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post #1 of 48 Old 11-29-2019, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Obstacle course / Trail courses

I can't find any threads on this subject, so I'm starting one. :)



Some of you know I'm leasing an Icelandic mare and we are having some struggles. She's was always perfect with her owner, but for me she is "testing" me and has become quite nervous, flinchy, and spooky. The other day I just brushed some lint off the saddle (from the ground) and she flinched/jerked and danced away like I was shooting guns off. I then did this repeatedly over the course of a few minutes--trying to surprise her and eventually she calmed down about it a bit. She also took off with a couple weeks ago-scary decorative fence with a wagon wheel leaning on it apparently. She whirled and spun and ran a short way--but she stopped when I asked her and we rode another 10 minutes. Also, sometimes she just "stops" and refuses to move forward--no amount of kicking or turning her to get her "unstuck" will get her to move. I keep telling her "you're not a mule!". LOL
Anyway, I know she's a good horse, but I'm a "green" rider in terms of getting my muscles back and honing my English riding skills (I've been riding for over 40 years--but with years off here and there and recently a 15 year break with just a few guided trail rides and I almost always rode Western, so I'm still learning to "feel" the English cues and perfect my direct reining. And also my balance. Oh yeah, and I've been legally blind for about 15 years due to a chronic disease. I can see to get around, but everything is blurry. I have a Guide Dog for safety as I can't see much at any distance. For instance, I cannot read a license plate on the car in front of us anymore. I had to stop driving about 15 years ago too.



So, LONG setup to say I have decided to start working my horse on obstacle courses. The farm where she boarded as several obstacles to train on--a large teeter board--which my horse will do without too much hesitation, and some other fixed obstacles--although they aren't all together--they are scattered around. BUt there are some tools to use in the arena--poles to form paths and obstacles to step over, barrels, cones and a large ball and some umbrellas and tarps for "scary" stuff. I have enough vision to do these things--if the horse is surefooted and if I walk her in hand through the course first especially. So, any advice anyone can give me? Or your own stories of starting and working obstacle courses? Did it help your relationship with a horse? Did it help your horse be less spooky? I am hoping to get out on the trails, but I don't trust this horse yet. Hoping this will help. Also, anyone competing? And how long did it take you to get ready for your first trail class or competition? I just found out that the Midwest Horse Fair (in WIsconsin--near where I live) is going to have the Mountain Trail Challenge going on, and it's open to all skill levels. That is the 3rd week of April (4.5 months away). Would it be realistic of me to think I could enter at the Level 1 skill--where everything is done at the walk? This is all just walking through logs and suspension bridges and teeter boards--no fluttering stuff, pool noodles or tarps. But I think there is water. If I decide to do this, how do I train without the actual obstacles available to me? Or do you just do your best with getting your horse used to stuff at home and then take them there hope they can meet whatever challenge you might not have been able to setup previously? Like the Cakebox--I have no idea how to set that up, and my horse is at a boarding facility--so I can't make anything permanent.

Thanks for reading and if you got all the way to end of this long post, you're my hero! :)
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post #2 of 48 Old 11-29-2019, 02:31 PM
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As a lifelong trail rider, paying for my own horses non stop for sixty years, and having used one of my rescues as a lesson horse for small children:

I am not sure the current lease horse is the right horse for you:)

Your comment that the two of you are having some struggles but she was perfect for her owner, leads me to think the horse is nervous about your sight issues and is unsure.

It takes a special horse to essentially be a service horse like your dog is:)

Is there a therapy riding school in your driving distance that might be able to assist you in not only getting your confidence back but possibly help you find a horse more suited to you?

You are probably already attached to this Icey, but thankfully it is a lease horse. I honestly think thereís a horse better suited to your needs, out there somewhere. Which is why I suggest contacting a therapeutic riding school, regardless of what type of healing they focus on:)
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post #3 of 48 Old 11-29-2019, 02:35 PM
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Most of it I find is mind over matter. If you don't mind it then it doesn't matter to the horse. That said it takes a trust that you have built and confidence in both yourself and your horse to just do it - whatever it is.



I've done both riding and driving courses. Really wish there were competitions close to us and that the barn would do more of this. The BO has stuff out there and they do work on it more so when they are starting out but I think it builds a strong relationship.


ETA I'll second Walkin. We cross posted but after reading through your threads I have to agree. I also would agree as someone that has vision issues as well. Not every horse is suitable to someone with vision problems (or any other handicap for that matter) as we tend to bring our own baggage along for the ride. Some horses will happily tote that load too. Others not so much.
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post #4 of 48 Old 11-29-2019, 05:49 PM
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I too get the idea this horse is not the right one for you. I also think it sounds like you'd benefit from a good instructor to give you hands on help & advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Animalia View Post
but for me she is "testing" me and has become quite nervous, flinchy, and spooky. ... off. I then did this repeatedly over the course of a few minutes--trying to surprise her
This doesn't sound like 'testing' to me, sounds like major lack of trust/fear, for whatever reason, perhaps exacerbated
By your sight probs. And doing things to 'try to surprise her' will likely just make it worse. As will kicking or otherwise trying to force a horse who's 'stuck' due to fear.
Quote:
obstacle courses? Did it help your relationship with a horse? Did it help your horse be less spooky? I am hoping to get out on the trails, but I don't trust this horse yet.
Whether its obstacles, dressage, western... whatever, it's not WHAT you do but HOW you do it.

I have always enjoyed obstacles & when we moved here we discovered an 'extreme cowboy racing'' club which we joined. Sim. to 'Extreme Trail' but with a racing component - when you're up to it. The instructor we first met (who only instructed as requested - we basically just did our own thing & she wandered around watching & helping when asked.) was big on it being something that should be done in such a way that the horse finds it easy & fun too. She wanted to focus on horsemanship skills over competition & goals. 1st few club meets were great, but i think she had a falling out with organiser & then things were different.

I & my kids were told to 'just get on his case' if our horse was nervous about something(had 4 new horses with different, dubious backgrounds at the time). I watched people who's horses hesitated at an obstacle get stuck into their horse & persevere at making his life hell for 'refusing' until the horses who were originally just a little unsure, were terrified of the obstacle & frightened of their people. We went to a competition & watched people booting their horse with spurs, wrenching their heads around... in short, the unfortunately common really bad horsemanship you see in lots of places.

So... did it help our relationship, our horses be less spooky? Yes, generally. But it was just another experience to give them to *prove* our trustworthiness and leadership. Tho when I took my old boy, who I already have a great relationship with & was fine with all sorts, but has big... trust issues with strangers... he got nervous, what with others who were traumatizing their horses near him.

And I wouldn't say *the obstacles & event* were what helped, but the way we went about it. There were many there who caused their horses to lose trust & respect in them, who became more spooky.

So.... you understandably don't trust this horse on trails. She sounds extremely untrusting of you too, and so she feel she must look out for herself, no one she can rely on, which makes her edgy & reactive. Obstacles can be great *tools* to help you *earn* trust & respect from your horse, but they don't actually do the earning for you. It's not about the(whatever thing).

Quote:
Would it be realistic of me to think I could enter at the Level 1 skill--where everything is done at the walk? This is all just walking through logs and suspension bridges and teeter boards--no fluttering stuff, pool noodles or tarps.
JUST suspension bridges & stuff, and yet you're concerned about fluttering & pool noodles? find that amusing because it's back to front to so many people's attitude. But again, it's not the Thing, but about how trusting your horse is with you, how you introduce things, how you go about it. Yes, it is absolutely realistic that you & your horse could be up to this by April. Or it could be a really terrible idea to even go there, depending on your relationship with her.
Quote:
If I decide to do this, how do I train without the actual obstacles available to me?
In principle it shouldn't matter, because it's about your horse having trust in you, to follow your lead regardless of how it seems. Again, it's not about the 'thing'. In practice though, esp when you currently have such an UNtrusting horse, even if you're successfully earning her trust with little things at home, taking her to a comp without her being familiar & comfortable with 'stuff' is just setting her up for failure & would be a mistake imo.
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post #5 of 48 Old 11-29-2019, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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So, I appreciate all of your thoughts and advice and caring about my safety. I think I might have undersold Draumsyn a bit--and myself--which is Really the problem. LOL I believe Draumsyn is, so far, a very safe horse. She was advertised as a horse for a "confident beginner and up". Well, I am an experienced rider--but I'm not real confident anymore and I think that above all is the problem. Not my eyes so much--except that they are part of the reason for me having lost confidence in myself overall, as a person. I've always had low self esteem and having physical challenges has made me doubt my worth in the world, or my reason for being alive even.



The second part of this is, Draumsyn was not easy to find. What I mean is, in my area there were almost no horses available for lease--up to two hours away! For almost a year while I've been looking--just always only a small handful--like 4 or 5 at the most and they were all expensive performance/show horses--not just "come and out and have fun" horses. Since I can only go out once a week or so, the owner is only charging me $50/month. Since my husband had Stage IV cancer 5 years ago and has barely worked, and I'm on disability income this was almost unbelievable! And she was within driving distance--45 minutes away. And she was small and considered very safe and her owner is a young woman (who has other horses) who is so kind and laid back and so willing to work with me. I want to have her come out and help me work with Dee, I just haven't yet, because the two times I rode with her there--to "test" Dee and then the day I signed the lease--Dee just wants to be in her owner's pocket--whether I'm on her back or not. LOL Annoying and hard to get pointers. But maybe now that I've ridden a couple of months, that would be a good thing to work on--getting her to listen to me with her owner present--or in any situation.



So, anyway, I don't have a lot of options for a lease horse and Dee has really been a dream come true in so many ways. I am done running away from challenges. I am doing this to get my riding chops back and honed and to grow as a rider. The therapeutic riding centers around here are expensive and the horses are dead broke robot horses and the students are just about all developmentally disabled kids. I don't need that kind of riding at this point in my life--I need a horse that has to be "ridden", whether it's fun or not. LOL It's more fun doing this, because when I do make a breakthrough it means so much and I am so proud of myself.



I don't consider myself "disabled" in the tradition sense. I have some challenges, but I go hiking alone--with my dog off leash and running around loose. I went to Disneyworld with my mother and sister and walked the pants off of them--and navigated all 5 parks without my dog--and sometimes in the dark (I had my white cane but didn't even need to use it all the time) and a couple times, I struck off on my own through the parks. So, I really don't think my eyes are her problem--I think it's my own anxiety feeding her. And THAT I'm not going to run away from. I think she's the horse I need to be my mirror, but not be too unsafe so I can work through this. I think I've made some mistakes that might have made her a little more nervous too, and I'm working on correcting that--like trying to do "join ups" and chasing her around the round pen--when all she wants to do is be calm and/or follow me around. She will follow me anywhere on a lead line--trails, woods, around machinery, through and over obstacles etc. When I get done riding, I get off and walk around the arena--and let her loose while I gather my stuff and put obstacles/toys away and she follows me--healing like a dog--like she's glued to me--I have tried to play "keep away" and she just moves with me. It's very sweet and doesn't seem like she doesn't trust me. About once or twice per ride she will "balk" and throw her head a bit and act "barn sour" by trying to turn towards the exit. But a lot of horses do that. I've only known her for 2 months, her owner has known her for 7 years and trained her from a 7 year old who had never had a halter on--so they have been through a lot together--and Brianna (the owner) as I said is Uber mellow and relaxed. I'm getting there hopefully.



Actually, I appreciate what you all said, and I think it made me examine my own situation and firmed my resolve to improve my bond with this horse and keep working on getting us smoother and it allowed me to defend my own abilities, which allows me to say good stuff about myself. LOL I need to do more of that. People tell me I have an excellent seat and that I'm a pretty good rider. Brianna was very impressed the day I came out and met her and rode Dee the first time--but I just brush it off as "people being nice" instead of accepting the compliment and believing it. LOL



More later, time for dinner! Thanks again and I will be safe! :)
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post #6 of 48 Old 11-29-2019, 11:37 PM
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OK, so sounds like it's not feasible that you find a different horse, and the problem is more about you rather than her anyway(respectfully - it usually is, not meaning to single you out...). Sounds like you appreciate that, and you CAN overcome it & become a great, confident leader with her. I do believe(from firsthand experience, as well as teaching scared kids & animals) you need to change your way of thinking/mindset about it all, to do so tho.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Animalia View Post
but I'm not real confident anymore and I think that above all is the problem. Not my eyes so much--except that they are part of the reason for me having lost confidence
Yes, the crux of the matter - that's why I wrote your eyesight possibly *exacerbates* issues - meaning I didn't believe that was the *cause*. Remember, horses are prey/herd animals. They get nervous & reactive without their herdmates/people they can trust, so if she can't trust you, due to your lack of confidence/nervousness, doesn't have other horses/people to rely one, she's of course going to be nervous, reactive, NOT safe. Through no fault of her own. It's just part of her being a horse. She may have been the 'perfect horse' with her owner, because she trusted her. She was probably 'in her pocket' when you rode with her, because she knew she couldn't trust you.

Horses 'read' emotions & attitudes of ours we often aren't even aware of ourselves, so if you know you're a nervy, inconfident person, imagine how 'loud & clear' that's coming through to her. & horses can't think rationally, so she just feels your fear/anxiety & how can she feel safe with you, when you clearly don't feel safe within yourself?

So, just like you would with a scared animal or child, I think to overcome that & gain confidence, esp with an animal who's going to react to your attitude, you need to stick to 'easy' stuff that's not likely to cause any reactivity/lack of confidence with either you or your horse. That may well mean sticking to 'baby steps' for a while. But with repetition of easy stuff, good feelings, etc, you will both become confident with those baby steps, and can move on to something that pushes you **just a little** out of your 'comfort zone'. Then with repetition of that 'level', you will both become confident with that & then find the next 'level'... etc. In that way, you can gradually 'stretch' your 'comfort zone' & become braver, without pushing either of you 'in the deep end', putting you in a situation that makes you anxious, makes her feel she needs to fend for herself...

Quote:
Dee just wants to be in her owner's pocket--whether I'm on her back or not. LOL Annoying and hard to get pointers. But maybe now that I've ridden a couple of months, that would be a good thing to work on--getting her to listen to me with her owner present
As said, I think that is a 'symptom' if you like, of her lack of confidence in you. While 'getting her to listen' while her owner's present may be a good way of tackling it, I think the reasoning is not just about 'getting her to listen' but that she will be more confident with her trusted leader, so she will be in a better state to listen to you - it will be easier, less stressful for her.

Quote:
I am done running away from challenges.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, no, don't run from challenges, but don't go at them like a 'bull at a gate' either & try to force issues. Instead, try to better understand & be considerate of your horse's feelings & reason for being reactive, and be kind & easy on yourself too!

Quote:
I think it's my own anxiety feeding her. And THAT I'm not going to run away from. I think she's the horse I need to be my mirror,
Yep, sounds like she's being that. So recognise that & realise that to change it, you need to find ways(like baby steps, making stuff easy & fun) to avoid 'going there'. Don't 'run away' but don't go there in the first place if you can help it.

Quote:
I think I've made some mistakes that might have made her a little more nervous too, and I'm working on correcting that
And remember, we ALL do. And we/you still will make more. Don't knock yourself for it, just try to learn for it - which it sounds like you are.
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post #7 of 48 Old 11-30-2019, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
I too get the idea this horse is not the right one for you. I also think it sounds like you'd benefit from a good instructor to give you hands on help & advice.



This doesn't sound like 'testing' to me, sounds like major lack of trust/fear, for whatever reason, perhaps exacerbated
By your sight probs. And doing things to 'try to surprise her' will likely just make it worse. As will kicking or otherwise trying to force a horse who's 'stuck' due to fear.


Whether its obstacles, dressage, western... whatever, it's not WHAT you do but HOW you do it.

I have always enjoyed obstacles & when we moved here we discovered an 'extreme cowboy racing'' club which we joined. Sim. to 'Extreme Trail' but with a racing component - when you're up to it. The instructor we first met (who only instructed as requested - we basically just did our own thing & she wandered around watching & helping when asked.) was big on it being something that should be done in such a way that the horse finds it easy & fun too. She wanted to focus on horsemanship skills over competition & goals. 1st few club meets were great, but i think she had a falling out with organiser & then things were different.

I & my kids were told to 'just get on his case' if our horse was nervous about something(had 4 new horses with different, dubious backgrounds at the time). I watched people who's horses hesitated at an obstacle get stuck into their horse & persevere at making his life hell for 'refusing' until the horses who were originally just a little unsure, were terrified of the obstacle & frightened of their people. We went to a competition & watched people booting their horse with spurs, wrenching their heads around... in short, the unfortunately common really bad horsemanship you see in lots of places.

So... did it help our relationship, our horses be less spooky? Yes, generally. But it was just another experience to give them to *prove* our trustworthiness and leadership. Tho when I took my old boy, who I already have a great relationship with & was fine with all sorts, but has big... trust issues with strangers... he got nervous, what with others who were traumatizing their horses near him.

And I wouldn't say *the obstacles & event* were what helped, but the way we went about it. There were many there who caused their horses to lose trust & respect in them, who became more spooky.

So.... you understandably don't trust this horse on trails. She sounds extremely untrusting of you too, and so she feel she must look out for herself, no one she can rely on, which makes her edgy & reactive. Obstacles can be great *tools* to help you *earn* trust & respect from your horse, but they don't actually do the earning for you. It's not about the(whatever thing).



JUST suspension bridges & stuff, and yet you're concerned about fluttering & pool noodles? find that amusing because it's back to front to so many people's attitude. But again, it's not the Thing, but about how trusting your horse is with you, how you introduce things, how you go about it. Yes, it is absolutely realistic that you & your horse could be up to this by April. Or it could be a really terrible idea to even go there, depending on your relationship with her.


In principle it shouldn't matter, because it's about your horse having trust in you, to follow your lead regardless of how it seems. Again, it's not about the 'thing'. In practice though, esp when you currently have such an UNtrusting horse, even if you're successfully earning her trust with little things at home, taking her to a comp without her being familiar & comfortable with 'stuff' is just setting her up for failure & would be a mistake imo.

So you bring up some good points. I am not giving up on this horse yet. From what I've experienced, horses often test new riders until they are sure the new rider will be a good leader and will not let them get away with stuff. Since I've been having anxiety issues, I think we are struggling to find that path, but it's not been terrible, just a little frustrating at times. I've had some great rides with her too.

As for "surprising" her, what I meant was that over the course of several minutes I kept randomly rubbing the saddle until she calmed down about it. Then I'd do it again a minute or so later when she wasn't expecting it again--and I kept desensitizing her and talking to her while I did it until it didn't bother her anymore. Then after a few minutes, I could randomly rub the saddle and she didn't care. I'm not sure why that day that particular noise or vibration worried her, but we did work past it. But I was a real ninny that day too. If horses are our mirrors, then she definitely has a lot to teach me about myself and I hope we can learn from each other and grow into a good partnership. I am going to work on sacking her out too. Her owner hasn't ridden her regularly for at least 2 years so I'm not sure she's seen her in all kinds of "moods". She had one other adult leaser before me who got along pretty well with Draumsyn--but again--the owner was just taking the woman's word for it--she was never there while they were riding. And now, I am sharing lease of the horse with a family with 3 little girls. The youngest is 3 years old! And the parents and the kids had NO experience with horses until they started leasing a "pony" for their daughters. They just put the girls on and lead her around. They refused the offer of lessons from the owner. But I wonder if those very young kids are spooking Draumsyn as well. Having 3 different kids squealing and banging around on your back might not make for a peaceful time, even if you are a normally good horse--and they see her 3x week while I only see her once--but I really ride and do groundowork with her. There are a lot of variables here I guess--not to mention she's only been at this boarding facility for a few months and the pasture and hay are much richer than she is used to, so I wonder if some of these nerves are nutritional.



As for the obstacles, what you are saying makes perfect sense about it not being "things" but the relationship that is more important. And a big part of my wanting to get back into horses was me wanting to build a relationship with a specific horse--build that trust and respect between us--rather than just riding dead broke horses that don't care who you are and have been brow beaten into trusting any joker that gets on their back. So, in that way, I guess I have a golden opportunity in Draumsyn! I just need to be up to the challenge and willing to do a lot of groundwork and not always riding. I'm not sure about the competition, given all the circumstances, but it's definitely fun to have a focus. I am not going to push the issue on either myself or Draumsyn to be ready by April. But I want to do obstacle training anyway for interest and trust building. She's really good at walking over poles and teeter boards and around barrels and other obstacles--no problems--she loves it. She does not like riding circles around the outside of the arena--that's when she gets a little balky sometimes--after the 5th time around or so. LOL She wants to do the course again. She walks across a mattress with no problem, and up onto and over a truck tire platform (although I haven't done these two while riding her yet). But the "nervous" thing seems to be more about noises and "scar" fluttery stuff waving around. If I can desensitize her enough to get her to walk through an arch of dangling ribbons and drag a noisy bag behind her, I will feel very proud!



One last question--I am getting so confused and frustrated at how to deal with correcting a horse. Everyone has a different opinion. I was taught to never let the horse decide to do anything on their own--always stay in control. And if they did "refuse" to do something to get on their case so that the easier path for them was just to DO the thing they were scared of or reluctant to do. I've also seen people say what you said about not putting so much pressure on so they don't hate life and you. So, if a horse is refusing to do something--whether from fear or stubbornness--what do you do? It can't be right to just let them get their way? Do you get off and lead them through (that's what I used to do on the trail if my horse was afraid of water or a bridge--but back then I could back on easily without a mounting block!). BUt then if I get off whenever she's having a minor tantrum or scared of something--won't that set up a bad precedent if she just wants me off her back she'll learn to act up more to get me off? As I said, she's not a bad horse, I've ridden bad, scary horses. So far, she's just moody and a little nervous.



Thanks!
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post #8 of 48 Old 11-30-2019, 01:06 PM
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I think you would benefit from slowing down a bit. I understand exactly how you feel, you want to get back to your previous level of riding and confidence pronto - else you feel like a failure. But it doesnít really work like that. If you used to be a weightlifter in your youth and took it up after many years, I am quite sure you wouldnít expect to get to the same level immediately, if ever.

You seem to be putting pressure on yourself to perform. Remember, you are not aiming for the Olympics. You will not starve if you donít perform - this isnít your job. You will not spoil the horse for ever and ever if you get off and lead her past something that sheís scared of. Even if you do make mistakes, you can correct them or the owner can if you cannot.

Also, I said this on one of your previous threads - itís winter. All horses are a bit spooky. Even if you just go out and love on her without riding until spring, I would consider that a win and time and money well spent. There is no rush. If you donít feel confident riding now, just spend some time with her on the ground and wait for spring. She is likely to calm down a lot as the temperature rises and once youíve ridden her through summer, you will be more confident come winter next year. This wouldnít be a failure- it would be a wise choice to get to your goal without getting injured or scared so much that you give up riding.

You are putting yourself into a very difficult situation: an older - presumably less than fit - re-rider (no offense, I am not young or amazingly fit either), no lessons, you eyesight making you vulnerable, new horse in a new environment for both of you, in the middle of winter, riding on your own. This isnít easy and you have my permission to give yourself a break :)
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post #9 of 48 Old 11-30-2019, 01:41 PM
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I have read a few of your threads without commenting, but you now seem to be questioning your decisions and how the horse reacts to those decisions.

It appears that you have "studied" some of the current gurus, many of which teach that "you must always be the leader" and "never let the horse make a decision" and "do not let the horse get within three feet of you without your permission" and similar stuff.

I consider most of this to be BS.

You have a horse that is described as kind, good with beginners, and friendly. She likes to follow people around, and is generally agreeable.

But you seem to want to force her, instead of asking her. Why not let her follow you? Why not stroke her and tell her how wonderful she is? Why not enjoy her?

If it makes you and her both calmer and happier if you get off and lead her for a while when she is nervous. No shame in that!

Being kind, friendly and loving to her will help you develop a bond.
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post #10 of 48 Old 11-30-2019, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
I have read a few of your threads without commenting, but you now seem to be questioning your decisions and how the horse reacts to those decisions.

It appears that you have "studied" some of the current gurus, many of which teach that "you must always be the leader" and "never let the horse make a decision" and "do not let the horse get within three feet of you without your permission" and similar stuff.

I consider most of this to be BS.

You have a horse that is described as kind, good with beginners, and friendly. She likes to follow people around, and is generally agreeable.

But you seem to want to force her, instead of asking her. Why not let her follow you? Why not stroke her and tell her how wonderful she is? Why not enjoy her?

If it makes you and her both calmer and happier if you get off and lead her for a while when she is nervous. No shame in that!

Being kind, friendly and loving to her will help you develop a bond.

Well honestly I've read, watched, studied and talked to everyone! That's part of the problem--too many people with differing opinions all claiming to be professional or experts. I too believe in the kinder approach and I tend to gravitate towards natural horsemanship the most--but even among those experts there is disagreement about how much pressure to put on a horse and how to "calm" them. I think I need to go with my gut here, it always led me correctly with horses in the past. I could often handle horses others couldn't--at least on the ground--same for all animals. Since I started working with Draumsyn I've tried to make some of our time together a time for her to do what she wants (on the ground). But not enough. I've taken her into the round pen and the arena--with just her halter on and let her go and followed her around, or she followed me around--and we just explored stuff. Need to do more of that and less "force", but not so much that she doesn't respect me either. Always a balancing act.

Thanks for your input!
loosie, avjudge and JoBlueQuarter like this.
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