OT horse people training question!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ldbgcoleman, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. ldbgcoleman

    ldbgcoleman New Member

    Sophie and I are doing great! In the ring she is a dream. she glides and does everything I ask her too. But.. she is very spooky out of the ring. I took her on a trail ride with another horse and she was very nervous. I had to dismount to get her across a creek. She jumped it big on the way back. She was very spooky at the least little thing.

    Sophie is a TB 9 year old mare and she was never ridden until age 5. She has been professionally trained but as a hunter jumper. She has pretty much spent her riding days in the ring. She is a very sweet submissive mare with wonderful groud manners. She loves to sngle me. I have been riding her 3-4 days per week for the past three weeks. She is ridden by a couple of other people for lessons but they are advanced begginer and intermediate riders.

    My goals is to make Sophie comfortable out of the ring so we can enjoy trail riding together. I would also like to eventuall teach her to cross water with me on her (I have seen her playing in the water in her pasture)

    What do you guys suggest I do???? Also do you have any good horse websites that are like this one??? Thanks Lynn
  2. Starcat

    Starcat New Member

    Well...I'm not an expert, but I have worked and trained afew in my time. It sounds like your mare just needs to learn how to trust you more.

    Since Sophie was trained to jump, it's become natural for her to want to "jump" whatever you put in front of her. And doing most of her riding in the ring...I can see where everything would be alittle frightening to her outside of it.

    I believe the more patience we have with horses, the more they learn to trust us and have faith in what we want them to do...even if it makes them nervous.

    What I used to do was stay on top of my horse..and stand by the water (or whatever other object upsets them) Let them sniff, paw, snort, drink etc. I would pat and rub their shoulder the whole time, talking to them. Staying as relaxed as possible, with the reins loose.

    When the horse calmed down, I would nudge them abit closer to what ever it was that upset them, or if water I would try to get their front feet in it. If they still hesitiate, then you need to stop and do the reasurrance thing again. But if they moved closer, I would stop again anyway, and do the same with the reassurance. Rub their neck, talk, let them snort, get used to it, etc. until they felt comfortable again. Then just keep going inch by inch if you need to. Pretty soon they just say "oh what they hay..this isn't so bad" lol

    This works great with what ever your horse comes across that upsets or makes them nervous. You have to remember too that horses can't perceive depth. So rivers and even puddles can seem like bottomless pits to them.

    I found the best horses came from patience and understanding on the riders part. If their scared..they just need reassurance that it's ok. For them to feel reassured from you, they need to be able to trust you. And a horse won't trust you if you go too fast or try to force them to do things that make them uncomfortable.

    Time and patience! And then before you know it...your Sophie will be anxiously waiting to go on the next trail ride.

    Well..that's just my 2cents..lol Hope all goes well for you and Sohie. I sure envy your days of riding. I miss them sooo much.

    Take care,

    ps. I just wanted to give a reminder to do your best at feeling how your horse reacts to things...and give her a chance to explore whatever is making her nervous. You'll be surprised...once you give them this opportunity..they won't even look twice at it the next time :)[This Message was Edited on 11/17/2005]
  3. diva2mi

    diva2mi New Member

    I agree with the previous poster. I used to work with abused and neglected horses in particular and the most important thing is patience, patience, patience.

    Since she is most comfortable in the ring, try to bring a few things in to introduce them to her. Naturally, you aren't going to be able to do it all, but maybe bring in a bush (potted) or other things she might see along a trail. Walk her up to it and if she still seems nervous, hand-walk her up to the scary item.

    She may just need some time to learn to trust you, and that will make a world of difference. Soon, a hand on her neck may be all that's needed to steady her. Dealing with animals that have trust problems or that are skittish in new situations is always a bit of a challange. However, it is going to something that will bring you closer together, maybe even closer than a horse that trusts right away.

    I remember my biggest challange was an ex-racehorse that was so abused by his jockey that a windy day would set the horse to frothing and sweating just at the shake of a branch. It took me many months and lots of patience to have him trust me to take him in the outdoor ring and to complete a set of jumps. At the end, he was an award-winning hunter-jumper. I will never forget him because he almost looked just like the Black Stallion from the movies.

    I don't think it will take as long for you to start forming a real bond with your new mare. In fact, just taking her out and working with her, your bond has already started! I didn't read all the way through the previous post, so I hope that I am repeating anything. My attention span today is suffering from all the studying I have done this week!

    Also, sorry for the book length response, but I wish you all the luck and happiness with your new mare!
  4. karatelady52

    karatelady52 New Member

    In my 20's (another lifetime ago) I had a solid black Tennessee Walker. I bought him when he was 9 months old and kept him a "stud muffin" for about 2 years. He would spook at anything. He even backed into the road one day while I was riding him.

    I wish I'd had all these nice people giving me such good advice.

  5. ldbgcoleman

    ldbgcoleman New Member

    I love the respnses. Today I worked her to release some energy and then walked her around outside the ring around some different objects like trailers the fire hydrant ect... She would stop dead still and not move at all and even back up a little I would take her in a tight circle and that would move her closer. This worked to a certain extent. I also plan to ride her in the pasture she gets turned out in some.

    Great advice. I am very patient and I understand it takes awhile to develop trust. Since I am only half leasing her and other people are lesosning on her do you think this will work?? Is 3-4 times per week enough?? Tomorrow I plan to hand walk her around the path I want her to go and then get on and ride that path.

    I really love this sweet girl and have planned to start looking to buy after the holidays and she is a possibility. So... I want to try and build a bond with her. Thanks so much for the advice and I will take all I can get!!

    What I don't want to do is punish her for understandable behavior. I need to know how to be the alpha horse! Thanks Lynn
  6. elsa

    elsa New Member

    Good to chat with you again ... Glad you are having such a good time with Sophie!

    You've gotten some good advice already ... Thought I'd add my thoughts too.

    Horses aren't prey animals so their sense of fight or flight is strong with that flight intinct incredibly strong. Miss Sophie may need a lot of time getting used to the "new" part of her job ... trail riding.

    She got started kinda late so she will probably be naturally alittle more hesitant then a younger horse might be. I agree with the hand walking idea. ... On the trail you want to ride along ... in her pasture ... any other place that you can think of.

    Try to stay within sight of the barn and her buddies for a while. "Home" is a very safe place and the more she sees new things with home in the back ground the better she may except them.

    You might want to check with the trainer, but ear plugs are wonderful things. They blunt or dull the volume a little .... lets a spooky horse get a chance at learning new sights without the new scary sounds. They can be bought at tack shops ... but you can also go to Michael's (or any craft store) and get the really large pom-pon ball looking things ... looks like hugh cotton balls.

    Brown colored for chestnut horses ... makes them not so evident to see. Horses new to trail riding aren't crazy about the sound of dried leaves crunching under their feet ... this might help.

    I don't know about the creek and walking thru water ... I never did in the off chance the horse may have to jump over water in the ring. Getting them comfortable walking thru lakes, creeks, etc with rider might teach them to put a foot in the water in the ring and that's something you don't want .....

    This may not be any big deal to you or she may never have to do a course that has a water jump as part of it ... but if there's a possibility... you might want to think on the creek riding.

    If you can, try doing your hand walks and then "rookie" trail riding with someone with you. A calm, old pro at trail riding or just riding around the place with her may help her to relax. Great idea of working her first and then walking around ... seeing new things. I'm sorry it didn't go well ...

    If she hasn't been ridden in a few days you'll want to by- pass the trails on that day ... also, if it's windy, cold or an obvious storm front coming through, you'll want to by-pass these days too. They're so sensitive .. those weather settings can just add to the work load on getting her to accept the trails.

    I hope things work out well for both of you on this. I wish I could be of more help, but it's been so long since I thought about trail riding that I don't have any great suggestions.

    In my experience, the more "alpha" the horse is the more cautious they are. It's the alpha female's job in the herd to look out for trouble, danger, possible enemies, etc and then to alert the herd to start running for safety. Some just aren't going to be all star trail horses.

    Mine certainly isn't! He is alpha all the way and he will notice when a new shrub is planted around the barn! He's a piece of work I tell ya! Love him anyway though....

    Hope you are doing well ... I am glad you're having such fun.

    Take care,


  7. Starcat

    Starcat New Member

    Nothing can replace nature and what one finds along the way. Bringing things into the ring can be helpful, but she already looks at the ring as a safe place. So you could bring in a potted plant, etc. and she wouldn't flinch..but put it outside the fence and it would seem like a totally new threat to her.

    Just please be careful if your walking along beside her. I would disagree with this kind of training as it puts one at great risk of getting hurt. Her bolting or accidentally stepping on you for example. Plus you have very little control of her.

    When your in the saddle, she learns quicker and has a greater trust and respect for you. Your the driver and she will listen to your signals more when your on top.

    Good luck with your mare and hope this helps.
    [This Message was Edited on 11/17/2005]
  8. ldbgcoleman

    ldbgcoleman New Member

    Thank you so much for the support. Today I hand walked her in the areas we rode today and she acted like it was no big deal! After she spooked at everything yesterday.

    She had been in her stall for two days and we did have a cold snap and it was windy yesterday so maybe that added to her nervousness. Also all her buddied were in the barn. it was deserted. She is very eager to please and I am going to keep workign with her on feeling more comfortable with me and out of her zone.

    I have all the time in the world and I'm in no hurry! I appreciate the responses and advice it has really hekped me get on the right track. Lynn

  9. foggyfroggy

    foggyfroggy Guest

    get John Lyons 'Training for the Trail' tape (not sure of the exact title but thats the gist). It's really wonderful and made all the difference with my very spooky mare - it's all about getting the horse to listen and trust. He has some great groundwork exercises you can do in the arena that really help.
  10. rockyjs

    rockyjs Member

    There's a book and I believe a companion video called "Bombproof Your Horse." If you do a search using those words you'll turn up the information.

    Also, you might ask your vet about a calcium supplement. We have calmed many spooky animals over the years by adding calcium to their diet. Potassium is another important nutrient for nerves and the tendency to startle easily.

    When we lived in Missouri there was a company that made mineral rings that you tack to a fence. Each mineral was separate and they could choose what they wanted to lick. We also made sure to use mineral salt licks instead of plain salt.

  11. ldbgcoleman

    ldbgcoleman New Member

    I am looking up the books and video right now!!! Wow You guys are the best!! I am really excited about workign with this Mare. I am planning on purchasing a horse After the first of the year and would love to consider her. This is terrific. Lynn

    PS her picture is in my profile if you haven't seen her! I have been leasing her for about 3 weeks now and riding her for 6. L
  12. diva2mi

    diva2mi New Member

    we won't all agree on training styles. Not everything will work for every horse. My suggestions worked for the extreme cases that I treated. Horses are like us humans in a way, what works for one, won't work for the next one. Please don't think that I am taking offense to starcat's post disagreeing with my methods... I don't take offense to much.

    I have been a teacher of humans and animals for about 12 years now and other instructors and I don't always agree. That is how we better ourselves as instructors and trainers and animal lovers.

    I wish you much continued luck with Sophie and hope that the other rider(s) work as well with Sophie as you do! I wish I had the energy to ride again! And the money! When I become professor maybe! :)
  13. ldbgcoleman

    ldbgcoleman New Member

    I just ordered bombproof your horse and another book called what your horse wants you to know! Also National Velvet for my neice. She's 8. I posted a message on the John Lyons site to see which book would be the best to start with.

    I think with Sophies sweet and willing personality I can't go wrong.

    Diva you are right what works with one horse may not work with another! Just like people! Lynn!
  14. Starcat

    Starcat New Member

    Sounds like you'll do really well with her Lynn. Just remember that safety of horse and rider should always come first.

    Happy riding!
  15. 1horse

    1horse New Member

    hi there., You already got wonderful advice, and I agree with them, john lyons has tapes and parnelli has tapes. It takes a lot of patience and work but it is so worth it. good luck ...peggy
  16. Dee50

    Dee50 New Member

    If it were me I would be looking at 1/2 Arab 1/2 Quarter horse crosses. They are great trail horses. One that someone has hunted (game) on, and used for a pack animal. A horse thats been on the trail their whole life and not in the show ring. Not a purebreed. His or her buying price will be better than a TB and this horse will be an expert on the trail and a total pleasure for you to bond with.

    I have riden many jumpers yea they love to jump I don't. but trail riding and camping out over night ect.. swimming across rivers, going down steep hills holding on to my horses tail with him leading the way Oh love all that stuff!

    I found the ring very very boring. I found showing very boring-all to serious and no fun!! Even when I won I was not having fun.

    Well thats my 10 cents worth.lol
    Does that make me a cowgirl?haha I live in Idaho ya know! Big time Quarter Horse county.
    I wish you the best-I'm to sick to ride now days but maybe some day I'll be able to hit the trails again.
    [This Message was Edited on 11/18/2005]
    [This Message was Edited on 11/18/2005]
  17. ldbgcoleman

    ldbgcoleman New Member

    I am thinking along those lines. Either a QH Arab cross or an Appendix QH TB cross. I love the Arab and the TB look but I also love the QH personality and strength. I am definately planning on looking with the help of my trainer. There Is another lady at our barn looking for a new horse and she has invited me to go along so that should give me some experience and an idea of whats out there! Lynn
  18. Dee50

    Dee50 New Member

    Sounds great! In my book the Arab is the perfect horse there is nothing he or she can't do and do it better than any other breed! Love love the Arab! but 1/2 Arab works you don't need all that hot blood for trail riding. Or the high price of a Arab. But when it comes to enduranace trail riding the Arab stud can not be beat by any other breed! Oh, how I love them total class and style.

    Have fun looking and keep us posted.
    I believe that a horse has trail sense or they don't. I don't think it is something you can teach them.


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