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View Full Version : 1600 lb draft cross terrified of 5 lb cat, UPDATE - Eyes normal, healthy



kbbarn
Aug. 17, 2009, 11:34 PM
My 6 year old draft cross has started her dressage training ( started riding her when she was 5 yrs). My arena has a raised deck attached for spectators and this is where the 5 lb Siamese cat likes to hang out. My mare has a thing about cats - terrified of them. The barn cats walk through the barn - you would think that a Lion just came in if you watch how the mare re-acts! Anyhow, we are riding in the arena and because she is young, I want to do 20m circles, not 10m since smaller circles are require more strength and whatnot and she is not really there yet.

But since cat is hanging out on the deck, there is no way the mare will go near that side of the arena. I keep a fiirm outside rein with my inside leg on to push her to outside rein but she cranks her head to the outside anyway to stare at the threatening cat. Once past the cat, she is light and round. Come around to that side of the circle, she leans on the bit and is counter bent, shoulder leaning to the inside. I have also tried to tickle the inside rein to get her head back to the inside and she responds a little as we go past the cat but not much. Really leans on the inside shoulder when we have to go past the cat. This is very annoying in that she is so nice, light and round when no cat present. She is great at listening to my seat when nothing to distract. When cat on deck, she ignores my seat as well.

So tonight, while the cat was watching, we did 15m circles so that I could get some bend on the 'cat side' of the arena. She had to work harder but still fixated on the cat. I need training suggestions for the looky, spooky horse. Any ideas on training techniques when the 'chicken' horse wants to counter bend to stare at and not listen when going by the scary 5 lb creature?

quietann
Aug. 18, 2009, 12:48 AM
I have had some success doing small figure 8's next to a scary object. If your mare is less reactive to the cat going one direction than the other, start with that "good side", make the center of the figure 8 where you change directions as she is passing the cat (so you will be angled away at that point) and then make a small circle in the new direction. Again you will be angled away as you reach the cat. Try to use the reins as little as possible, except for leading her head away from the cat with an opening inside rein. It usually takes a few tries to get a calm figure 8 with proper bend at the walk; I've also done this at the trot but as my mare gets very rushy when nervous, I prefer to walk it. Start with bigger figure 8s (10 meters) and as she calms down, make them smaller.

Leg yield towards the scary thing and then away as soon as the horse is starting to melt down has also been helpful.

I'm a real newbie but this has worked for scary green jumps leaning against the arena wall, goats, viewing windows in indoor arenas, full trash bags at the side of the road, Doorways Sure to Reveal Horse Eating Monsters, etc. I think my horse sees better out of her right eye, so I start with that eye next to the scary thing.

I stumbled on this entirely by accident; maresy was doing the 20 foot sideways teleport at the green jump going to the right, but I realized that when going to the left, she might look at it or scoot a foot or two, but was not nearly so frightened. So I started doing figure 8s and just kept doing them until she would go past it calmly in both directions. The next time I rode her, she scooted once at the green jump, I did one figure 8, and after that she was fine with it.

I have to admit that I am cracking up at the thought of your horse (who weighs nearly twice what mine does) being scared of a tiny cat!

slc2
Aug. 18, 2009, 06:54 AM
I do not believe your horse is really 'afraid' of the familiar sight, the cat.

Sounds like horse is frisky. When they spook repeatedly at a familiar sight, they are fresh. Why not turn her out or longe her before you ride her.

And...you can do 10m circles at a walk without harming your horse. Sounds like the horse's focus isn't really on you, an instructor might be able to help.

blackhorsegirl
Aug. 18, 2009, 08:46 AM
Remember that the horse's eye magnifies what it sees. The little cat will look like a small lion. As funny as it is to us, your horse is frightened. Buy a stuffed toy cat and rub it on the barn cat. Let you horse slowly sniff and get use to it. You can also find those stuffed toys that meow and purr when stroked. Just because she's big horse--I have one, too, and think they're adorable--doesn't make her naturally brave at heart. She just needs a little de-sensitivity training.

Valentina_32926
Aug. 18, 2009, 09:45 AM
Years ago I was in a clinic with Col. Lindgren and a TB was "spooking" at flowers near one side of the arena. He had the rider trot towards the flowers while looking away (with head) from flowers, indicating the rider was NOT concerned about the flowers. After several passes riding in this fashion the horse slowly moved closer to the flowers (be sure to keep outside leg on to prevent excess escape from flower bogey man) and both legs to keep the forward.

Once it's OK in one direction repeat for the other direction. Try adding shoulder fore/shoulder in to the mix just to try to get and keep horses attention better.

Anselcat
Aug. 18, 2009, 10:42 AM
Have you let her just take her time and check the deck out, first without the cat and then with the cat? She's young -- why not give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that it really is bothering her. Or every time you are leading her and see a cat, walk her to the cat either to sniff or to see that the cat moves away.

Saw this with a horse who was afraid of indoor mirrors. Riding by repeatedly -- he was still worried. Letting him leisurely check out each mirror, at his own pace, did the trick.

And before someone says this will teach the horse how to get out of work, I'm not suggesting doing this every time horsie flicks an ear at a flowerbox. Just suggesting as one tactic to use with the others suggested, depending on the situation and horse.

sid
Aug. 18, 2009, 11:15 AM
I agree with SLC2. Surely she will disensitize to the cat. She is focusing on the cat because it's more interesting than focusing on her work. Being "looky" can disappear when the horse starts concentrating on the work at hand. It could also be that you are anticipating her reactions so you lose your focus as well? Just a thought.

Foxhound
Aug. 18, 2009, 12:19 PM
I have also tried to tickle the inside rein to get her head back to the inside and she responds a little as we go past the cat but not much. Really leans on the inside shoulder when we have to go past the cat.

If your horse is ignoring your rein and leg to that extent, you need to do more than tickle.

kbbarn
Aug. 18, 2009, 01:08 PM
I do lunge her in the arena, some days cat is present and she does watch kitty but she stays on the circle. She does counter bend on the cat side though. I lunge her before we ride, both in round pen and then in the arena.

When I was untacking her last night, Ms Kitty was by the fence about 200 ft away. The mare just stared at her, would not take her eyes off the cat. It is a tad odd.

Have done leg yielding and such. The mare does have a lazy attitude so I do feel she is wanting to get out of work and whenever cat is present by arena, she has her excuse. I do make her work harder when she is being silly. I do ride with an instructor - Mare is just fine at instructors place ( indoor arena).

Liking the stuffed Toy cat idea.

xQHDQ
Aug. 19, 2009, 06:33 PM
Silly. But can you hold the cat for her to sniff? You outside with cat in your arms and mare in her stall so she can get away a little if she wants? Maybe if she see's her favorite person (you) with a cat she may realize they are okay. Just an idea.

My horse was terrified of miniature horses. For 3 months he would think about them even if they weren't there. Then one day, the youngest of them got into my horse's pasture where they got to meet on their own terms. After that, my horse was totally (and I mean mini chasing my horse while I'm riding) fine.

Good luck.

goeslikestink
Aug. 20, 2009, 05:48 AM
My 6 year old draft cross has started her dressage training ( started riding her when she was 5 yrs). My arena has a raised deck attached for spectators and this is where the 5 lb Siamese cat likes to hang out. My mare has a thing about cats - terrified of them. The barn cats walk through the barn - you would think that a Lion just came in if you watch how the mare re-acts! Anyhow, we are riding in the arena and because she is young, I want to do 20m circles, not 10m since smaller circles are require more strength and whatnot and she is not really there yet.

But since cat is hanging out on the deck, there is no way the mare will go near that side of the arena. I keep a fiirm outside rein with my inside leg on to push her to outside rein but she cranks her head to the outside anyway to stare at the threatening cat. Once past the cat, she is light and round. Come around to that side of the circle, she leans on the bit and is counter bent, shoulder leaning to the inside. I have also tried to tickle the inside rein to get her head back to the inside and she responds a little as we go past the cat but not much. Really leans on the inside shoulder when we have to go past the cat. This is very annoying in that she is so nice, light and round when no cat present. She is great at listening to my seat when nothing to distract. When cat on deck, she ignores my seat as well.

So tonight, while the cat was watching, we did 15m circles so that I could get some bend on the 'cat side' of the arena. She had to work harder but still fixated on the cat. I need training suggestions for the looky, spooky horse. Any ideas on training techniques when the 'chicken' horse wants to counter bend to stare at and not listen when going by the scary 5 lb creature?

the problem isnt so much as your horse as you--- its on your mind so it as a vibe
so that vibe is transmiited to the horses mind - as a scarey object - as a doubt
a doubt is a direct signal from you in a horses mind is a fear factor
horses have fear factors 1st is to flee the 2nd is to advade

shes advading the contact as you have instill a doubt in her mind -
so clear you mind and treat it as ignore - factor once you ignore it - then thats transmits to the horse to ignore it as they get there confidence from you the rider

your antispating her moves as in scared of cat-- so actually telling her to be more scared of cat type thing
so she will be scared of cat- whereby if you would just ignore and ride her in the normal way around the ring area then shes not scared as you have relaxed
the thing is sub conciously we can transmit our vibes to the horse easily as they have all there senses wheres we only use ours when one is missing - ie blind then we use taste and smell
ahorses has all its senses so if one has an apprehension of ooh no the cats in the areana -(-or any object you might need to pass in anywhere any time )
then thats transmits to the horse as OOOOOOH NO THE CATS IN THE AREANA -- HELP
HORSE BECOMES LOOOKY LOOKY SPOOKY

as you have instilled that thought pattern in there mind

egontoast
Aug. 20, 2009, 07:53 AM
Strap the cat to her back and throw her in the roundpen.

JOKE!:)

The cat is doing you a favour. Now you can work through this. I'd want the cat to be there all the time until the horse got over it. She will get over it if you just keep riding and not make a big deal of it. If you react too much it will get worse. It needs to become boring for her to see the cat around.

You could also lunge your horse at that end before riding if you think that might help.

twofatponies
Aug. 20, 2009, 07:54 AM
the problem isnt so much as your horse as you--- its on your mind so it as a vibe
so that vibe is transmiited to the horses mind - as a scarey object - as a doubt
a doubt is a direct signal from you in a horses mind is a fear factor
horses have fear factors 1st is to flee the 2nd is to advade

shes advading the contact as you have instill a doubt in her mind -
so clear you mind and treat it as ignore - factor once you ignore it - then thats transmits to the horse to ignore it as they get there confidence from you the rider

your antispating her moves as in scared of cat-- so actually telling her to be more scared of cat type thing
so she will be scared of cat- whereby if you would just ignore and ride her in the normal way around the ring area then shes not scared as you have relaxed
the thing is sub conciously we can transmit our vibes to the horse easily as they have all there senses wheres we only use ours when one is missing - ie blind then we use taste and smell
ahorses has all its senses so if one has an apprehension of ooh no the cats in the areana -(-or any object you might need to pass in anywhere any time )
then thats transmits to the horse as OOOOOOH NO THE CATS IN THE AREANA -- HELP
HORSE BECOMES LOOOKY LOOKY SPOOKY

as you have instilled that thought pattern in there mind

I think this is spot-on. Look where you want to go and make the horse look there too (ie she is not allowed to ignore leg or rein - half halt or shoulder fore before she starts looking at the cat, too.). Horses can feel tiny changes in the rider's tension and position - practically a thought - and respond to that. I find circling round or stopping to see the "spooky" thing is counterproductive with my horses - best to say "busy busy no time to look on we go hurry up now nothing to see here!"

cloudyandcallie
Aug. 20, 2009, 08:02 AM
I don't blame your mare. At the barn where I board, we had the best Chief Barn Cat (CBC) who terrorized some children and teens and adults and the other 2 barn cats with his "attacks." He would stroll into my 16.2 WB's stall, swat him on the nose, and either lie in the hay or get up in one of his windows to survey his kingdom. I loved that cat's attitude. Sadly, the CBC was killed in an accident at the barn (but not by a horse). He once jumped out at a teenager riding a horse in the ring.

You cat may have swatted your mare sometime when you weren't there.

If you have any friends with kittens, you might try desensitising your horse with a kitten. Or just move your cat each time you want to ride.

Robyn
Aug. 20, 2009, 11:58 AM
What GLS said. You are anticipating your mare's reaction and she is sensing your anticipation. Or something like that :) I have a similar problem - with myself. I ride outdoors and we have a white barn cat who lays on the mounting block or perches on top of the fence and swipes at us when we go by. It does NOT scare my horse anymore but he can't help but focus on that damn cat. Because I let him. Yesterday we had a major spook when said cat dashed out of the woods but that I can understand. I need to work on me and my concerns about what will concern HIM. My problem.

But I think it would be easier to fix a "horse" problem than a "me" problem!

Icecapade
Aug. 20, 2009, 12:26 PM
Or just move your cat each time you want to ride.

gawd no

Sorry there are a lot of solutions, but moving the problem around the horse instead of moving the horse around the problem is just terrible.

Its an issue like any things else, plastic bags, trash cans big rocks, flower pots, judges tents... you can't move all those things every time you go ride. Desensitize how you would with anything else and move on. People make way more out of things than the horse does usually.

sid
Aug. 20, 2009, 07:03 PM
Unless a horse has been habitually traumatized by something they cannot flee from, and has acquired a bonafide 'phobia" it can be desensitized to whateven stimulus seems to be causing the owne/rider "problems".

I think the owner is more concerned about the horse being concerned about the cat than the horse really is...run on sentence, but you get the gist.;)

OP, "paint a picture" of the picture of the way you want it to be with you and your horse in any situation. Leave your fear at the door.

Best advice I was ever given, especially when I was bringing up young stallion. It's human mental thing.

alicen
Aug. 20, 2009, 07:51 PM
I must ask, do these demon cats have smirks on their faces?

slc2
Aug. 20, 2009, 07:54 PM
The moment you believe the horse is afraid of the cat and start nursing her thru it, is when you lose the horse.

sid
Aug. 20, 2009, 08:22 PM
So true, SLC, "nursing" a horse through the owner's reality of the horse's percieved or real fear, is a fine line to walk to determine in which venue the behaviour is really based.

In this case (and in most cases working with "problem" horses and their owners/riders), I think the OP's concern/anxiety may be feeding into the horse's silliness and natural delight in reacting to something else, other than the training and the aid and the work at hand.

Mirror image. And owner/rider's perception of "fear" is sometime not really fear in the horse...just the fear in the rider, coupled with finding an evasion from the work at hand.

Not sure if I'm articulating this very well..and surely, no offense to the owner.

It's just the way it is with horses..especially the smart ones..;)

AnotherRound
Aug. 20, 2009, 08:53 PM
Sid, I have to agree, and you did say it well. I wouldn't "go there" with a horse acting up about a cat. Even if he was, once, genuinely startled by a cat, he doesn't get to act up about it. Get over it, move on, would be my attitude towards the horse. If he really did dance around about it, there might be some level of desensitisation, but brief. I mean, come on. Its a cat. The horse has to be able to live in a mammal filled world.

Just because we can create convoluted reasoning about things doesn't mean the horse is anywhere near thinking the same way.

sid
Aug. 20, 2009, 09:18 PM
AR - exactly. You articulated what I was trying to share IME better -- in one line -- that it took me 3 or 4 paragraphs to try to explain. :winkgrin:

goeslikestink
Aug. 20, 2009, 09:52 PM
AR - exactly. You articulated what I was trying to share IME better -- in one line -- that it took me 3 or 4 paragraphs to try to explain. :winkgrin:

me to so not alone

goeslikestink
Aug. 20, 2009, 09:53 PM
maybe its because hes a cheshire cat-- and they have big TEETH AND A WIDE GRIN LOL

Carol Ames
Aug. 20, 2009, 10:04 PM
bend, Work bend, counterbend :eek:exercises, change rein through the counter bend;:yes: leg yield in and then back out on the circle ;)frequent transitions walk to trot to walk to halt, etc.

Carol Ames
Aug. 20, 2009, 10:33 PM
desensitizing the horse to ;) the cat should be fairly easy:yes: unless:winkgrin:, cat has habit of jumping onto :eek:horse, either down :yes: from railing :no:or side wall; or "up :yes:from ground

slc2
Aug. 20, 2009, 10:40 PM
But this is the problem. When a horse spooks at something he has seen a hundred times, he is not afraid of it. He is not really spooking - he is indicating that he is tight and short in his neck and back, he is not reacing for the bit, forward and loose.

It has nothing to do with fear. The horse acts inordinately sensitive to his environment because he is not going forward and loose in his back and neck. Just stop saying the horse is afraid of the cat. Work the horse so he is looser in his neck and more forward. The 'cat fear' will disappear. miracle.

Once I watched a horse go by a mounting block that it had seen for 2 years, and spook every single time. Oh, says the owner, the poor horse is terrified of the mounting block. So what are you going to say there? That the mounting block traumatized the horse? Leaped up and bit it? Somebody beat it with a mounting block for 10 years?

It's just not a rational explanation for what's happening.

The other 'factoid' in figuring this out is that prior to being ridden with that instructor, the horse had not shown the slightest fear of a mounting block for 2 years, since the first day it was broke.

Think it through.

The thing is, horses see cats all the time.

Horses are not afraid of cats.

They get stiff and tight in their topline, and they start reacting in weird, neurotic ways to things in their environment that they have seen thousands of times. If yu want to put it in old fashioned terms, the horse can't think straight when his back and neck are tight.

Basically, the tension in the back and neck puts tension in the horse's mind.

In simpler terms, there is no dividing line between the horse's body and his mind. People have frontal lobes in the brain, the horse does not. His movement, how he moves, how his muscles operate, IS his thinking. There is no dividing line.

The way you train horses is by discarding the ideas you have in your head. It's as simple as that. You change your thinking, and you start solving the problem. Work your horse into the bridle, with a loose, supple connection, and stop thinking about the cat.

egontoast
Aug. 21, 2009, 05:56 AM
To the OP-You might check out the 'spooky dressage horse' thread. A lot of the same sort of advice is repeated there.

Robyn
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:04 AM
[quote=slc2;4320741]The way you train horses is by discarding the ideas you have in your head. It's as simple as that.

Indeed. But there is nothing "simple" about that. Unfortunately.

slc2
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:09 AM
No, it is very simple. It just isn't easy. Too often we assume 'simple' and 'easy' mean the same thing; they don't. What people do wrong in training and riding is very simple, fixing it, changing how they think and behave toward their horse is what's 'hard'. People, even more than horses, hang on to a 'habit of thinking'. Especially for over-intellectualizing people, 'simple' is about the LAST thing they will accept. Instructors say it takes twice as long to train a rider as it takes to train a horse...some say 3 times, lol.

What people do, is they assume horses think and behave like people. That is very simple, and that is where people start to go wrong. The next thing people do is they don't get a decent instructor. Or if they do, they don't listen to them. They don't like the answer they get, so they come to the internet for an 'alternate explanation' that is more palatable, and fits in with their 'horses think and behave like people' error.

plowpony
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:27 AM
Just wanted to add that my draft cross mare can be very spooky of many things. She is very sensitive to changes in her everyday environment, like if something around the arena moves to a new position, or whatever.

Luckily, maybe because she is drafty, she just snorts a lot, and plants her feet. This is safer, than bucking/rearing/bolting, but certainly still frustrating.

It is my opinion that my horse is truly afraid. If I get after her, or try to just make her go to work, well, the tension is still there, and can turn into a bit of a battle, and that can go nowhere with such a powerful, tense horse.

I would start on the ground, teaching your horse to calmly go to the cat, or whatever the spooky thing is, then rewarding. I use the verbal command, "touch", and then reward with a pat, or food (yes, I know that is controversial, but works for us). Once the scarey thing is associated with a reward, your horse may go looking for the cat, in a relaxed manner, within which you can do some nice dressage work.

You may also want to have your horse's eyes checked by a vet who really knows eye issues.

Know that the spooky tendencies are what would make your horse survive well in the wild. My draft cross is so tough in her body, but her mind is equally as tough. She is going to take care of herself, no doubt.

Good luck!

egontoast
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:38 AM
I would start on the ground, teaching your horse to calmly go to the cat, or whatever the spooky thing is, then rewarding. I use the verbal command, "touch", and then reward with a pat, or food (yes, I know that is controversial, but works for us). Once the scarey thing is associated with a reward, your horse may go looking for the cat, in a relaxed manner, within which you can do some nice dressage work.



Oh lord.

Icecapade
Aug. 21, 2009, 10:11 AM
Oh lord.

well... there is some good stuff there... my horse loves plastic bags... why? cause for 4-5 years any 'snack' he was given was given out of a plastic bag or the grain bag itself. So we have a propensity to be more forward 'OH FOOD!' reaction toward plastic bags than to run from them...

but I have a humours image of a drafty running around 'touching' cats... he he he that could be fun stuff at a show. I'm going to continue to entertain that thought for a few hours whilst I'm at work bored.

quietann
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:54 AM
It is my opinion that my horse is truly afraid. If I get after her, or try to just make her go to work, well, the tension is still there, and can turn into a bit of a battle, and that can go nowhere with such a powerful, tense horse.


One of the things I have had to learn w/maresy is to differentiate when she is truly afraid and when she's just being silly. Now I am not the best rider in the world, and sure sometimes when she spooks it's partially because I don't have her fully engaged --- we are working on it! But getting into a battle with her when she is genuinely frightened is going to end badly; she *remembers* bad events and pushing her hard can lead to a huge backslide. It's been very good for my general horsemanship to learn the difference between angry and forceful (bad) and assertive while patient (good.)

At our first recognized show, there was a door from the indoor to the stabling area at E, and as far as she was concerned, there were monsters there. Of course I was tense about it too (having seen her attitude towards it from the ground), and we fed off each other... and ended up with a lot of trouble every time we came to E. For the second test, because we were allowed in the ring before the test, I took her right over there and she had a bit of a tantrum, and eventually, when she'd half-reared, backed up, half-reared, and was threatening to explode, I tapped her *once* with the whip. She bucked huge from a standstill -- I think she really wanted to dump me, but she did not succeed -- but after that she went forward and was better about "E". Not perfect or even *good* until the very last time we passed E in the test (Training 2), but we got there, and that was enough for me. If nothing else, she has taught me patience, and I couldn't get mad at her for those scores in the low 50% range... In fact those were very good scores under the circumstances.

I know I am guilty of thinking that anyone who's a better rider than me will get instant obedience from a horse... but I've watched enough riders to know that even the best can get into trouble, and problems do not get solved instantly.



You may also want to have your horse's eyes checked by a vet who really knows eye issues.


The vision thing is important... Had a friend who got very frustrated with her eventer because he was super difficult about water and ditches, and some brightly colored jumps. With a lot of urging, he could be convinced to walk into water, but it was not easy. Finally she got a vet out and they discovered that the horse is partially blind in his right eye, and that makes certain types of things very worrisome to him. Beating him over it wasn't going to help; nor was sending him to a *really good* trainer (she tried that.) So he "flunked out" of eventing at Training Level, where obstacles like jumping over something into water are more common. And I know that my mare is more likely to blow up at something scary if her left eye is towards it; she probably has some vision issues though nothing really "vets out" there.

kbbarn
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:15 PM
Thanks for all the info and suggestions. I agree with many. I do not think I anticipate Ms. Mare to be spooky of the cat. I am a fairly brave rider and like to get the job done. That may be my problem - I expect too much. The last cat incident, we were doing 20 meter egged shaped circles ( still working on roundness and being soft) when the mare bolted because of cat jumping onto deck chair. She about took us into the fence but I then had her head pulled around before she got there. First time - I was like - okay, scary cat, moving on. The second time that same ride she did it when the cat jumped off the chair - well that just made me cranky and the mare got to work much harder. Want to be silly = more work.

The mare is a dream on the ground and yes, I do ground work with her. I do think she is unbalanced when a rider gets on so working on that. She does not move foward well, so do need to work on those things.

I saw the spooky dressage horse thread and learned some more from that. All my other horses are so willing ( thoroughbreds) and foward that the baulking, slow drafty is a test of my patience. But with her energy that she shows on the ground/on-line, I know she can be nice. Just need to convince her that riding is good. I would prefer she slam on the brakes and stare at kitty rather than the bolt ( the only time she does show a lot of fowardness)!

kbbarn
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:20 PM
Forgot to add - there may be eye problems. About once a week, one eye will be somewhat swollen. She tends to bonk her head into things. Also, if windy, both eyes swell - allergies? She must have her fly mask on during the summer since flies will also cause problems. A year ago I told my hubby that I had a feeling that she may have some sight issues - he thought I was nuts. But now with the cat thing and cranky wife, he is starting to agree.

Will be bringing the vet out so may have him take a look

AnotherRound
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:43 PM
If the eye(s) is/are runny and/or swollen, you are probably dealing with a conjunctivitis - its a virus, crops up frequently and causes the blood vessels to multiply and harden, and they lose their sight. Very serious and needs immediate treatment as soon as it flares up. Once they have it they have it forever, like herpes, and you must treat it. Basically you are given somethign, forget what it is,to dilate the pupil so when the blood vessles form, which eventually freeze the pupil close, at least the pupil is frozen open. They become sensitive to the light, but their sight can be saved a bit more. Its unfortunate you have not contacted the vet about this. There can be alot of damage done untreated.

kbbarn
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:48 PM
Vet coming out for eye exam, just chatted with him

AnotherRound
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:57 PM
OMG - This is what happens when you anthropomorphosize your horses - you fail to address the real issue, and miss symptoms of what is truly going on with the animal and treat it all because your fantasy life supposed a human emotion in an animal incapable of that kind of thought process. She is not seeing. That is the observation to make and the vet can examine to find out why. Her responses are very typical of a horse that can't see. She's not trying to get out of work, she's not upset because she didn't get a scratch behind her ears, she's not afraid of cats. She's not seeing. when you're on the ground at her side, you are touching her and she can see enough of you to know what you are doing and where you are, but up on her back, she's responsible for where she moves, and sudden appearance into what vision she has of something which wasn't there before causes the startle. She almost ran into a jump standard. You got distracted with the idea "afraid of cats" and failed to see she doesn't trust her place in the environment. That's what's important about not anthropomorphosizing your animals.

goeslikestink
Aug. 21, 2009, 03:23 PM
op------- get on your horse and ride him - as in sit in push him past the cat and get on and ride your horse
i will add this to a horse with a vision problem doesnt spook as much as you think
my horse ossy is blind has being going blind since 4mths old i have 10 cats and when i go up the top yard or out on the roads there cats there dogs there allsorts and heavy traffic
god if i let him tell me he afraid of a big puss then i am the wuss

any horse spook vision impaired or not --------- but its if you let them
so get on your horse the cat issue isnt the iusse with your horse but with yourself
its cat for god sake
try a big army tank- or guns going off or low flying jets or abird flying out of the bushes
or a phesant or whatever
tell you what come to uk - cat be nothing to you

say oik horse its a cat sit in and push pass the thing - only got to do it once and mean it
dont tell me its ginger and the horse thinks its a lion------

or ok -- you are the horse -- and the horse is the rider == what you going to do next it would be run -- like i said 1st is to flee 2nd is to advade you - so ride your horse and dont let him be boss

egontoast
Aug. 21, 2009, 03:49 PM
Forgot to add - there may be eye problems. About once a week, one eye will be somewhat swollen. She tends to bonk her head into things. Also, if windy, both eyes swell - allergies? She must have her fly mask on during the summer since flies will also cause problems

It's very good that you are getting the vet out. What you described needs to be checked out asap. Could be uveitis aka moon blindness.

kbbarn
Aug. 21, 2009, 04:50 PM
Thanks to all. Posting this did help and got me thinking openly ( rather than just in my head). She does well in the round pen ( without any touching from me but far away from me) and does not act spooky in pen but will only jump if the cat comes over. If I pick the cat up, she calms. (I also lunge her without a line so she has no contact with me or the rope. Does fine without guidance). She runs around fine in the pasture and avoids obsticles so the one poster's thoughts about the horse being blind - I do not feel is entirely accurate although I will not rule out a developing condition. The arena is a bit away from the barn so spookiness could due to being away from barn.

Never any discharge from eyes and she has no problem seeing a human coming or other horse buddies. nothing else bothers her- blowing bags are fine, in fact if one blows into stall, you have to hurry and grab it otherwise it is her new play toy. She finds her ball well and plays with that thus a serious eye problem is doubtful but it is good to get it checked out. She likes to rub her face on the stall panels thus bonks herself. She likes to try to grab and bite her stall neighbors so I am sure they may head butt her at times.

slc2
Aug. 21, 2009, 05:31 PM
What would be your rationale for why your horse 'calms' when you pick up the cat?eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

egontoast
Aug. 21, 2009, 06:48 PM
What would be your rationale for why your horse 'calms' when you pick up the cat?eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee



Reminds me of Xena for some reason .

AIEEEEEEEEEEEE. Put down that cat!

Carol Ames
Aug. 22, 2009, 09:42 PM
I would put a TTEAM/ TTOUCH labyrinth in that:yes: area; first lead the horse through in hand:yes:; then ride her:yes: through; I have found that horses and riders tend to focus better and learn more easily when they go through the labyrinth; I had it on the ground whenever I was riding green/ young horses also when teaching younger riders; it seems to help "confirm" whatever they have just learned/ :yes::cool: experienced; I believe that it was used it when working with :cool:Rembrandt; check the TTEAM for dressage horses vide:yes:o

Carol Ames
Aug. 22, 2009, 09:45 PM
Are you breathing :confused:as you ride through that corner?

goeslikestink
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:53 PM
Are you breathing :confused:as you ride through that corner?

lol

Bogey2
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:07 PM
slc, what's with all the e's?


OP. send me the cat if you are still having problems. I think the cat is the problem not the horse...I will clicker train it along with some Parelli stuff and then send it back all trained. Problem solved:lol:

egontoast
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:17 PM
Have you ever tried to roundpen a cat, bogey2?

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

Bogey2
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:24 PM
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeggy, I don't need a round pen...just a mouse on a stick and a clicker! I am about to market my ideas so I can't reveal too much.

egontoast
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:34 PM
Yeees, don't beeeeee opeeeeening theeeeee

oldeee Keeeeeemoano preeeecipitousleeee

sid
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:37 PM
:lol::lol::lol:

xQHDQ
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:05 PM
Just getting back to the eye problem...

A barn is a lot darker than an outdoor ring. She may see fine in the barn but have trouble in the bright day light. The cat jumping on and off the chair is movement, which may be what she's reacting to - not the actual cat.

Did I miss what your vet said about her eyes?

Good luck.

kbbarn
Aug. 26, 2009, 04:07 PM
Vet out. Her eyes are 100% healthy and normal. And she was a doll for the vet. Such a sweety and very polite.

Here is the best part - I have her turned out in the arena the other day. She stood by the scary side and did not even flinch when the cat jumping into her favorite chair. Maybe I made progress that day she bolted with me?

I guess drafty has no more excuses except for when I do something wrong!

Love reading about the cat ideas - I want in!

goeslikestink
Aug. 26, 2009, 04:58 PM
Vet out. Her eyes are 100% healthy and normal. And she was a doll for the vet. Such a sweety and very polite.

Here is the best part - I have her turned out in the arena the other day. She stood by the scary side and did not even flinch when the cat jumping into her favorite chair. Maybe I made progress that day she bolted with me?

I guess drafty has no more excuses except for when I do something wrong!

Love reading about the cat ideas - I want in!

just ignore the horse and the cat and get on and ride her

goeslikestink
Aug. 26, 2009, 05:02 PM
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeggy, I don't need a round pen...just a mouse on a stick and a clicker! I am about to market my ideas so I can't reveal too much.

books and dvd cds and of course yourtube --- your in with a winner lol

mate you will do well with it - when its come back on here posted by others
and quoted

Bogey2
Aug. 26, 2009, 06:27 PM
Love reading about the cat ideas - I want in!

stock options will be available in 2010:winkgrin:

sid
Aug. 26, 2009, 10:08 PM
Clearly the cat is not your horses problem...it's your problem. Horses can appear to "invent" fear when their is none, when the rider rider/owner fears and ANTICIPATES it. Not to be disrespectful, but I think you need to "detach" yourself a bit from your horse from a human emotional standpoint.

BTW, the breed does not matter. On the Up side, it sounds to me like your horse is very "tuned" to you. That's a great thing. Good for you in achieving this connection.

If you can channel that bond toward your riding goals, the cat should no longer be a reason for not getting what you want from your horse. Don't defer to your horse. It's obviously connected to your emotions and anthromorpic nature.