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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I have a 10 y/o tb mare, never raced. She tends to get very distracted and look at things, and drift away from certain 'scary spots' in the arena, they are always the same ones (ex, the same door/gate). She doesn't usually spook or go crazy, just she stops paying attention to me and we loose our rhythm, contact, and bend. I have tried giving her a job to do and bending in the opposite direction of the 'scary thing', any other advice/tricks?

thanks!
 

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I think I'm almost am expert at "arena monsters" with my guy. He's even smart enough to pick new hiding spots at random once I get him over the last spot.

What are you doing exactly when she shies away? Are you looking at the spot or thing? Are you subconsciously shifting your body weight in anticipation? Are you tensing in anticipation? So you use a crop to reinforce your leg and make sure your "voice" is heard? What exercises are you doing when she ignores you? Where are your legs, seat, hands, and eyes?
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Do something that makes her focus on you - for example on my young Morgan, when he gets "looky", I have him do a shoulder-in at the walk. It isn't always the pretties thing in the world to get it started, but once we're going he does tune back into me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice!
I try not to act like anything is different until she reacts. Sometimes it's really hard to predict, she sometimes spooks at nothing. When she is on a course she is usually much better since she is paying attention to what is coming next. I try to give her different tasks to do at the flat, (ex bending different ways, flexing, lots of circles, leg yields) but I guess she just gets bored and finds something else to be interested in. I'm wondering if she's starting to spook out of boredom rather than because something is actually scary, for an example she has jumped a filler quite a few times but when we are doing flat work and she notices it, she shies away from it.
 

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Keep her busy! If she is bored with the flatwork you are doing, learn new movements, improve the trot, use the 101 Dressage Exercises book for ideas, look up Jane Savoie's videos and website, etc. If my horse is having a day where he's staring we will go from one movement to the next to keep his brain busy - half-pass to extension to half-pass across the diagonal, shoulder in to 10m circle to traverse to walk/canter transitions to tempis to walk pirouettes, one after another after another, etc. Talking to your horse can also help keep them focused on something aside from the scary monster in the corner or whatever. Ride assertively and make her pay attention to you. You are the boss of her! :)
 

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No, I am NOT on Clinton Anderson's payroll.
Buy his book:
http://www.amazon.com/Clinton-Andersons-Downunder-Horsemanship-Establishing/dp/1570762848
It is cheap and easy to follow.
Your mare doesn't listen to you bc you have not established leadership. The breed has nothing to do with it. I have owned 2 OTTB's, both with physical problems, but I knew CW Reenactor friend with a big, dappled grey OTTB that was calm, and gentle and probably a babysitter. He GOT that way bc of all of his pleasure riding training (AND getting desensitized to gunfire and the like).
One of his sayings is what to do when your horse is looking around for a new owner. Sounds like your description of YOUR mare. =b
 

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Always keep your horses attention on you, always. It fixes so many problems by itself. If I'm grooming a horse, blanketing it, working with it, anything where I am contact with the horse I keep very close attention to their body language and when I know they're not focused on my and what I'm doing around them then I ask for it back by flexing them, asking for a leg or turn depending on the situation. Starting this and being consistent on the ground will connect to saddle work. Nothing annoys me more then a distracted horse under saddle, thats MY time.
 
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