Nervous owner pushy spooky horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-06-2015, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Nervous owner pushy spooky horse

I'm new to owning my own horses and have recently got two ottbs the problem is both of them can see I'm a little nervous and my mare get spooked so my issue is is how to correct their pushy ways without being scared they are going to act stupid
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-06-2015, 07:06 PM
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Ignore the stupid and be fair but firm.

Honestly I would really suggest a trainer.

I am assuming both are young and a horse straight off the track is a BAD match for a newbie, let alone a nervous newbie. Also TBs tend to be like that.

Please get some hands on help, doesn't even need to be a trainer, do you have an experienced friend?

Personally I don't CARE if the horse acts stupid. They either get ignored or reprimanded then we move on with life. They learn it's not worth it and stop on their own. If the horse has genuine issues with correction I make a point to go nice and slow but will still correct.

That said the "not caring" comes from years of experience and from me being comfortable handling and being around horses, reading their body language, knowing what to do etc etc AND also knowing how to handle "if things go wrong" it's also partially a mental trick, just go "in the zone". If you are calm and confident the horse will be.

I don't expect you to think like this though, while you do need to work on that at the same time you don't want to ignore things, obviously that could end very badly!

Again, I STRONGLY suggest hands on help.

Not sure it matters atm but is your mare actually spooky or just being a brat? I'm guessing it may be the latter in which case all the more reason to "crack down". If she is genuinely spooky (say you shout and yank the lead and she bolts backward terrified AND is actually terrified and not just throwing a fit) then I would say to be less dramatic in your corrections, clearly she doesn't need that and you want her to trust you, and also to work on desensitizing her to your "normal" body language.

There is usually a cause if the horse is way overly sensitive (poor handling, hot food, etc). I knew a mare who would bolt backwards if you did what I just described. However, if I needed to correct her I would correct her the same way (though "softly" but I would do the same thing) AND at the same time if I reached up in the air without meaning and saw her throw her head up with that look I would just make a point of throwing my arms around "aimlessly" until she got over it. She needed to figure out there was a difference between body language and me just moving!!

FWIW this mare was NOT abused (I would do things very differently) and was simply overreacting, she was not genuinely afraid. I also never had this issue when I first met her, it developed through poor management. Just an example of something I would do and sort of a "give and take", depending on the horse and the situation I would handle things differently, possibly very.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-06-2015, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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She is a little of both a brat and spooky she's a brat when I don't let her get her way but if I'm a very firm in correction she try to run and fight me a little my gelding on the other hand is just being a brat most of the times they aren't very young mare is 7geilding is 88 i think some of the mares problem is that she was in a kill lot when the previous owner saved her I love them to death but I don't want to loose my grip with them I have family and friends with tons of horse experience so I'll go that route as well
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-07-2015, 01:36 AM
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Hi & welcome,

Ditto to Yogi's you need a trainer - reel in one of those family & friends for help! You don't say how long the horses raced or what else they've done/been taught, but just because they're not babies doesn't mean they're not quite green to anything outside racing. It could well be a case of them not knowing what to do, you not being able to teach them...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottbbaby View Post
She is a little of both a brat and spooky she's a brat when I don't let her get her way but if I'm a very firm in correction she try to run and fight me a little my gelding on the other hand is just being a brat most of the times they aren't very young mare is 7geilding is 88 i think some of the mares problem is that she was in a kill lot when the previous owner saved her
That she was 'saved from a kill pen' doesn't necessarily mean anything, but even if she has some hangups from previous abuse, it shouldn't really effect how she's dealt with now(of course all horses are individuals & should be treated as such).

Respectfully, calling the horses 'brats', especially when you know they're nervous and that you are nervous & new to horses is not a very helpful mindset to get yourself in. Horses are reactive prey animals. It is natural for them to push against 'pressure' they don't understand, especially if afraid - they don't even really think then, just react. What you say about your mare above could be that she's generally nervy, and when you try to 'get firm', this is just too much pressure for her, so she gets panicky, stops thinking, starts reacting.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-07-2015, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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The mare only ran three races when u have her in a saddle she is very well behaved she seems to like my hubby more than me the gelding was in races for a while and was retired in may he is a great horse for the most part very well mannered with the kids but if he doesn't want to do something he stops dead in his tracks eve right down to walking him generally when he does that I turn him in a circle and keep going I have a family member coming over tomorrow to take a look and see where I'm going wrong
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-07-2015, 06:33 AM
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It's good that you reached out for help. Be sure to watch how that person interacts with the horse as well as what they say.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-07-2015, 12:12 PM
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Welcome to the forum

I appreciate your honesty to both yourself and us about you being NEW and nervous. Confidence comes with time, exposure, careful thought, and instruction. You are getting to know these horses as they are getting to know you. The more you work with them on a daily basis, the more confident you will become and the better the horses will react. Your mindset is very important. For example, You certainly know how to lead a horse, so if you are leading the gelding and he stops it really is no big deal, you will handle it and get him from point A to B. How you handle it is a training session as every time you do anything with a horse you are "training" it, Does the horse need an in depth session on learning to lead? Absolutely not. Every time you have him on a lead you are training him and building your own confidence. It is good to hear that you have some support from the people around you. Watching someone handling a horse is much better than reading or being told how to do it.

As for TBs and especially OTTBs, there are certainly some nut cases but they are usually extremely intelligent and often very sensitive. Yes, even the bratty pushy ones can have a sensitive side that they don't want to show. I have worked with many of them and find that once they understand what you want, they are very cooperative. Being patient, clear, and consistent works best with them
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-10-2015, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottbbaby View Post
I'm new to owning my own horses and have recently got two ottbs the problem is both of them can see I'm a little nervous and my mare get spooked so my issue is is how to correct their pushy ways without being scared they are going to act stupid
My big guy is mostly quarter horse but has a little thoroughbred in him, and he was spooky at first, and dumped me a few times, and I was nervous. Two things made a huge difference for me. The first was Clinton Anderson groundwork. After the very first time I tried "lunging for respect" he walked right past an obstacle under saddle that formerly caused him to spook every time. I don't know what happened in his mind that day, but my best guess is he decided it was my call what was worth spooking about. We made rapid progress after that, and within a year all the cars and mailboxes and banging trailers and ATVs got to be no big deal. And bonus benefit -- he became noticeably more obedient.

The second thing, and the one that really helped me get over being nervous, was teaching him to do a one-rein stop. Once I knew that he would stop, even just wearing a rope halter, no matter how panicked he was, I started to relax and enjoy riding. And of course, the more I relaxed, the less he was spooky. He will never be a particularly brave horse, but we both look forward to getting out on the trail and we both have fun. And now when we encounter a new phantasm along the way, it's more like a puzzle to solve than the source of a heart attack.

Good luck and please let us know how it goes for you.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-11-2015, 12:33 AM
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Here's an article from EQUUS that might be helpful. Dan Aadland is my favorite writer when it comes to trail riding.

How to build a trustworthy trail horse | EQUUS Magazine
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-15-2015, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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I'm pleased to report that dash is improving she's not as jumpy as she was when I first posted I have been working with her and showing her she can trust us she's still a little jumpy but we are working through it I'm also getting better with my own nervous tendencys I've resolved to keep in my mind that accidents happen and all I can do is my best to prevent them if in my control the way I see it is if I get kicked or thrown then I get kicked or thrown I'll just have to pick myself up dust myself of(stifle the tears cause I'm a big baby) and get back on. I will not let my own fears get in the way of being with the horses I love
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