How would you handle it? - The Horse Forum
 18Likes
  • 6 Post By Cedar & Salty
  • 2 Post By AnitaAnne
  • 1 Post By SteadyOn
  • 2 Post By Avna
  • 5 Post By Avna
  • 2 Post By ApuetsoT
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
Yearling
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,188
• Horses: 0
How would you handle it?

I rode this morning, first time in a week, and the horse I ride -- a PRE gelding who isn't a spooky guy by nature -- decided, once I got on, that the arena was TERRIFYING and didn't want to MOVE. Now, this is his arena that he's always being ridden in. Nothing had moved, nothing had changed, the weather was calm, and there was no wind. And it was the WHOLE arena, basically.

I hate spookiness. I hate spooking. I'm a nervous rider. I don't want explosions. I'm much more of a... negotiator.

So, I did manage to get him from terrified and WILL NOT MOVE... to a state of moving around the entire arena, on a loose rein, relaxed. But to get him good both ways took 50 minutes, and it wound up being an all-walk ride. It was a solo ride -- not a lesson, not a clinic, not a show -- so I had that option.

How I did it:

He only wanted to be in one spot, where he seemed less anxious. Trying to move him away from it led to backing up and trying to spin. So I said, okay, you can be in this spot, but you have to move forward(ish). So I had him circle on that spot. As he got more comfortable, I made the circle incrementally larger. When he got stuck, I would keep him more or less pointed where we were supposed to be going, and I'd keep my leg on until he took even one step in the right direction, then release and pause and give him a pat. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Eventually we got it perfect one direction... and then had to start from scratch the other way. But... we got it!

I had spurs and a whip available to me, but I didn't use them. I didn't use any more pressure than I normally would to get him to do something. And I asked for baby steps of bravery instead of trying to force him to do anything. Despite the fact that I'm confident he had the *potential* for it in him, he did NOT shy, spin quickly away from anything, bolt, or do any kind of big spook. And I think he didn't do those things because I didn't MAKE HIM go around where he was uncomfortable, so his anxiety never went over the top.

I don't feel that a 50 minute walk ride is a waste of my time, but I know some riders who would have said "oh grow up" and put a lot of pressure on him to push him around to where he "should" be going. At the other end of the spectrum, there's the strategy of hopping off, and leading him around the whole ring on foot to maybe speed up the process of getting him used to everything. (Except he's SEEN "everything" hundreds of times.) Or lunging him. (A few months ago I would have absolutely gone with the hopping-off method and would not have felt okay riding through this.)

I personally feel like I handled it well. I know a lot of my coaches from the past would have rolled their eyes. But I didn't "let him win." I got what I wanted, and both of us minimized our anxiety. Sure he's seen the ring hundreds of times, but there's a saying: ride the horse you have today. And the horse I had today was NOT COOL with it. So.

What would you have done?
SteadyOn is offline  
post #2 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 06:37 PM
Weanling
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Arizona
Posts: 321
• Horses: 4
I disagree that he was "spooking." He was being gate sour/refusing to work. It sounds like you handled it fine by putting him to work and not letting him stand in one place.

If one of mine doesn't want to walk off or move away from the gate or a buddy, they get put to work in their preferred spot -- trotting small circles, turning, backing-- anything that makes walking out a better choice.
waresbear, boots, Kalraii and 3 others like this.
Cedar & Salty is online now  
post #3 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 06:43 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Southeast
Posts: 7,619
• Horses: 0
Not having seen the ride, it is impossible to say what could have been done differently. PRE are sensitive horses, so taking a mild, non-threatening approach would IMO be appropriate.

If you are happy with the ride, that is all that counts.

I would ask what behavior he was showing that you interpreted as "terrified", just out of curiosity. Sometimes horses (and people) just have bad days. You would certainly not want all your rides to be like this, but once in a while is ok.
bsms and boots like this.
AnitaAnne is offline  
post #4 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
Yearling
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,188
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedar & Salty View Post
I disagree that he was "spooking." He was being gate sour/refusing to work. It sounds like you handled it fine by putting him to work and not letting him stand in one place.
Normally I would agree, but I know this horse and his sourness comes off very differently from what he was exhibiting this morning. He actually USED to be very gate sour (but has been wonderful lately and seems to be basically over it after a lot of work on the problem) so I know the difference in him. Today he wasn't focused on the gate and being attracted towards it: he was hyperfocused outward on the invisible arena monsters everywhere that were DEFINITELY going to eat him. And his body language and tension were all saying FEAR!

Last edited by SteadyOn; 05-03-2019 at 07:06 PM.
SteadyOn is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
Yearling
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,188
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
I would ask what behavior he was showing that you interpreted as "terrified", just out of curiosity. Sometimes horses (and people) just have bad days. You would certainly not want all your rides to be like this, but once in a while is ok.
Tension and hesitation through his whole body. Ears and eyes pointed like lasers ahead of him at the invisible "scary" things. High tense neck carriage. Trying to angle himself away from points of concern. Freezing. Big, tense nostrils. Tense lips. All his focus outward at whatever "it" was.

On other days when he's just balking he pins his ears, arches his neck and back like he's threatening a buck, and all his focus is very much on his rider, and on himself. When he's in that mood it's just between you and him. This was very different. I think it was just one of those "something in the air" days. This was VERY unusual behaviour for him.
SteadyOn is offline  
post #6 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 07:43 PM
Showing
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
Posts: 13,741
• Horses: 3
What is "PRE"?

I am not here to promote anythingNo, that's not true, I am here to promote everything equestrian and everyone enjoying horses!
waresbear is offline  
post #7 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
Yearling
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,188
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by waresbear View Post
What is "PRE"?
Andalusian
waresbear likes this.
SteadyOn is offline  
post #8 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 07:52 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
Posts: 6,058
• Horses: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by waresbear View Post
What is "PRE"?
Stands for Pura Raza Espanol i.e. pure spanish race. Andalusian by another name.
waresbear and JoBlueQuarter like this.

Short horse lover
Avna is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 07:54 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
Posts: 6,058
• Horses: 3
The older I get the less inclined I am to punish a scared horse. Taking the time to work it all the way through shows respect for your horse's emotions, and lays down another strata of trust. I think you did right.

Short horse lover
Avna is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 08:06 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: eh?
Posts: 2,569
• Horses: 2
Even spooking, they have to go forward. My horse is spooky, that's his thing, even though most of the time he's good about it. Riding or on the ground, if he's getting looky and balking, he goes forward. Sometimes you need to get louder than whatever has their attention. If I'm riding and he's spooking at something, if he ignores my legs, he'll get a couple quick reminders with the whip behind my leg.



The key, however, is they still need somewhere to go forward to that isn't directly into the spooky thing. Otherwise you are effectively running them into a wall. There's two times you'll get into trouble with a spooking horse; when they aren't moving, and when you won't let them move. Cut the corner, but still going forward and around. Don't ride along the rail if that's what they're looking at, but they aren't allowed to stop/spin/duck. As they go forward, they will get more confident.
Avna and SteadyOn like this.
ApuetsoT is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.



User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
how would you handle this kait18 General Off Topic Discussion 4 10-28-2011 01:21 PM
LONG Post.. How Would You Handle This Gelding?? Patches457 Horse Training 15 12-15-2009 10:32 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome