I took my new horse Stella, an Appendix QH, for our very first little trail ride yesterday. We are constantly working on desensitizing because she is afraid of EVERYTHING! (The saddle pad is terrifying every. Time. It's. Put. On.) She didn't spook at the saddle or the pad when saddling up and she was very nearly perfect on the trail! She definitely would rather lead than follow, and she did spook a couple of times, but she spooked in place! And only small spooks, kind of a startle-bounce. And she even put her feet in the river & got a drink! I was such a proud mommy! If I had known it would go so well, I would have taken my camera. I even brought it in the truck, but left it because I didn't want to worry about breaking it if she had an episode. Darn! But what a good girl she was! I'm all about baby steps these days!
Congratulations!!! It is nice to hear of people taking things slow and working on the problem and not just ignoring it because horses will be horses! Good luck and again congratulations! Keep up the good work
That is terrific. It just takes time. When I first got Biscuit 9 months ago he was scared of everything...not really because he was spooky but because the trainer had been so harsh with him...he was always waiting for the whip to come out. When I would put the saddle blanket on him he would flinch so hard it was sad to watch. He was head shy and if something touched his haunches he'd scoot up so fast you'd swear the devil was on his tail.
Now, 9 months later to the day (ha! I just realized I took possession of him exactly 9 months ago today) he isn't scared of the saddle blanket, he can still be a little sensitive about his head but he has done a 180...he never was spooky on the trail...just spooky of people and their motives.
Give her time and attention, move slowly and smoothly around her and she will most likely calm down when she realizes you aren't going to hurt her.
Biscuit was scared to death and would stiffen when I'd hug him...he had no idea as to why a person would do that or pet him. Now, he is looking for a hug and most likely a treat.