Hello everyone, I am leasing a paint mare named Mia. She has had a hoof injury and was unable to be ridden for 1 1/2 years. Her owners have just started riding her again this past fall. Mia and I have been working together for a few weeks now, and we are tackling many of our previous obstacles really quickly, like catching, and bridling. She is also doing much better than before with spooking, but she still has issues with one corner of the arena. There are many things in that one corner, like poles, barrels, and of course, the dreaded heater that makes a funny noise! I dont think it is all her problem, I think she just needs help from being transitioned when riding from a "pasture horse on the bottom of the pecking order" to a "horse who is being ridden and will not get hurt by anything as long as she is with her person." She has some issues as well when there are no other horses in the arena, but she is atleast still manageable. Its just that one pesky corner.... Any suggestions? We grain her in that corner, and gradually walk her up to it, but she is still thinking there are monsters over there. Thanks! :D Also looking possibly for a trainer to come out, but cant find any near the Twin Cities in MN. Suggestions would be helpful, thanks so much!
Stop babying him. You do not need to feed and pet him in the booger corner. It won't do any good anyway. You need to ride him there.
This is how you need to go about it:
You need to ride past the corner. Ride by it, not to it. If he will only go 20 feet away from the corner, go past at that distance. As soon as you have gone by and the horse goes back to the rail, reverse him toward the rail and ride by it again. Just keep going back and forth. It may take 100 trips or more, but he will keep going closer and closer.
Each time you go past, use a strong inside leg and do not turn his head toward the rail until you get to the place where you are going to reverse toward the rail.
I actually prefer to keep their head slightly away from the booger and use a leg yielding set of aids to get his body -- not his head -- closer to the booger. I prefer to use a strong enough inside leg to keep his inside ear flicked back toward me. This is so I know he is paying more attention to me than the booger.
As he gets closer and closer, you need to find a place to rest and quit for the day.
Then go back the next day and do it some more. After 2 or 3 days of this, he should be going right on by. You should be able to let him stop and rest deep in that corner. That is where i would get off at the end of each ride. I would dismount, loosen the girth and lead him out from there.
Read the article I wrote that is a 'sticky' at the top of this Training page on making a fearless trail horse. You need to do all of these things just like this corner of the arena is a trail obstacle.
You want to push him on by this place and your goal should be to have him ignore it and pay more attention to you. This will work every time.
I have used this method to get horses to accept banners tied up on an arena fence, to go past the roping box and past cattle in the alley by the roping chute.
I used this method yesterday to get a colt past a big rock on his 7th or 8th ride. It was his first ride on the trail. There is a huge rock (like 2' x 4' x 4') at the edge of a culvert near where we parked the truck and trailer. As I headed out, he saw the big rock. You would have thought there was a cougar behind it. He crouched down, trembled, tried to spin around, tried to bolt. He had a complete break-down over this rock we had to ride past.
On our first trips past it, it was 50 or 60 feet away. Gradually it was 10 feet away, but he still was not happy about it. I finally accepted 10 feet and rested there for 5 or 10 minutes.
On our way back from our ride I went back and forth maybe 20 times or so and he stopped about 5 or 6 feet from it.
Today, he kinda looked at it and I went back and forth 3 or 4 times and went on. Coming back, we went back and forth 3 or 4 more times and he stopped close enough that I could dismount on the rock. It's over. I doubt he gives it a second look from now on.
I will try to get him out there tomorrow if I can. He has gained more in his training these past two days than anything we have done up until now. I have found that it works best if I do not avoid problems but hunt for them. Today we crossed the creek (about 80 feet wide and 1 foot deep) for the first time and went past several other big rocks and tree stumps. He is riding like he has 60 days training instead of 8 or 10 days spread out over 2 months.
Ride him with the expectation that there will be no issues ging past that corner. Don't even anticipate the problem, pretend there isn't one. Relax your legs, relax your fingers and if he shies, make it non-negotiable that he goes past. Ride him back and forth past it under he relaxes, do circles, back him up serpentine past it.
My mare hates the door at the end of the arena, ther eis a car shop on the other side and she hears things. While I prefer the guy not to be working his power tools, I make it non negoitable that every time she has to go past that door and do it like a broke horse. If she shies by it, we go right back to it, if she spooks and tries to run fromit, I back her all the way to the door and the make her walk past it again.
If I don't show her that it is unacceptable to react like that she will continue to do so. Horses will spook and shy, but it happens less and less often if you correct them when they do it. :)
With horses that are afraid of one particular area, I concentrate on working in that area...not focusing on getting them UP to that area, I just work in that area.
If you are afraid she will buck or bolt, and get you off of her, do this on the ground first, so you can get her used to that corner on the ground, and then transfer that to the saddle a little easier afterward.
Lunge her near the area she doesn't like, concentrating on direction changes, and gradually moving closer and closer to that 'scarey' corner, while focusing on maintaining her attention. When you get a certain distance away, just calmly walk away from it for a few moments. Give her a few minutes to rest, then start all over again, ending closer to the scarey stuff before walking away. Your goal is to eventually end with her being comfortable working right in that corner, calmly, and focusing on you without issue...and you taking her away for a moments rest as a reward.
When she is comfortable working near that corner on the ground, start doing the same under saddle, starting a certain distance away, doing circles, serpentines, loops, rollbacks, etc...keeping her focus on you at all times is the main goal, while gradually getting closer to the dreaded corner. The more you can move her feet, the more she will focus, and figure things out. It may sound odd, but with horses, if they are scared, they will run (or fight)...so move her feet...
I didn't read all the replies, but you can also tie her in that corner and let her get over it. Once I'm done riding one, I go put them where they might have issues to cool the rest of the way down and get in some soak time. I'll even put one in the trailer if I have one that is harder to load. Pretty soon, they love the area you are putting them in. I'd leave her tied up over there a couple hours while you go about doing chores or riding another horse where you can check on her frequently. If your mare doesn't have any problems with the obstacles on the ground near where she is tied, but still spooks under saddle, she is trying to give you a hard time, so I'd give one back, lol. Lots of work making her collect, move out, back, circles, flexing, etc until she has a good sweat and starts thinking it is a better idea to pay attention to you and what you may make her do next than the tempting idea to spook at some stuff in a corner.
I'd also of course work her around the areas while you are riding and, like someone said above, don't be anticipating her being spooky of that corner. You will make her more apt to spook because you inadvertantly tense up when you get around to it, which makes her even more likely to have a problem with that area. Pretend there is nothing to worry about and if she does react, calmly get her going back on track and keep going. A lot of people stop their horses when their horses react in fear. I never do. I always work them in small circles and quickly direct their minds back to me. That may also be a problem you are running into.
I skimmed the replies but the way I got my horse to go into a corner was make it really hard work when he refused. We'd circle 10m from a corner he had no issues with, allll the way down the rail until he was in the corner he wasn't fond of. After 2 times (one set each direction) he was more than happy to go into that corner.
Did the same with a barrel. He spooked from me, so I worked harder away from it and then asked my mom to move it off of the rail (a horse and a bit width away) and we would trot in between the barrel and the fence, do a half circle and do it again until he was fine with it.
Needless to say, spooking is a way to get out of work. The more you try to fix it (inside leg, outside rein) the more they resist. You have to think outside of the box.
Question, why lease a horse with so many problems? Trouble being caught, spooking under saddle, bridling... ???
The owner should be fixing them, not you. You are there to ride the horse and spend time.. not basically train the horse and fix issues. My horse has no vices.. he doesn't spook, he doesn't buck, bolt, shy, pull away from bridling, stomp, refuse, challenge. It took a lot of work but I wouldn't consider leasing him out if he wasn't a gentleman. I'm just curious why you would lease a half finished (for lack of a better term) horse ?
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