Well been riding my TWH mare and doing well, and took a lesson on Wednesday. After horse had been warmed up, we began doing serpentines and 20 meter circles, etc. and out of the blue, mare spooked like never before. She hit Mach speed and scooted/bolted (has NEVER done that before) and almost left me in the dirt. I did wrench my left shoulder and that is the one that has the torn rotator cuff which I planned to get repaired this spring..sigh..so that is an ouch for sure.
At the end of the spook/bolt forward, I finally get her reined in and she is trembling. Literally front leg shaking like mad, breathing like a freight train and head as high as a kite staring at the dog. The same dog that sleeps in front of her stall door, follows her around the paddock, hangs out in the barn while she is tacking up, etc. Dog doesn't bother horse but man did she loose it Wednesday.
So yep, I'm a little more than cautious to get back on her thinking if she can be that wound up because the dog was running across the pasture (next to the riding arena), how will she be next time I ride?
Any ideas for despooking? I don't look forward to tomorrow's ride as Wednesday's ride left me unable to dismount on the left, had to do it on the right hand side as my left shoulder wouldn't support my weight. Still really sore today, but I wanted to ride tomorrow as people will be here in case something happens.
My old gentleman used to believe that the same blue-tick hound who lived in his barn and slept under his feet somehow became the Hound of the Baskervilles when he bounded out of the brush beside us on trail rides. Go figger.
We never had a spook quite that extreme though. Sorry you wrenched your shoulder.
I don't really have any good de-spooking tips, because my old fellow reacted the exact same way to the exact same hound every.single.time we rode. I just eventually got used to it. But as I said, it wasn't nearly as extreme a spook as you're describing - just a snort and shoot sideways with the occasional quarter-turn. No trembling or anything. So we never made it priority to desensitize. The horse, I mean. I got somewhat desensitized to rapid unexpected movement.
Since your girl really comes unglued, could your instructor maybe help you gradually desensitize her during your lessons? Once you've healed, I mean. Maybe having the dog on lead at first, then having it chase something (while still on lead), etc? Or maybe a friend could do this if you don't want to take up your lesson time.
"We're only trying to understand what you want, people. If we're not supposed to actually lunge at you, you need to name it something else." - Dear Murray