The Scarey Spot! ( a bit long)
My oh my... tried to get out for a short 15 minute bareback ride on Jade (the new one, still learning). It ended up being over an hour and a half because there was a scarey spot in the yard that she WOULD NOT go into unless I dismounted and led her there! How silly.
How would you guys have handled this?
The Scarey Spot was between two vehicles about 30 feet apart. My son had a small fire going in the backyard about 100 feet away. I had brought along a plastic milk crate to be able to mount.
So, first I led her all around the area and the fire area. (Backyard fires are normal here. The horses see them all the time.) Then I put the milk crate down between the two vehicles and mounted.
Usually she will stand until I tell her to move, but today she backed out of that spot right away. So, of course, I cued her forward to go back to where she's supposed to be.
That's where the trouble started. There was NO WAY she was going to go back there. I did the walk away, walk back. Walk towards, back away. Come close and stand and look at it for a while. When she went backwards or in a direction I didn't ask for I turned her around until she was facing the right way again. She was getting antsy and wanted to buck but (yipee) she didn't. I thought maybe the fire was reflecting in the vehicle windows, but still and all she had already been led all around this.
After about maybe 25 minutes of this nonsense, I got off and led her in and out of The Scarey Spot about 15 - 20 times. I made her stand in The Scarey Spot. I backed her up in The Scarey Spot.
Then I got on and tried again. Still no go. Dismount again. Lead again. Oh and at one point in leading her around the first time, she banged the milk crate with her foot and got all excited so I spent and extra few times going around so the milk crate wouldn't bit her again.
Anyway, so I mounted and tried again. Still nothing. Got my son to lead her while I sat on her doing nothing. She was ok. Got my son to do it again, but this time I cued her forward at the same time my son did. She didn't like that so much. So we did that again.
Then finally after all this I managed to walk her almost right into The Scarey Spot and told her to stop. Walked away and did that two more times until finally the third time I got her completely there. I did praise her when she stopped only when I told her to and loved her right up when we were actually IN The Scarey Spot.
Whew! I hope to get home early enough to do this again tomorrow. Any tips on how I can make this easier if it's a problem again?
Sorry it's so long. Just didn't want to leave anything important out.
You know what? It may of taken longer than you were counting on but so what? Horse's aren't on a schedule, but we are.
You deserve a big GOOD FOR YOU! You did it right, you took the time it required and next time something comes up she's going to think, hmmm, last time I was scared my person didn't punish me for being scared she helped me not to be scared. By taking all the time that was required you've strengthen the bond.
Others may offer this or that, but would it really matter if it took 10 or 15 minutes less? You done good!
Good Luck though and be safe!!!
Well, I dunno.. seems to me there was more going on than being scared. Why the big rug-a-ma-role when I'm ON her, (even if my son was leading) as long as I was on her she wasn't as comfortable as when *I* led her. Oh, maybe she does get security from me. Ya, OK, I can go with that, but still and all! Sheesh!
At some points during the episode she was being completely unreasonable -- not walking where she had just walked before (literally 10 seconds ago). So I made sure she knew I wasn't happy with her (I thought she was gonna get dizzy!), but I also praised her when she did right. I tried to make standing still or going backwards less pleasant than being scared of going forward. Sometimes she has a real Movie-Star attitude.
I still don't feel like I did right. I feel like I missed something. Tonight I was home too late again to try... probably won't get out til the weekend now. (Man, I hate that.)
Thanks for the kudos though. At least if I did miss something, it's not something overly obvious.
No, you did the right thing. And yes, she was drawing security from you. Since you went into the scary spot, she was willing to follow and after you had mounted, she no longer had the direct line-of-sight on you and got scared. Excellent job just giving her time and getting her to focus her mind on you rather than the scary spot. It may take a few times of the same thing before she is really comfortable there but just keep on what you were doing and everything should work out fine. :)
I think you did great too! The only thing I might have done differently is I wouldn't have dismounted. She has to learn to trust your judgement from a mounted vantage point the same as she does from the ground and that only comes from working her through scaries while mounted. Leading a horse through scaries is totally different than riding through them...you are not cuing her forward the same and your reactions to her choosing the wrong option (refusal) won't be handled the same way mounted as it would from the ground...to her, it's a different scary because you are handling it differently (leading her through vs riding). Hopefully she'll think about today's events over night and tomorrow will be much better.
Just my .02 cents worth...your mileage may vary! Good job!
Horse Poor, I don't usually dismount when I have issues like this, but I was quite literally getting nowhere as long as I was on her. After 25 minutes of being on her and not getting any closer to our goal, I didn't see that I had much choice. I'm hoping that I will have a chance to try this again with her soon and won't have to dismount. In the end, she did go there with me on her.
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