4yo bored, ideas 2 keep her busy?
Jazz is 4, and while I was hoping to make her an amazing trail horse, it seems I have gotten a circus pony. She's the most fun and curious horse I've ever known. The problem is keeping her mentally engaged - and out of all the horse problems you can have, I'll take it! But, it can make me stand there and wonder, " now what?" When after 20 minutes she's got the new pattern down, and we've been as creative as possible. Today we did ground work at liberty, pole bending at the walk and running walk bareback, we did clover barrels at walk and trot, and then we hid two carrots outside for her to find when we rode her out there. That took only an hour.
The thing is, after 3-5 repetitions of anything, she's bored. She also loves to play... For example, she loves when we drape all the girths on the rail, bc she gets to flip them off with her nose when she's done being ridden. Give her a giant ball and she will kneel on it, roll next to it, kick it... Then be bored. Tarps, umbrellas, bridges, mailboxes, pool noodles, giant sunglasses.... Yawn, she says.
She rolls ground poles across the arena, and while she doesn't rear under saddle, she will stand on her back legs with the grace of a ballerina to sneak a peak at the handsome draft gelding who pays her no mind.
I know it's not the most exciting post to respond to, but does anyone have ideas on how to keep this mare busy? Note that I'm not into buying a $500 training program of any kind, just ideas on how to keep the smart mares interested... The more we teach her, the more she loves to learn.
Happy riding everyone
She sounds like a fun gal!
I know you probably don't have cattle but herding those are mentally challenging. Umm.....are you into dressage? Maybe teach her the dance of it......or some fun tricks like laying down or bowing or standing up on command. I have no idea really as I don't know how to do any of this and I don't have a horse as active as you.
But I know with my border collies they like to have jobs not games. :)
Set up a course like you would see at a competitive trail challenge. (you can youtube some to get an idea for different course set-ups). A trainer I've worked with has an old mattress that the horses have to walk over (the springy motion takes a while for them to get used to!), noodles or streamers to walk through, dragging a tire with a rope, dragging tarps, turn around and back your horse up while still dragging the tire or tarp, back in a perfect circle, back around L-shaped logs, etc...
I had a mare like that! One thing I did was put up a soccer net, got a broom, and a ball. I would just play a soccer/polo type thing with her. That way, we we're practicing steering, stopping, etc. but it was way more fun. I also tied a rope around a log and dragged it behind us, wrapped a tarp around my waist and went riding with it floating behind me, etc. Basically, every day I went over what I wanted to teach her, and after the initial 'lesson', I enforced it with the most random exercises I could come up with. I also switched it up every day- a small jump course, barrels, swimming, whatever I was in the mood for. Use your imagination!
Maybe take Branches or leaves or anything like that she would see on a trail and make rails, narrow passageways, laterally bend around them, have a big leaf pile and run her threw it during fall or now (funest.thing.ever) have her do a canter circle with poles one stride away when lunging, do trust exercises and teach her come, stand, back, smile, bow, stretch, halt, weave, pick up, drop, hold something, w/t/c on command, turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, shake hands... When selling trail horses, buyers love love love a horse thats obedient and knows tricks. So things like that will put more money in your pocket later and a happy horse now! :)
p.s if you dont know how to train something theres a youtube video for everything!!
Repeating anything with a horse more than three times in a training session is enough. They all get bored more than that...
In fact, because they pattern train so easily you should never train an entire dressage pattern or reining pattern or jumping pattern because they pick up the pattern and then anticipate.
One of my happiest moments was when a potential new boarder called about bringing her weanling Shire. YES PLEASE!! I had a weanling Gotland Horse. Smartest little thing I ever worked with. They were born a week apart and are fabulous pests for each other. They find endless things to do inside their 10 acre pasture, and none of the other 8 horses will tolerate them. The Gotland can now walk under the Shire, lmao! I hate to think how difficult he would be to work with without all the play on his own time!
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Maybe try clicker training?
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