Gah...not sure I should go anymore..
Tomorrow there's a big trail ride, and I was sure I was going...until today
Going means I will be riding to the "launch" spot, about 5 miles away, by myself. It's the first time I've rode so far by myself, and I was always a little concerned, but after today I'm not even sure I should go anymore.
I've been riding around home a lot lately, and while some stuff spooks her, usually it's stuff that you can see and that actually somewhat makes sense that would scare her. Today was gray and a little windy and about to rain so I just took her for a walk. She was so wired; even when I made her do various exercises to get her mind on me it just made her more upset, and she spooked-like, trying to run away pulling on the lead, and one time reared and jumped-three or four times.
I don't know what's wrong with her. Yes, it is a bit windy, but it's not the worst we've ever had, and if she's like this on the ground I'm not so sure I should be riding alone a fair distance. Probably all she needs is a good long ride and then she'd be tired out and calm after those 5 miles and good for the actual trail ride; especially if it was at a good trot, but the first few miles are going to be ridiculous. The thing with her is, too, when something makes her nervous, I'll circle and do patterns, trying to get her listening to my leg again and get her attention back on me, but she just tries to bomb around the circles and continue looking at it, and all the patterns do is seem to get her more riled up.
Any thoughts? Suggestions? I could really use some advice. My parents say she'll be fine, but they didn't see her freaking out today. I naturally fret and worry, and she may not even be that bad tomorrow, but ****! I thought everything was going to go so well! She had been getting better in our riding, even. My parents want me to go. I just would like to hear some feedback first.
Is there any way you could get someone to accompany you for the five miles to the ride start? Or trailer you there to drop the two of you off? You'll probably be fine for the five miles back home - as you said, she'll be tired out by that time.
I tend to be the worrier in the family, so if I were your Mom and okay with you going, then it probably will be just fine. Do you have a cell that will work in the area so you can call for help if something bad does happen?
Yeah I have a cell phone, which I am definitely taking. I think my dad's going away tomorrow, so we can't be trailered over. And yeah, if there was someone I could ride with I would. Nobody close to here has riding horses, unfortunately :(
*My mom also says "oh, it'll be fine" in certain situations when it is NOT fine, just to stop me worrying (and it never does). It's annoying-you'd think I'm old enough to get an honest answer, but apparently not*
You could always lead her there, if you don't mind walking that far.
That way when you did ride her, there'd be people there to help you if she did have a fit.
That's an idea, or at least lead her if she got really unmanageable for short spells. Lol. I think I'd die if I walked the entire 5 miles though-I'm way too unfit.
Do you always work her when she tries to spook? I've found that does not work for my haflinger and also just riles him up more. 2 things work for me - 1) letting him stop and look. Usually he decides for himself that its no big deal. I act like its nothing and focus on staying relaxed in the saddle because he picks up when I'm tense. I may hum a bit - something I do on the trail anyway so he doesn't associated humming with scary object, but rather me just being myself. 2) if I really feel like he is going to blow, I get off and walk him past what is scaring him. Usually this calms him when I'm on the ground with him. Then once we are past what is scary, I get back on. I find doing this a couple times he decides that since I was brave enough to get off and walk past it and survived - so will he.
I agree with Cat: "pushing him over a cliff" makes it worse. He'll tell you when he's ready to proceed. Get off if necessary. Wear a helmet!
I try to work her every time-unless she takes off in a bolt :p It's good to hear I'm not alone in work being a problem-I thought I was doing something very wrong. I also find that sometimes if I let her look at the object she's ok while we're standing there, then when we turn and walk away she gets nervous again and wants to keep it in her sight. I'm thinking I'm gonna get off and lead her past if she's being obscenely ******ed-my friend once told me: "Whenever you start to feel unsafe, get off and do ground work." I just don't know what's gotten into her-usually she's quite quiet, but it's very likely she has too much excess energy and just needs a good trail ride to tire her out. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna go for it-for the experience and exposure if nothing else.
And oh yeah, I'm definitely wearing a helmet. I never get on her without one.
ilyTango, it's all normal prey animal behaviour. If she still wants to look at it, it's ok. Every time that you don't try to force her, she'll chalk up another gold star on your good leadership record! (& a demerit for the opposite!) Then, she'll get more confidence in you & take less time in future. Please let us know how the ride went!
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