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- - Any ideas? (http://www.horseforum.com/horse-training/any-ideas-5209/)
I have a four year old appaloosa that i want to trail ride but she is scared of the woods. She rides fine as long as were out in the open but when i go to the woods she is so spooky. The other day i was riding next to the woods and there was a flock of turkeys up the hill making noise and she went crazy even after i let her see what it was. I have tried walking her out trough the woods a few times but it did not seem to help. Any ideas? Thanks Steve
Is there any way that you can ride in the woods with a more experienced trail horse to give your horse more confidence? That would be best I think. Also, just take it slow and start small, gradually increasing incident free time in the woods. If your horse is scared, but you keep experienced positive (noting bad happens while in the woods), you will help build her confidence. Start with just a small amount of positive time and make that the lesson for the day. next time spend just a bit longer, and so on. Maybe even just start by standing near the woods for a small amount of time and increasing that before ever even going in the woods.
definitely ride with an experienced horse in front of her, this is a great confidence builder. Just be patient with her, give her time to think about whats going on, don't force her to go in the woods. If you get her a step in the woods, just stop and let her stand. She just thinks the woods is where the boogieman lives, but the more time you spend in there the easier she'll get.
I would not ride her but walk her in the woods with a halter and lead line, do this untill you see a little bit of relaxation then bring a stick a crop anything and tap trees wiggle branches. It is getting her used to the woods and the boogie man wont eat her.
If you have a wood friendly horse that you can pony your horse would be best, I think. Do you know how to pony?
Ponying is an amazing tool for young/spooky horses that need to get out. Attatch a long rope so that if your spooky horse spooks and tries to do something fancy you'll still have a hold on him. Plus, you get two horses worked in one session. ;)
But ponying is very dangerous also. What if that horse freaks and the lead gets yanked out of your hands? Or the horse can get wrapped around a tree if not careful, if you tie the horse to the horn that might be safer but what happens when the horse freaks? It just might pull your horse over. I say just keep working with him and get him used to the woods.
Honestly, with ponying, if the horse being led freaks and you cant hold on safely, let them go (IMO). I suppose this depends on the environment around you. I have enough wood patches near my house that if I were ponying near/through the woods and had a freak out, my loose horse would go straight home with no dangers in between. It is not much different than if a horse gets loose any other time. I would Never tie the lead to the saddle - that is where it could get dangerous.
All of our horse can pony or be ponied by each other (except my stallion)...and it is really handy sometime. I think that ponying with an experienced horse is not a bad idea actually...if your horse will pony well that is :)
I would take walks with her first on a lead. Make it a positive experience. Bring carrots/treats and only give them to her in the woods. I would take your time...at first only go a few feet in, reward her and go home. Take baby steps, get her to trust you and make it fun for her. Also pay very close attention to your demeanor going into the woods. She may be picking up on your anxiety. Be confident, sit tall, breathe deeply...have a "business as usual" attitude. Good luck!
Well, I'd do alot of ponying before you head out, like I said. So that if the horse does "freak" he'll come back to his senses sooner because he's had training. Ponying isnt a simply thing, but if done correctly and safely is an amazing tool.
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