Spooking Horse Complications
Recently, a mare at my barn has been sold, but the owners are not scheduled to pick her up for another two weeks. For the past five years, the mare has been ridden in five to six lessons a week, but will not be used in any lessons for the remaining two weeks that she will be at the barn. She is very energetic and tends to spook at everything - literally everything.
Therefore, my instructor was a little concerned about how ornery and high spirited she would be after two weeks of absolutely no work. Therefore she asked me to flat the mare a few times a week. Unfortunately, the times that she asked me to flat the mare coincide with someone else's lesson who is...to say it nicely, a novice that finds steering a bit challenging.
I rode the mare today, and she spooked on several occasions, attempted to kick several people as I tacked up, and tried to bolt. She was definitely riled up today, which I somewhat expected due to the cold weather we've been experiencing, but she was ridden in two lessons before me today. This was pretty unusual, as she is typically exhausted after about one lesson. Therefore, I can sense my instructor's concern.
I am not looking forward to riding her with the novice in the ring with me, as she was misbehaving today with ample exercise. She will, most likely, be even worse the next time I ride her, simply due to a lack of exercise. That problem is compounded by the other rider's steering challenges. Is there anything I can do to prevent a catastrophe?
I'm not generally a fan of lunging a horse to get the "crazy" out before riding, but as a temporary measure it may not be a bad idea in this particular instance. You're basically trying to get rid of excess energy to make her a little easier to handle in the short run. Let the new owners deal with the re-training, hopefully they're already aware of her personality!
I think you should try the 'Circling Game'. It not only gets your horse's energy out, but gets him to think, and gets him to focus his attention on you. I've never done 'lungeing', but I've seen people do it MANY times.. And every time I do all I see is a horse going in circles and circles paying attention to whatever he wants, usually looking away from the owner, and spooking at things. It's like watching a robot that doesn't work properly in my opinion
I would be hesitant to do any actually training on someone else's horse, especially one they just bought and just haven't picked up yet. Parelli can be very divisive among horse owners, so I would stay away from those methods with someone else's horse. According to the Parelli's you should have the other games already in place before beginning the circling game too. Which is quite a bit of training that the new owner might not be particularly pleased with.
If you are lunging properly your horse is paying attention to you. ;)
But besides that, either way a good way to get your horses attention is to keep changing his direction of travel, so from clockwise to counter clockwise, and back and forth
I do a bit of that with my boy, I don't lunge often, usually a couple times right when I start riding heavily again to remind him that he does need to pay attention to me. I keep my body language calm and don't ask him for quick direction changes, he's usually out of shape for one thing and for another he tends to mentally shut down when he gets ramped. It's easier for both of us if he stays calm and using his brain. But, as I said it's not a regular thing with me and I am by no means an expert when it comes to lunging.
That's good :)
Has this horse been vetted well, as in internal diagnostics? One that is doing things like this, would have me wondering about what is going on inside her.
Don't know what type of horse she is, nor what is being done with her, but just too iffy way it sounds. Hope you don't get hurt with this fool, and would not want to be in arena on her with others in there either.
Maybe change feed so she isn't so hot? But hopefully new owners will come get her ASAP. And save you a nasty time.
Unfortunately, lunging does not make a significant impact on her behavior when she is ridden.
I'm not actually "retraining" the mare, merely giving her an opportunity to exercise, instead of performing no work for a full two weeks.
And yes, the vet was out last week and there is nothing wrong with her. This is pretty typical behavior for her, not a dramatic, overnight development.
Why not just turn her out and leave her be to blow off steam. Her diet should have been adjusted gradually. Usually about 15 min is all she needs before she settles down. This should be done several times daily whether you ride or not. I think you will find some of the sillies will be gone.
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