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candyappy
May. 20, 2011, 03:14 PM
My appaloosa mare is 6 1/2 years old and I have been riding her since she turned 4. We just did open field riding and she has always been very good. We moved here to MN in Sept. Our neighbor owns 100's of acres of farm ground around us and lets my daughter and I ride on it ( When Not Planted). So, said fields are now planted and if I want to ride we must go on the roads. We live on a state paved highway. Much traffic and lots of big rigs. Well, I lunged her good and my daughter and I set out. We have been on the road about 6 times maybe. At first it was the cars that seemed to bother her a bit. Yesterday ( a beautiful day) We set out and at the corner where there is a wooded patch, there was a MAN walking around in it and a big sprayer truck there too. She couldn't seem to get over that. We did get to the corner and then she wouldn't step over the white line painted on the road. She whirled around, collided with a plastic sign advertising plants for sale, spooked at the plastic sign she just hit ( i am kind of falling off at this point??) and turns the other way sharply and hits the stop sign ( with my head) I am now wondering where all these*#@%%$**&^%$# signs came from?? The man in the woods is watching the show and my daughter on her little "good as gold" appy mare is just waiting. Somehow I am still on and get her across the road. We spook at the monster trash bag and several more signs before heading down the road. The great news is that the traffic was no problem!!! We walked and trotted and had a nice ride. I am not the rider I was 20 years ago ( when this episode would have been fun and challenging) but I am hoping it will make me a better rider than I have been lately and that she will improve on the roads, because that is the only place to ride until harvest......

DianeS
May. 21, 2011, 12:57 PM
Good job staying with it! Sounds like she just needs lots and lots of wet saddle blankets down the road.
I started my appy down the road just leading her she was so bad, spooked at everything, even her own shadow. Now she is just fine!

jeano
May. 21, 2011, 01:27 PM
I have a been there done that trail broke mare who likes to have fun PRETENDING to spook at road and trail boogers. I've ridden her literally next to bulldozers at work, railroad trains, road graders, ATVs, all manner of horrible roaring machinery and the worst hazard of all was a fellow coming down the road, walking, carrying about a half dozen strips of vinyl siding about 12 feet long. The horses knew it was Armageddon. There's always something. The other day it was a solitary pinecone, today a whole bunch of pinecones had Sadie convinced they were all IED's and she was a Bradley vehicle... Cars she could care less about. Today I heard a lizard scurry and flinched and she followed suit--at that point I busted out laughing and realized a lot of the time its Me, Not Her. I've had her six years, she is now twelve, and I doubt if she's really been afraid of anything for about 5 of those 6 years.

Equibrit
May. 21, 2011, 02:09 PM
We used to go around the edges of planted fields.

candyappy
May. 21, 2011, 02:47 PM
Seems as we get older/ married/ have kids the " wet saddle blankets" are harder to do. Before I was married my horses were rode hard all the time. Now i do try to ride 5-6 days a week but it isn't like I used to.

Equibrit-- He doesn't leave enough room after planting !! My FIL used to leave me a wide grassy path all the way around his corn field....

At least the roads here have wide, flat ,sandy shoulders and grass past that if I need to get really far from something coming. I am dreading the day we encounter one of the many amish who zoom down the roads with their buggies.

Snowdenfarm
May. 22, 2011, 08:21 AM
I have a mare who is not afraid of almost any object, but shies at anything if she is tense. That tenseness is virtually always due to being in a situation even slightly out of her norm or comfort zone. Like leaving her pasture mate or the two of them going off the property. Like you, I am not the same rider I was 20 years ago. What I have found hugely helpful is Dr. Deb Bennett's Birdie Book. Her main principle is that to the extent that the horses's "birdie" (attention or desire) is somewhere other than you (in this case back on your property), he will exhibit dangerous behavior. She also has a CD on Mannering that gives step by step instructions on getting and holding the horse's attention. Dr. Deb, especially in the Birdie Book, can get a little out there, but she believes your horse has to be "totally ok inside" before you do anything with him. The older I get, the more I want that, too! BTW, be careful on the pavement and wear a helmet -- I shattered my shoulder, elbow, knee and foot when my horse fell with me on pavement at a walk 18 months ago, but while my helmet was dented I didn't even have a headache!

katyb
May. 22, 2011, 09:11 AM
Can you pony her until she calms down a bit? I love ponying - good solution to "needs experience" added with "I'm kind of old".

My never spooks mare spooked BIG at a squirrel yesterday. Both horses were really looky right before, so I think she was smelling and/or hearing something other than squirrel, and when the squirrel jumped out, she did a sideways teleport....the first one in 6 1/2 years, lol. I stayed on, so it was mostly funny.

candyappy
May. 23, 2011, 04:10 PM
When I had a horse to do it on I would pony all my greenies.
She is the only horse I have to ride. I have a " green as grass" mule and my daughters mare is too small for my 5'9 legs, so ponying is out. Anyways, we will keep plugging along. She is really a good girl and It doesn't scare me if she is spooky a bit. She gives me plenty of warning and I am not opposed to getting off and walking if needed.

AliCat518
May. 23, 2011, 04:25 PM
WOW! Good job staying on. For some reason, your story made me laugh a little. The way you told it was fantastic. :)

candyappy
May. 26, 2011, 03:09 PM
A sense of humor is a MUST with horses, don't ya think?? :-)

pAin't_Misbehavin'
May. 26, 2011, 07:37 PM
Equibrit-- He doesn't leave enough room after planting !! My FIL used to leave me a wide grassy path all the way around his corn field....
.

I know, right? My friend and I were just bemoaning how used to farmers left a tractor/truck path all around the fields, but now they farm right up to the ditches.

It's the only consolation during years my tenants put me in tobacco. You have hands in your yard all year (topping, suckering, cropping, etc) but they have to leave a nice road for the drag all the way round the fields.:)

I lol'd at your description of ricocheting off the signs. Been there.:yes:

gingerbread
Jun. 21, 2011, 11:15 PM
Sorry you had such a time! but each time you go out, your horse will get a little more used to things. Have your daughter's horse nearby to show her the desired attitude.
You just have to desensitize her, ride by ride, no way past this. See it as a temporary learning phase.

Bought my mare at 3---hadn't been riding much for many years before I got her and, having no trailer, had to ride on the road to any trails.
Had some of the same experiences as you describe with almost everything she saw(also with signs--now I ask her to march up to signs and touch them with her nose. She seems to enjoy it!). She just had to get used to things, and, as a smart and reasonably sensible mare, she has, despite her Arabian mind-set.(i.e--I accept that she'll never be completely spook-free, as a hotblooded breed--but she does really well within those parameters; I just have to be a centered rider and alert to what might potentially be scary to a fine-tuned horse. She usually "spooks in place"---for example--starts to jump and stops herself immediately, thinking "oh! that was just some dumb chipmunk, I know that")

I never hesitate to get off if I feel she might be too scared to listen to me. Leading past scary objects--the first time anyway, if there is real fear-- can be safer for you,and is better than avoiding these things. Your horse may think"if she's not afraid to go first, I guess it is ok" Also, if some giant rumbling piece of machinery goes past(or silent bicycles!) standing still and facing it--mounted or dismounted--can help maintain calm and control.

My young mare has become ok with many things just through repetition.

But, I admit I still get tense when motorcycles roar by and she reacts by dancing around.
Can anyone tell me how I can cure myself of this?

minuspride
Jun. 22, 2011, 10:00 AM
I have a young Paint mare...very curious but only off the farm once before I got her.
So far, I've been expanding the places that we go. I didn't try for the whole road ride I wanted in one day. I took her down the road about fifty feet, turned around, and came back. I made sure her attention was on me before we turned around, and she hasn't tried to speed up her pace yet on the way back.
She was very curious, and looky, but not spooky. As the days go on, we gradually increase the length of road we ride. It seems to work for her, but she's not really prone to spooking often.

Guilherme
Jun. 22, 2011, 10:09 AM
Start by riding with a buddy on a dead-broke road horse. Let the "calm" of the broke horse help calm the greenie. This is using the "herd instinct" as an ally vice an enemy. :)

Indeed if you can ride with a group of broke horses that works even better. Then you can drop to a single companion, then work "solo."

Of course with a greenie you've got to make sure you always have a strong seat and don't get distracted yourself. Keep the horse's attention on you and they won't have time to worry about other things.

Good luck with your program.

G.

cowboymom
Jun. 22, 2011, 10:38 AM
My appaloosa mare is 6 1/2 years old and I have been riding her since she turned 4. We just did open field riding and she has always been very good. We moved here to MN in Sept. Our neighbor owns 100's of acres of farm ground around us and lets my daughter and I ride on it ( When Not Planted). So, said fields are now planted and if I want to ride we must go on the roads. We live on a state paved highway. Much traffic and lots of big rigs. Well, I lunged her good and my daughter and I set out. We have been on the road about 6 times maybe. At first it was the cars that seemed to bother her a bit. Yesterday ( a beautiful day) We set out and at the corner where there is a wooded patch, there was a MAN walking around in it and a big sprayer truck there too. She couldn't seem to get over that. We did get to the corner and then she wouldn't step over the white line painted on the road. She whirled around, collided with a plastic sign advertising plants for sale, spooked at the plastic sign she just hit ( i am kind of falling off at this point??) and turns the other way sharply and hits the stop sign ( with my head) I am now wondering where all these*#@%%$**&^%$# signs came from?? The man in the woods is watching the show and my daughter on her little "good as gold" appy mare is just waiting. Somehow I am still on and get her across the road. We spook at the monster trash bag and several more signs before heading down the road. The great news is that the traffic was no problem!!! We walked and trotted and had a nice ride. I am not the rider I was 20 years ago ( when this episode would have been fun and challenging) but I am hoping it will make me a better rider than I have been lately and that she will improve on the roads, because that is the only place to ride until harvest......

:lol::lol:

I don't have anything to add to what everyone else said but that made me laugh!

GallopingGrape
Jun. 22, 2011, 12:43 PM
Be careful! An 11yr old girl and her horse died a few days ago... in Stafford VA. Girl and horse were hit by a car.... so unbelievabely sad. Please be careful.

candyappy
Jun. 22, 2011, 02:21 PM
I am very careful and if I hear a car and think she may react, or if she is acting like something is bothering her I get her way off into the grassy area. It is amazing how many drivers don't even slow down when they see a rider. A lot get over to the other side ( i am grateful) . After being on vacation for 2 weeks we attempted another ride. It didn't go as well as I would have liked, but I have all the time in the world and we take it one day ( ride ) at a time.

Kyzteke
Jun. 22, 2011, 08:31 PM
I am very careful and if I hear a car and think she may react, or if she is acting like something is bothering her I get her way off into the grassy area. It is amazing how many drivers don't even slow down when they see a rider. A lot get over to the other side ( i am grateful) . After being on vacation for 2 weeks we attempted another ride. It didn't go as well as I would have liked, but I have all the time in the world and we take it one day ( ride ) at a time.

I'm sorry, but that mare isn't ready for this sort of ride. And I beg to differ about the "careful" part -- you almost fell off on a busy highway -- how is that careful?

Although your comment about the signs made me laugh as well, if she'd knocked you off as a tractor-trailer was coming, it would not have been very funny at all...:no:

If you can fit on her, I would ride your daughter's horse or borrow another dead broke horse and pony your mare. Over and over and over again.

And of course do enough arena work so that you truly do have control of your horse -- so she is instantly responsive to aids.

Stay safe!

candyappy
Jun. 24, 2011, 02:51 PM
I'm sorry, but that mare isn't ready for this sort of ride. And I beg to differ about the "careful" part -- you almost fell off on a busy highway -- how is that careful?

Although your comment about the signs made me laugh as well, if she'd knocked you off as a tractor-trailer was coming, it would not have been very funny at all...:no:

If you can fit on her, I would ride your daughter's horse or borrow another dead broke horse and pony your mare. Over and over and over again.

And of course do enough arena work so that you truly do have control of your horse -- so she is instantly responsive to aids.

Stay safe!



I think she is ready enough and I can arena ride her till she is 20 and nothing will be different when we encounter things that might scare her out of the arena and out on the road. There are cars and trucks on our road, but it isn't constant and at the time of the spooking ( at signs)there was no car in sight . No rider is immune from falling off and although we would like to pick and choose the time and place should a fall occur, I haven't seen it done yet. I am hoping once we can get our hay cut I will be able to ride and school her in that field which is along side the road and help to desensitize her a bit and work her hard. I think part of the problem is that I have nowhere to ride her hard now and I can only lunge so long.... I appreciate your concern and believe me I want nothing more than for her and I to stay safe and sound.

Kyzteke
Jun. 24, 2011, 03:46 PM
I think she is ready enough and I can arena ride her till she is 20 and nothing will be different when we encounter things that might scare her out of the arena and out on the road.

Actually this really isn't true. You can't lunge the spook o/o a horse either. All you do is make them fitter and fitter and fitter.

If a horse is truly responsive to your aids you can ask them to focus on something else other than "the spooky thing" and it helps a great deal.

Their confidence in your leadership "trumps" the spooky thing.

I ride my Arab mare (hot triple-bred Bask gal) in an area where we have double-trailer logging trucks, freight trains, RVs, etc. within 20-30 feet of us (or closer....the logging trucks are usually just 10 ft away) and she's fine (although the occasional odd-shaped rock makes her kinda looky, but then she IS an Arab :winkgrin:).

I got her that way by doing 6 mos of ground work on her before I ever sat on her ('cause I'm old, fat, cowardly and I break easily:lol:), ponying her (off a bicycle no less) through lots of suburban residentical areas and taking her to several clinics where she was exposed to lots & lots of scary stuff.

It's NOT to get her used to all the scary stuff she might some day be exposed to, (you just can't do that), but instead it's to teach the horse to look to you, the rider/human for verification as to the actual threat to them when they see something that bothers them.

Does that make sense?

And yes, we CAN pick where we are going to fall off to some degree...if we think we are going to ride a horse that might dump us, ride where dumping will not be a tragedy till we are pretty sure said dumping will not occur ;).

Taking a horse on a busy highway when she is obviously frightened and spooky and you don't have much control is just asking for trouble IMHO...

candyappy
Jun. 27, 2011, 03:33 PM
All your replies make perfect sense. I am not too sure that using a bicycle in a residential area ( or anywhere) to pony a horse is advisable..... Most of my riding with her in the fields was what I would do in an arena. She isn't a total goof and her thing is to stop and look and sometimes turn around. If I let her look for a minute ( not try to make her go forward) she will calm quickly and go forward, if i were to kick and force then she gets upset/ hot. I don't have an arena and my mare needs hard work at least 5-6 days a week because she has energy to burn and I just don't have a place to do that until my hay field is cut. I am not making excuses, I just know that with exposure she will get better.I raised her and she has had tons of groundwork and is easy to handle and respectful and has a good mind. I know her very well. I am in my 40's and have no desire to get an injury or be dumped. If she was out of control I wouldn't ride her.

I guess we see training differently in some respects and I think you have to take them out of their comfort zone and see what you need to work on. Riding in the same area day after day doesn't accomplish that. I know now she needs some more field work( hard work) and then we will venture out again and see how she does.

I guess we can pick where we will fall if we only ride in certain places!!

coymackerel
Jun. 30, 2011, 11:47 PM
I will use treats to reward good work. Stash a couple peppermints in your pocket and give her one when she's followed your lead and been brave. I would follow tje advice of others and break this challenge into smaller pieces - walk it a few times in hand, then ride a chunk up and back, then upand back twice... build her confidence through exposure.

Calamber
Jul. 2, 2011, 01:45 AM
Sorry you had such a time! but each time you go out, your horse will get a little more used to things. Have your daughter's horse nearby to show her the desired attitude.
You just have to desensitize her, ride by ride, no way past this. See it as a temporary learning phase.

Bought my mare at 3---hadn't been riding much for many years before I got her and, having no trailer, had to ride on the road to any trails.
Had some of the same experiences as you describe with almost everything she saw(also with signs--now I ask her to march up to signs and touch them with her nose. She seems to enjoy it!). She just had to get used to things, and, as a smart and reasonably sensible mare, she has, despite her Arabian mind-set.(i.e--I accept that she'll never be completely spook-free, as a hotblooded breed--but she does really well within those parameters; I just have to be a centered rider and alert to what might potentially be scary to a fine-tuned horse. She usually "spooks in place"---for example--starts to jump and stops herself immediately, thinking "oh! that was just some dumb chipmunk, I know that")

I never hesitate to get off if I feel she might be too scared to listen to me. Leading past scary objects--the first time anyway, if there is real fear-- can be safer for you,and is better than avoiding these things. Your horse may think"if she's not afraid to go first, I guess it is ok" Also, if some giant rumbling piece of machinery goes past(or silent bicycles!) standing still and facing it--mounted or dismounted--can help maintain calm and control.

My young mare has become ok with many things just through repetition.

But, I admit I still get tense when motorcycles roar by and she reacts by dancing around.
Can anyone tell me how I can cure myself of this?

Singing...seriously, loud, something you love and that calms and distracts, laughing always helps to keep from tensing up which pretty much seals your doom in the calming horse department. Shaky hands cannot help but unnerve an already shaky beast. I know this sounds corny but repeating to yourself if you have time is we can get through this, we can get through this, I have faith in you, you jugheaded son or daughter of a %#@!. All else fails, bail and walk., have a halter and a lead rope looped around the neck and properly tied to have a handle and so that you have a better way of leading than just with reins, (I ride with a grab strap on an English saddle) and will start using that method with the lead rope for riding on roads.

Calamber
Jul. 2, 2011, 01:53 AM
All your replies make perfect sense. I am not too sure that using a bicycle in a residential area ( or anywhere) to pony a horse is advisable..... Most of my riding with her in the fields was what I would do in an arena. She isn't a total goof and her thing is to stop and look and sometimes turn around. If I let her look for a minute ( not try to make her go forward) she will calm quickly and go forward, if i were to kick and force then she gets upset/ hot. I don't have an arena and my mare needs hard work at least 5-6 days a week because she has energy to burn and I just don't have a place to do that until my hay field is cut. I am not making excuses, I just know that with exposure she will get better.I raised her and she has had tons of groundwork and is easy to handle and respectful and has a good mind. I know her very well. I am in my 40's and have no desire to get an injury or be dumped. If she was out of control I wouldn't ride her.

I guess we see training differently in some respects and I think you have to take them out of their comfort zone and see what you need to work on. Riding in the same area day after day doesn't accomplish that. I know now she needs some more field work( hard work) and then we will venture out again and see how she does.

I guess we can pick where we will fall if we only ride in certain places!!

Don't "talk" yourself into falling off, just work through scary obstacles, create them if you have to and let the element of surprise really work for you. Have someone pop out at you with "things" in their arms and you on the ground to condition through repetition and overstimulation. I really like the book "Bombproof Your Horse" by Rick Pelicano, he has a new book called something like "Beyond Bombproofing Your Horse". He is a US Capitol policeman and trains the horses for the park in DC and beyond. Lots of good ideas in there that will help.

Gavi
Jul. 3, 2011, 06:24 PM
It is tough working thru the spooky stuff with your horse..I have found that attending NATRC events and clinics help. I ride along side county roads with big farming equipment and even crop dusters so I understand your problem.. just when you are comfortable something bigger and noisier comes down the road. Setting up a "course" in one of my pastures and letting the tractor idle while I feed really helps..My husband is an ultra runner so he will pony one of the horses when he runs in the mornings, this is a wonderful way to get the horses use to traffic and road hazzards. Keep up the good work and find as many ways as possible to vary the routine and spooky stuff around the farm, better at home than on the highway.

candyappy
Jul. 6, 2011, 03:25 PM
Don't "talk" yourself into falling off, just work through scary obstacles, create them if you have to and let the element of surprise really work for you. Have someone pop out at you with "things" in their arms and you on the ground to condition through repetition and overstimulation. I really like the book "Bombproof Your Horse" by Rick Pelicano, he has a new book called something like "Beyond Bombproofing Your Horse". He is a US Capitol policeman and trains the horses for the park in DC and beyond. Lots of good ideas in there that will help.


Believe me I do all I can NOT to fall off. It has been a long time since I parted company with the horse I was riding, and have never come off of this particular horse. I don't intend to start anytime soon.

Thanks for all the good advice!!

jessiesgrrl
Jul. 11, 2011, 12:27 PM
This doesn't really have anything to do with riding on the hwy, but I had the great job of lunging a 5 yr old mare in the round pen the other day, the round pen she was born and raised in (so to say) and when we got in there and I started her off, she damn near jumped on top of me cause there was a huge and ugly snarling monster just to the one side of the house she could see!!
Turns out this huge monster was just a couch a tenant was in the process of moving and had just put outside for a minute while they grabbed something else........but hey it coulda eaten her alive!

so my point is, even the most "bomb-proof" horse can find one reason or another to spook, even if they are in a new zone or in the same old place they have always been.

Good for you on staying on her!
You know your mare better then anyone else, you know what will work to get her over these episodes, so take everything on here with a smile and a nod!

Good luck

candyappy
Jul. 11, 2011, 04:03 PM
Good point. I never have believed in a totally " bomb proof" horse, myself!!

Eggplant_Dressing
Jul. 11, 2011, 05:00 PM
Don't know if this would help but I ride my horse on the trail after a workout and he spooks at small animals (rabbits, baby deer, armadillos) but not at large animals (deer & cows) for some reason - maybe a bad incident before I bought him?

I tought him to 'stand' and he knows the word. Just so I can just get off his back and hand walk him past what is spooking him.

He doesn't spook often but when he does, he bucks, so the word 'stand' came in helpful, so I have a chance to get off before he has his little bucking fit.

A trainer type friend tought me to teach him to stand. I think it is similar to training a horse to ground tie. No grazing allowed, just 'stand' there.