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SueNH 07-03-2012 05:38 PM

Won't cross the bridge
The best trails at my house are on the other side of the river. My mare has only been recently ready for riding any length of time. I've taken her out on a few short rides, in the woods, up and down the road. No real problems. Little bit buddy sour but not bad. Hardly any spook, more like freezing in place and thinking.

At the back of my property the road crosses the river on a very noisy, echoing bridge. Plenty safe, loaded logging trucks cross but it is noisy. She won't go. I've tried but she starts that panicked backing that tells me she may rear. Tried waiting it out. Tried getting off and leading her across. No go.
We worked other trails for bit after I gave up so she didn't realize she had a victory.

If I get across that bridge I could ride clear to Canada on snowmobile trails and logging roads. Problem is I'm alone here 999% of the time and a major fight isn't something my 53 yr old body wants to do. At 15 I did a very similar thing and had a horse rear and fall on me. No repeats please. I don't bounce as well as I once did.


Only one I can come up with is corralling my daughter and her boyfriend and having them lead my 2 wise old mares across the bridge, have Katybug follow them back and forth a few times. My old pony won't care as long as she isn't late for supper. The other might flinch a bit but will go. She is an old trail veteran but has mostly just done a few laps around the field with my daughter since coming here.

The bridge is only about 75 feet from the back of the pasture gate so getting there is easy. Making 2 teenagers hang out with Mom for a bit is the hard part. Been waiting a week now.

I'm up for other ideas if somebody has one.

River isn't cross-able. Not deep but all full of rounded rocks of all sizes. No safe footing for a horse.

Head in another direction? Another similar bridge over the same white water. Gotta do it.

PaintHorseMares 07-03-2012 05:51 PM

Can you pony her off one of your old mares instead of needing your daughter's help?
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JoesMom 07-03-2012 07:42 PM

Will she walk across a sheet of plywood on the ground? I had a horse that was afraid of bridges and this helped with him. After he would walk across it flat we then put railroad ties under it to raise it up. When we did a real bridge we stuck his nose to another horses tail and he followed him across without any problem. We then worked up to him going across on his own.

Skyseternalangel 07-03-2012 08:19 PM

730 Attachment(s)
Trying going there not to trail ride, but just to hang by the bridge. Bring a hay net to tie on the side and just give it some patience. Also bringing another horse that's fine going over will help her too.

SueNH 07-04-2012 08:32 AM

I doubt hanging out there will work. Parts of the bridge foundation are on my property. The fenced pasture is already there. She won't eat hay when the grass is knee deep. Hang out while traffic heads over the bridge... could be many hours before a car passes. She already lives there.

I'm not certain I could pony her across using the other mare. The other mare is low man in the pecking order and doesn't do controversy. Alpha horse is only 11 hands and 37 years old. She will go across the bridge without batting an eye. Even seen her do it when she's been out of the fence just to check out what is there.(I've spent 20 years bemoaning the fact that the pony mare is little. Awesome little mare!) Pony mare is the key.

My mare will cross boards and tarps. She's actually pretty quiet compared to what I've had before her. It's that bridge. It echos and clatters and you can even feel a little movement, add white water underneath and I totally understand the hesitation.

I think the thing I need to do is put my foot down with the kids. I'm not cooking dinner until the herd crosses the bridge the few times. Hit them in the stomach. The way to a 19 year olds heart.

Saddlebag 07-04-2012 09:28 AM

Sue, I too will suggest using the old mare that will willingly cross the bridge. Got an old purse/handbag you no longer use? Fill it with grain/treats, etc. When she stops, (you are beside her) give a treat even if her body only rocks forward to get the treat. Offer again only a few inches farther away. While you are doing this have someone with the old pony a good 30' farther ahead. The mare won't want to be left behind so you now have the influence of the pony and the treats to encourage her to take a few steps. Be patient

Saranda 07-04-2012 09:43 AM

You have a very smart horse. She knows that there are trolls under the bridge!

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :D

Darrin 07-04-2012 11:58 AM

Unfortunately your best bet is your teenager leading the other mare. She will get over her fear crossing the bridge with that method with repetition. Now that we fixed that issue, I have no clue how to get your teenager to help!

rascalboy 07-04-2012 12:33 PM

Why not trailer her over it? Once you're on the other side, she doesn't get to go back home until she crosses over. It's probably easier to wait her out and let her cross on her own.

hberrie 07-04-2012 02:58 PM

Rascalboy I like that idea. Horse are always more willing to head towards home than away.

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