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-   -   awesome on trails, spooky in indoor arena. (

saraequestrian 02-07-2008 10:31 PM

awesome on trails, spooky in indoor arena.
My horse is a DREAM on the trails.. if she's with another horse. In the indoor arena, though, shes a total goof. There are 5 gates to our indoor arena, 4 in each corner, and a big one leading to the parking lot. If there is ANYTHING unusual set in front of one of the gates, she will not go near it. For instance, the gate that leads to the parking lot is at A. There was a trailer parked right there because some people just got back from a show. She would throw her head high, perk her ears, and counter bend the whole entire side of the arena.

Then there was a bucket being heated up and it was steaming. She would not go in that corner AT ALL.

In both of these cases, i've let her get a good, close up look several times at these "scary objects"

Shes never like this in the outdoor arena.

She's seen barking, running dogs, very scary trees, cars, bags, etc. on trails and is perfectly fine. anybody got any ideas on how to solve her arena issues?

derbyhillsranch 02-07-2008 11:39 PM

sounds like the horse needs to be "sacked out" or decensitized. To do that, start off with a rolled up feed sack or something stiff but makes some noise, and begin tapping the horse all over, if the horse moves, just keep its head towards you and follow it wherever it goes. Keep tapping it until he stops and quits flinching. Do this for a few days, maybe followed by some easy work in the center of the arena. Then move up to a folded tarp, plastic bag, etc

Vidaloco 02-08-2008 10:19 AM

Thats really odd, its usually the other way around. Great in the arena goofy on the trail. Is there any way you can leave her in there for a day just at liberty? Maybe if could take her time and check everything out on her own terms she wouldn't be so scared.
Also if you can take her to her comfort zone and then take her outside then back in over and over she may relax. Sounds like she is a bit claustraphobic.

kitten_Val 02-08-2008 11:11 AM

Vida gave a great advice. If possible let her be there all the time for day or two. Or at least may be for part of the day several days in row. (OMG, I wish my horses have way around issue like yours! :) )

appylover31803 02-08-2008 12:26 PM

I disagree with how derbyhillsranch said to desensitize your horse. You'll need a second person to help you with this. Have the person old some sort of "scary" object, whether it be a plastic bag, or an empty water bucket(anything that she thinks is scary)

Start a distance a way, where your horse doesn't even care whats going on. Have your horse go in a half circle around you. You want the horse to be between the scary object and yourself. Also use a long rope just incase the horse gets scared, or kicks out. The longer the rope, the safer distance you are from a kick.

Then slowly move foward and stop every so often to gauge how your horse is. If she's getting really panicky, move backwards until she is calm, and then proceed again.

By repeating this a couple time, your horse will soon realize that these objects aren't scary at all.

I hope i helped.

Mandy 02-08-2008 01:15 PM

I agree with Appy. The one thing I did with my horse (and I don't know if you can do this) is get another horse in with him that is unafraid and walk that horse up to the object, then my horse will usually follow and see that there is no reason to be scared.

Since I did this once my horse has been a dream when it comes to spooky objects, and especially since I was on his back when walking up to the object without him spooking he trusts me more and tends to be less afraid.

appylover31803 02-08-2008 01:50 PM

you brought up a good point Mandy. Taking a horse that isn't afriad of "scary monsters".

I saw a clip of Linda Parelli doing this with 2 of her horses, and it was quite amazing to watch. Her one horse, Remmer, didn't seem to care too much until they got really close. Her other horse Allure, was quite a handful but by going foward and retreating if it got too intense really worked.

derbyhillsranch 02-08-2008 02:28 PM

[quote="appylover31803"]I disagree with how derbyhillsranch said to desensitize your horse. quote]
There are endless ways to descencitize a horse and you just gave another version. My methods have worked well and always have a great finished product. My method was starting more basic than just taking that "scary" object to them right away. I take it alot slower and allow the horse to adjust to many things, not only the things he/she might see. For instance, using many different things to descencitize them will help all-around. What happens if your horse learns to walk past a bucket but you go somewhere else and something besides that scary bucket is there, then they spook. You need to get them used to everything!

appylover31803 02-08-2008 02:36 PM

you can get them used to everything with how i explained. If there's a certain part of an arena the horse doesnt like. i'm sure the way i explained can help.

Depending on the horse does depend on how to desensitize it, but if you were afraid of lets say a spider. Would you want someone just putting spiders on you to get you over your fear, or would you rather be at a safe distance where you can see the spider and then slowly get close enough where you don't care its there.

Personally, i would should going up gradually, than putting the scary object on them.

But to each his own.

derbyhillsranch 02-09-2008 11:17 PM


Originally Posted by appylover31803
Would you want someone just putting spiders on you to get you over your fear, or would you rather be at a safe distance where you can see the spider and then slowly get close enough where you don't care its there.

Methods for training horses and training people are VERY differnt. Im just telling what i do and works for me, as i said, there are many ways to decensitize a horse. :)

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