needs to run around more, let her. You have to be patient. Restricting her will only make things worse. So once you have her standing calmly when you are rubbing her with the whip(I think you said she already does this) then move on to moving the whip. Start without moving the lash, hold the lash against the whip and just move it slowly around you. Start at her shoulder, just sort of waving it and sliding down her leg. If she moves just stop moving the whip, if the whip has been used with her before it may be a cue to move away from it. She may just be confused! Continue moving it around her body, if she moves let her, recede, and wait for her to come to you calmly and accept a treat. Walk around her without moving the whip to so she gets used to having you move all around her before you do everything with the whip. When she is calm with the whip, you can let the lash move to.