Re-training a 9 year old?
So I bought my first horse a while ago and well she is quite spooky and crazy. She definitely has been trained, but it was about 5 or 6 years ago. She doesn't mind plastic or ropes, but any time a whip is used, not even at her, (but when other people are using them), or clippers are turned on, she goes manic. Not kidding. I've gone through 4 different lead ropes already, and just bought a different one today that I hope will work better. She will walk and trot while im riding her, but will not switch into a canter. When I am lunging her she will canter beautifully. She turns fine too. I have to admit that I am scared of her, and it's really hard for me to get on her without feeling like I'm gonna throw up from anxiety. She tried to buck me off on saturday, and I havent been on again. I have been lunging her for the past two days, and she has gotten a lot of her bucks out so I think when I ride tomorrow it will be better. *knock on wood*
I'm not sure what to do to build up trust or to gain confidence. I have been lunging and doing ground work and she is fine on the ground, but is harder to work with undersaddle.
Does anyone have any tips for me? Agh. I'm just really anxious.
Ok, so first of all do not get on her again until you build your confidence back. Your horse will pick up on you being scared and either get scared too, confused or might take advantage of you (last one probably for sure). I would recommend getting a knowledgeable horseperson to work with her under saddle and on the ground and you should stick around and see how she is progressing until you have enough confidence to mount your horse without being scared. Good luck and hope you will enjoy riding safely with your horse soon!
Lessons by a competant instructor.. both on horsehandling and riding.
Yes my instructor is riding her tomorrow so he can see how she is trained and what makes her go insane or she is willing to do while under saddle, and then I am supposed to get on and ride her while he is instructing me. We will be doing this 3 times a week for the next month and a half.
I agree with the others. It's important that you be confident, and to get that back, you might need lessons on a different horse. Your mare would also benefit from having a strong rider while you work on your confidence. At some point, you will be a match for each other, but I don't think that time is now.
You need to get some help by hiring a trainer for both you and your horse. Because you are scared whenever you get on her, then she'll always be tense and prone to misbehave...and as long as she's tense and misbehaving, then you'll never be able to relax and feel confident.
The two of you right now are a very bad match for each other so I only see 2 options for you; a) hire a trainer and probably spend a fair amount of money and time getting her to where you can ride her confidently, or b) part ways with her and purchase a more user-friendly horse. One who's actually broke and suitable for a rider at your level.
I just wanted to update on how things went with my instructor today. We let her run in the arena for about 10 minutes and then caught her, and lunged her some more and then saddled her up. He's having me use a western saddle for a month or so until were working better together. He rode her for about an hour and tested out her training. He says she is rusty but the training is definitely in there. He absolutely loves her haha. At the end I got on and I was shaky but I just had to talk myself out of it. Once I did we did perfectly fine together. Maybe a few odd commands from me, and a few crow hops from her. But at the end we were communicating pretty well.
He told me to just let her run for 10 or 15 minutes in the outdoor or indoor arena if there is no one in it, then lunge her and work on groundwork for about half an hour or so. After that we saddle up and work undersaddle for an hour or two. This will be done 6 days a week, and the one rest day is just groundwork for an hour.
That is my plan for the next month and a half. I feel a lot better about riding her now that we've sorted out our differences and I know how, and that, she is trained. I think with time and lots of work we will do okay.
*breathes a sigh of relief*
Check feed as well - cut down on the sugars and high-energy stuff, and maybe consider giving a magnesium supplement (if she does have a magnesium deficiency then that would explain her spooky/crazy behaviour). I've seen lots of horses completely change personalities (both ways) with a change in their diet.
Also, any idea on what breed she is? :-) Some horses (plenty of TBs for example) need a bit of regular riding after a break before they settle down again. I'd caution against too much lungeing, it's a great way to get them fit enough to be even more of a handful under saddle. But a quick 2-5 min lunge (with plenty of direction changes and walking) before riding is a good way to get their focus and get any "bugs" out.
I agree half hour of lunging plus 15 mins of running around is a lot so be sure to change up the routine so 1. She as well as you do not rely on this and 2 so she doesn't get bored and start trying to out smart you.
But however long you do it, mix it up and have plenty of direction and gait changes, so the horse is always looking to you for instructions. Otherwise it's just a treadmill exercise to get it proper fit so if it bolts under saddle it can go that much faster and further!
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