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jazzyrider 02-21-2008 05:22 PM

the scary scary arena :D
 
when i first started working jarred in the arena at the pony club he was great. then about two weeks ago he was walking along beside the arena (on the outside) and spooked pretty bad at something in the bush. ever since then he was been freaking out in the arena when he is near the spot where the spook happened.

ive tried heaps of stuff. at first i tried hopping off and calming him down then tried to walk him past it. usually if he is apprehensive he will do it if i lead him. but not this time. so i rode a little more down the non scary end then unsaddled and took him for a walk. when we got to the spot where the scariness started we would retreat and start again. i couldnt get any closer at any point.

the next time i rode him i tried circling that slowly got bigger and closer to that spot. i started off at the opposite end doing 20m circles, then 25, then 30 and so on. at first when he has his head down and is relaxed he doesnt notice where he is and then he will look up see where he is, plant his front feet and spin around and try and take off to the safe end of the arena.

if im working him up the safe end his is fine. well on the lunge he is fine but when im riding as soon as we come around the corner to go up the side that has the scariness he stops dead and wont go any further grrrr so frustrating lol he works fine along the other side of the arena to until you turn the corner and it all gets too scary lol

is there anything else i can do to try and get him out of this? i really need him to be able to stay on track around the whole arena and we are having a dressage day at there in a few months and i was hoping to do some beginner dressage tests with him but that wont happen if hes doing this lol

Harlee rides horses 02-21-2008 05:25 PM

I guess your just going to have to be as consistent as he is. Like just make him go by it. He may just be testing you. You could possibly blindfold him and then take him over there and whenever he gets by it, you could take off the blindfold.

appylover31803 02-21-2008 05:33 PM

i would say if jarred is food motivated, leave a trail of his most favorite treats right by the scary part. Maybe if you also took Possum or Cougar with you,just walking, and if they don't react, maybe he won't either.

Maybe if you make on ride to just not go by the scary part he might shrug it off.

I'm not sure how well the last one will work though

jazzyrider 02-21-2008 05:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Harlee rides horses
I guess your just going to have to be as consistent as he is. Like just make him go by it. He may just be testing you. You could possibly blindfold him and then take him over there and whenever he gets by it, you could take off the blindfold.

i know i should make him go past but he freaks out really bad and when you have a 17.3hh chunky warmblood who doesnt want to do something so he starts rearing on you, you tend to quietly retreat sometimes lol :D

im hoping he isnt testing me...i thought we were past all that lol

i would say if jarred is food motivated, leave a trail of his most favorite treats right by the scary part. Maybe if you also took Possum or Cougar with you,just walking, and if they don't react, maybe he won't either.

Maybe if you make on ride to just not go by the scary part he might shrug it off.


i did try following richard around while he was riding cougar but that didnt seem to phase jarred.

food might work but i dunno. food doesnt work when something gets his attention. its like his desire to eat gets shut off cause everything else is too important to watch :) i can try it though

Harlee rides horses 02-21-2008 05:43 PM

Maybe pony him.

upnover 02-21-2008 11:51 PM

I really hate spooks! I used to ride a very spooky pony and I had to work hard to keep it from getting to me!

I'd say first of all to watch what you're doing when he goes by and make sure that you aren't getting tense or riding defensively at all. (i know, soooo easy to do, right?) Remember that you are their herd leader and if you get apprehensive at all knowing that he'll probably spook, there's a good chance he's going think you're afraid of the monster too. If you don't feel like you can go by it relaxed, you could try just lunging him past it so he'll have to go by it again and again and hopefully after time realise that it's not a horse eating monster. If that's too much then start off walking as close as you can and feed him some treats as he gets closer. Some horses are braver with you on the ground, but they do need to learn how to be equally brave with you in the saddle.

Also, never get off when your horse is misbehaving unless you feel like your safety is in danger. Horses learn very quickly how to get out of work, even if it's just for a minute or two. I've seen some that have learned to spook at things to intimidate their riders and make them get off! I've also seen some horses spook out of boredom, which can be cured by making them work harder!

I'd start off by walking by at a bit of a distance with him bent away from the area and leg yield in a step or two walking past it. Get closer and closer. Make him work and pay attention to, doing things like shoulder-ins if you know how. Once he walks past it, then reward him with a pat. Some people talk soothingly to their horse and pat them while they're spooking at it, I guess to 'calm them down'? But horses can read that as a reward for spooking at it! So reward after. Be firm during.

Also... I JUST read this fantastic article in Practical Horseman about a horse with vision problems who started to spook. They get these cysts in their pupils that make it hard to see, especially when they come into sunlight. So make sure it's not a vision problem as well!

Hope that helps a bit! Good luck!

jazzyrider 02-22-2008 05:15 AM

thanks for all the replys

i took him into the arena tonight just in halter and lead rope. i did some flexing and relaxing stuff up the safe end and then did some stuff ive been working on. just teaching him to follow me and stop when i stop etc without the lead rope or anything. he likes doing that because he usually end up running around and playing. i slowly made my way up the arena and when we got near the spot he stopped and looked very intently and snorted but then went down and ate some grass so i figured he wasnt too worried. i walked around the arena doing stuff with him for about half an hour. we went past the spot heaps of times and he didnt have a problem sooo im going to ride him again tomorrow and see if he does it under saddle or not. ill let you all know how it goes. hes not normally that spooky so im hoping whatever it is will pass

thanks again

Spirithorse 02-22-2008 11:50 AM

Well I'll hold off on suggesting some things until you report back since he did well the other day.

But I will say that you should NOT MAKE him go past it. That's the worst thing you could do IMO. Say you are afraid of snakes. There is a snake on the sidewalk going outside your door and you want to leave. Would you want me pushing you toward the snake, the thing you are terrified of? Heck no. Same with horses. They get more emotional and unconfident when you force them toward something they are afraid of. He's NOT testing you, he's just acting out of instinct. Also since he is afraid food will not work. A horse wants safety, comfort, play, then food, usually in that order. He doesn't feel safe in the arena so he certainly isn't going to be concerned with food.

So if you are still having problems with him spooking I'll post my ideas. :)

SonnyWimps 02-22-2008 11:58 AM

you've got to assure him that nothing is going to hurt him. Getting off at that point is not a good idea for then he thinks that each time we come to that part and I start acting up she'll get off of me. It's the same reason why people say that if your horse bucks, rears, or does something bad; that the worst thing to do is to get off of then. You should continue to work him till he realizes that you are going to keep pushing him to walk past that part.
If you are nervous about it, tack him up, and walk him around the arena...if he stops don't pet him or anything, turn him around in a circle and see if he'll go passed it this time. Pet him when he's being good...or after he does pass it...that is his reward for being good.

It will just make time. I've had to work out stuff like that with my horse. He was afraid of everything...he wouldn't even get a yard away from the wall without freaking out. With work and patience now his spookiness if under control.

jazzyrider 02-22-2008 05:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SonnyWimps
you've got to assure him that nothing is going to hurt him. Getting off at that point is not a good idea for then he thinks that each time we come to that part and I start acting up she'll get off of me. It's the same reason why people say that if your horse bucks, rears, or does something bad; that the worst thing to do is to get off of then. You should continue to work him till he realizes that you are going to keep pushing him to walk past that part.
If you are nervous about it, tack him up, and walk him around the arena...if he stops don't pet him or anything, turn him around in a circle and see if he'll go passed it this time. Pet him when he's being good...or after he does pass it...that is his reward for being good.

It will just make time. I've had to work out stuff like that with my horse. He was afraid of everything...he wouldn't even get a yard away from the wall without freaking out. With work and patience now his spookiness if under control.

this i understand and know but when my horse is freaking out im going to do whatever i can to reassure him and calm him down. if i have to do it from beside him i will. im certainly not nervous about it. im totally confident so that isnt an issue. its just easier sometimes to go 'ok he doesnt want to calm down this way so ill hop off and see if it provides more comfort for him having me at his head'.

anyway im going to ride this afternoon so ill let you all know how it goes.

spirithorse - i think i need to clarify myself and what i mean when i say make. when i say that i mean make as in 'we will address this issue and deal with it. you're not going to be able to avoid this forever'. i dont mean make as in pulling him or whipping him or something to make him go past.

sonnywimps - i was the same as always. i dont often get nervous when i ride and this certainly wasnt a bad enough 'episode' for me to start getting nervous. thanks for your reply :)


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