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Starting the hot, hot, hot, hot mare

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  • Starting the hot, hot, hot, hot mare

    I don't know the exact breed of my rescue mare, but she is assuredly part Arab, so I thought that the Endurance folks with hot Arabs might be able to chime in on this one!

    My rescue mare is very, VERY sensitive, very emotional, and very hot. She tends to be very jumpy and timid when she isn't sure of what humans are up to (probably because of how mean they were to her for the past several years, before me), and unraveling her issues has taken quite a long time. She is now under saddle (less than 10 rides) and doing well, but MAN is she hot and sensitive. We've done (and continue to do) tons and tons and tons of desensitization and groundwork, but she is still VERY reactive and super hot. She is walk/trot now, and is steering and stopping well, but wants to jig, wants to zoom into upwards transitions (and not downshift to slower gears), and has a very hard time with standing quietly while halted.

    She lives out 24/7 with another mare, is on a diet of all forages (with some choice high-quality supplements and herbs mixed in with hay pellets & a bit of Healthy Glo to get them down), and is on an ulcer prevention program. She gets lunged before I get on, and does all sorts of rodeo antics and gallops at top speed completely of her own accord out in the pasture, several times a day. I've done everything I can think of to keep her from ever having pent up energy - but she still does, whenever she works. (She has it while lunging too... she just wants to GO all the time).

    I've never started a horse that is this hot. Does anyone have any tips for starting the super, super sensitive and reactive hot horse? Trying very hard to make it very simple and methodical for her, but it isn't easy!
    Eventing-A-Gogo: Adventures of a Barefoot Event Horse and her Human
    The Reeling: An Unexpected Mareventure

  • #2
    How old is she? You are starting her, does that mean that the 10 rides you speak of have been the only rides she has had? She had never been ridden?

    What is"Rescued" (the term seems to have different meanings to different people). Was she starving or neglected, unwanted or all of those?

    You write that she is on a diet of "all forages EXCEPT" and then list all the other stuff you are feeding.....If she has quality pasture , hay and turnout I would lose the supplements and pellets etc..

    Also, sometimes ,trying to "desensitize" a hot horse is counterproductive. Calm, consistant handling is best for many horses. Some hot horses just don't respond to being chased around and /or having objects waved at them etc..It only freaks them out exponentially. If your horse is hysterical, freaking them out with "desensitization" is really not the best approach at this time.

    Calm consistant handling ,always, and repeatedly is necessary for hot horses. Since your horse is "rescued" (only you know what that means in your horse's case) I would slow down, with the feed and with the "desensitization".

    Quiet hacks, hand walking, walk trot, whatever. Take it slow.
    Last edited by skydy; Feb. 3, 2013, 02:07 AM.


    • #3
      Agree with Skydy here!

      I would stop with the lunging and the trotting and anything that will make her more reactive, flighty, excited, or whatever else may be going on. She needs to learn that while she can run around all she wants in her pasture, once she is working with a human, it's "quiet time" - time to listen and to focus.

      Walk, walk, walk. If she's an Arab, even new under saddle, she will be able to walk for a very long time. Don't ask for much more, just relaxation at a walk. Don't trot until she is truly ready for speed to be added. And make triple-sure your saddle and tack fits.

      Be calm and quiet around her yourself. She most likely doesn't trust and understand you yet. Who knows what happened to her, so be patient and work more slowly than you would with another young horse.

      Good luck! She may just become an amazing Endurance horse one day


      • Original Poster

        Yes, she had never been ridden before. She was a recipient mare, very sensitive and basically thrown up against the wall and eared/beaten/drugged to get her to hold still long enough for procedures, then tossed back into the herd - her only human interactions were bad ones and she was completely uncatchable when I started to work with her, couldn't even get near her and she had to wear a catch halter 24/7. Now she comes to me whenever I call, we've come a very long way. She trusts me, but sometimes she worries that I am going to betray her, I think... and who can blame her, after all she has been through. She was easy to start, was a bit scooty but never offered up anything more than that, and settled in - probably the easiest youngster I've ever started. She's just SO much hotter and more reactive than any of them! (Used to sluggy stubborn warmbloods!)

        Roundpenning, throwing things at her, etc is SUPER counterproductive, and I don't do it at ALL - should have been more specific there! By desensitization, I mean lots of methodical touching, rubbing, showing her things, exposing her to the world and to sensations without terrorizing her.

        Feed: should have have been more specific, I don't feed any hard grains at all, just a small amount timothy hay pellets and her supplements (calming herbs/digestive aids, mostly), as she was very scrawny and needed to gain quite a lot of weight. She has put a lot of it back on, so I could cut back on this though.

        About the lunging - until these last 2 or 3 rides, I didn't lunge her at all before getting on, just went ahead and got on because it seemed like lunging her heated her up a bit instead of taking the edge off. I lunged her the past few times, and it didn't seem to make a difference. Thoughts?
        Last edited by Ritazza; Feb. 3, 2013, 05:24 AM.
        Eventing-A-Gogo: Adventures of a Barefoot Event Horse and her Human
        The Reeling: An Unexpected Mareventure


        • #5
          if she has trust issues, I would suggest trying clicker-training tricks on the ground in addition to your regular work.

          You can't "tire" these horses out so don't bother- work instead on control. So on the lunge, instead of getting her to move a lot, do TONS of up and down transitions, using primarily voice control. Then when riding do the same thing- don't just chug along, constantly DO THINGS like transitions, turns, leg-yielding so she has to constantly listen to you.
          when bored, arabs like to act up, so don't let her get bored.


          • #6
            I would initially begin with a routine.

            I would start by tying in the same location (crossties, stall whatever). Then start picking out the left front, then left hind, then right hind, then right front (or whatever order you want...). Then curry. Then stiff brush. Then medium brush. Then soft brush. Or whatever your routine is. Same thing, every single time you work with her. Make what you do predictable. Horses, especially ones given a reason not to trust people, thrive on routine. That said, my horses have no real routine once they're trained and don't seem to have a problem with it. I just gradually phase out the doing the exact same thing every time.

            I'd get a book like 101 Dressage exercises and use the low level stuff. There are a ton of walk and walk/trot exercises that are awesome for starting horses who need to be kept busy (ask me how I know this...it was invaluable in starting my Arab as a colt!). Some have ground poles, some are using a bunch of figures, some are doing a bajillion transitions. All are good for keeping a horse busy. The exercises won't be executed perfectly in the beginning, but that's not the point. Perfection will come with time, just *do* them in the beginning. The point is keeping her brain busy.

            Longing isn't necessarily a *bad* thing, just do it in a productive way. I'd put some loose side reins on her (the kind with elastic, not a donut...I've found most sensitive Arabs find the donut more startling) and encourage her to stretch into them. Do lots of walk/halt transitions. When she's calm and okay with that, move to walk/trot/halt. ONLY when she has a brain at that level, add the canter in.

            When you get on her, warm up in the same way. Have a routine. Walk this direction, walk that direction, trot this way and that way if she can keep her brain. Then school a few exercises. Then 'cool off' in the same way each time.

            The point here is not to tire her out. You're probably not going to be able to do that...my Arab will happily trot/canter a 25mi endurance ride three days in a row and still be raring to go a forth day... However, you can mentally engage her and get her thinking. A thinking horse isn't hot and wired, jigging all over the place.

            Also, she's a rescue. So what. Quit making concessions for this. If you go into this with the mentality that you need to baby her and be careful with her, you'll need to baby her and be careful with her. If you remain predictable and calm when working with her, she will trust you and chill out. If you DO find something that spooks/scares her, don't avoid doing that thing. Just matter of factly, methodically do that thing/introduce that thing/make her work near that thing/whatever. I appreciate the horse with trust issues (I've worked with several and owned one). However, you can't make excuses for them and tiptoe around their issues. The more matter of fact you are with them (I'm not suggesting being mean/callous/whatever), the better off they usually are. Just be a good leader. If you act like XYZ is no big deal, sooner or later XYZ is no big deal. However, if you tiptoe around XYZ because the horse acted scared of it, you'll just reinforce that fear.

            I'm not opposed to using food rewards for introduction to scary things. I've taught my Arab to accept any number of things using treats. He learned to tolerate pulling a cart eating 5lbs of carrots one day. He learned to tolerate my force dryer (I use it to dry my grooming clients dogs) because its great for a 'dry bath' of sorts. He looks clean after I blast all the dirt out of his coat! Its great for the 6mo where its too cold to bathe. He ate a few handfuls of treats while I introduced that to him. He's learned that tolerating scary things I do generally results in treats...and that the scary thing probably isn't *that* scary.

            As for not standing halted quietly, here's how I train a nice stand quietly. I use it as a reward. I don't ask for it in the beginning of a workout once I'm in the saddle (I expect the horse to stand quietly for mounting, but once I ask them to walk off, we're not going to stand around just for the fun of it). We'll do an exercise or two and then I ask the horse to halt to give it a break. If it wants to stand there quietly, fantastic. We'll do that for a minute or two. I will go back to work the second the horse starts getting fidgety. I'll do another exercise or two. Then again, ask the horse to halt and give it a break. Rinse, lather repeat. Most of the time, I can get 15-20 seconds of a good, still halt before the horse starts fidgeting in the beginning. It gets longer as you do this over time.

            Standing quietly is a physical and mental break/reward for the horse. If it doesn't want to stand quietly, I don't punish or fight, we just go back to work. My trained horses will stand indefinitely with the reins dropped to the buckle in pretty much any situation because they have learned that standing quietly when asked to do is a good plan because there's probably more work ahead. I can go from running full tilt boogie across a field on my hunt horse to a check, halt, drop the reins to the buckle and he'll relax and stand quietly almost instantly. There was no fighting or arguing about learning to stand still. Its just always been a reward for a job well done. At these rest breaks, I don't nag, I don't do anything. If the horse likes a scratch on the withers/shoulder I'll do that (gelding loves it, mare hates it - only likes a verbal 'good girl'), but otherwise I leave the horse alone, all pressure/attention off.


            • #7
              I would not free lunge her before you ride. It does jazz them up, it is like they are being chased, and also they can DO whatever they want.


              • #8
                Presume that she came to you with some nutritional deficiencies, and presume she needs some magnesium and probably vitamin E. If the issues are nutritional, you should see improvement within one month of providing 5grams Mag per day. If it makes no difference, then you have ruled out mag deficiency and can presume that this just is her nature, and continue as candysgirl recommended. (Do that anyway, but at least you will have a better idea that the issues are mental, not dietary.)
                RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                • #9
                  Really good advice already. Love that. I totally agree with the comments on routine. I actually think that's something I haven't respected enough in the past in a rush to get the horse ready for all the unpredictability of real life and to be self-confident and -reliant. I think a horse like this really needs a Routine, capital R, until she has some stuff figured out. I've seen pretty hot, smart horses turn into leadline ponies under a regimented routine - and that's to a fault. When you get into that much of a ritual anything unexpected is answered with reactivity. But for now, I would have a ritual. Pick a number of days where things will be approached with the choreography of a Catholic mass. 10 rides, 40, whatever seems right in your circumstance. After that add one question/challenge for her to handle.

                  I think you are sensing that in addition to being naturally high energy she is also putting out nervous energy. Looking toward and rushing into upward transitions, for example. I would try addressing the source of the anxious energy rather than the energy itself. Often with a horse like this if you try to work them out of it they simply become more fit but no less anxious (until you just get into adrenal fatigue) and if you try to keep them unfit so you can lunge them out of it they just come out fresh and unsure of things. I think I would find a "home base" pattern to come back to - a simple W/T intro test or something you make up - anytime she needs to be settled. And think in terms of her having that for the rest of her life to fall back on. Human exercise classes often have something like that; a serious of movements you warm up and cool down to and which repeat in some way throughout the class and it's very centering.

                  Diet and living sitch sound pretty darn good to me. I don't think it really matters whether you lunge first or not but I would think in terms of her heart rate if you do lunge. Things should be calm, slow and centering. If she starts to rush, slooow her down. Don't force calmness obviously, but do not think in terms of taking the edge off. As you have seen, that kind of lunging just riles up a hot horse. Think in terms of centering, focusing and becoming ready to receive your input. Walking and halting on the lunge is perfectly acceptable lunging. If she gets frustrated and explodes, that's ok. It's a balance between frustrating a hot horse and helping find a calm, confident place from which forward power then becomes ok. But you don't really want to begin a ride on a hot arab-ish mare whose heart is already racing

                  There's really no right answer, IMO, and it all depends on the individual horse and human. You may find that even when you control for everything else, this horse is just plain hot. Sometimes things I would prefer to do at the walk (walk walk walk as advised above) I've done at a trot. Sometimes I would have rather ridden for 30min but rode for 3hrs. Some horses are just the crazy ultra-runner type, I think, and would rather live their lives in motion. They aren't broken. There just aren't a lot of people who can keep up with that. I'm not at all convinced your mare is one of these, but if she is, a lot of the standard advice may need modification :/

                  Good luck!
                  An auto-save saved my post.

                  I might be a cylon


                  • #10
                    I have a really hot, anxious mare too. Lots of great suggestions have been made, but what I found really helped with my girl were any exercises that would build trust between us and still be fun and interesting for her. We spent months in the ring, but leading her out on trails is what really worked wonders - actually taking her anywhere I could, like a dog. I left my other horse at home and just went out hiking with nervous nellie Like others mentioned, I just approached it (and everything else with this horse) totally matter of fact and systematically. I don't do drama At first when out hiking, I even ignored any spooking, jigging, or other antics provided she stayed out of my space and didn't pull on me. She very quickly decided the best bet was to trust my lead and settled right down and I started being able to discipline her for things without losing her. It was pretty easy to transition to trail riding her everywhere. That being said, we've been out of the ring about 3 months now and we still mostly just hack out alone and walk the majority of the way - it's still very much about slow and quiet.

                    The one thing I've really learned is patience! We've got about a year of regular rides (and many, many lessons and clinics) under our belt and I can trail ride alone or in a small group anywhere. We can also put down a basic walk/trot/canter pattern in the ring. She's got excellent ground manners. And that's about it -it's not much compared to my 'normal' horse but it's a world away from where we started She's still randomly scared of a lot of things.

                    Mine is still very much a forward ride and very reactive, but she tries harder than any horse I've ever dealt with. She's pretty special


                    • #11
                      There is so much good advice here on this thread that I want to archive it!

                      It seems like going super-slow and methodically with this mare is going to be your best bet, especially if you want to go the endurance route with her. It might be a natural for her, but she could also flame out if you don't put a thorough platform in place first.

                      I learned an awful lot about lunging with a horse like this - just the slightest change in my energy or stance was all it took to affect him, usually in a forwards direction, and I always had to be planning everything with a one, two, three approach rather than just throwing transitions at him as they occurred to me. At first the extreme sensitivity was really challenging to work with, but I have come to love it. He is now a super-fantastic, adjustable ride, whether on the trail or jumping. I now really get how lunging youngsters before the ride is now a purposeful activity to get them into that soft, accepting mindset where they can learn something - and to put me in the right state of mind as well (that can take longer).

                      We went slow,slow, slow in getting him out on the trail and then when we got there, even though he was a blank slate. Your mare seems to have some negative past experiences. So add another couple of slows to that. Be careful that you are not unintentionally reinforcing her tendency to ramp up - impersonate a tortoise even if you are naturally a hare, or are amplifying the energy she is throwing out.

                      There are huge advantages to slowing down - you get to celebrate micro-improvements and notice how long it really takes from first inkling to a smooth response to the aids. That is built through repetition and consistency over time. A horse that is very responsive will expose all your weaknesses - little things in your own equitation that can make a huge difference to a super-sensitive horse - the less "noise" in your riding, the better they are able to notice the purposeful parts (I am emphasizing this because I had a lot to learn in this department). You will become really good at setting your horse up to succeed at new tasks by putting building blocks in place, not just because the consequences of not doing so can be so dramatic, but because the pleasure of a positive outcome is so addictive - the more you break it down into steps, the more you get that feedback loop going and the better you see how that particular horse learns best.

                      The trail is your friend because the job is obvious. In my experience, the more single-track with roots, rocks, twists and turns the better - it keeps the mind connected to the feet and even walking becomes an absorbing task - much better than an open road. But you'll have to stay observant, because every horse is different.
                      Publisher, http://www.endurance-101.com
                      Blog: http://blog.seattlepi.com/horsebytes/


                      • #12
                        You have gotten a lot of great suggestions here.

                        With my mare, lots of transitions, working through trotting poles, figures 8s, directions changes, work wonders for screwing her head back on when she is being silly. As others have said, you want to get her thinking about what she's doing.

                        It's really amazing how they start paying attention to where they are going when they have to walk over a simple pole on the ground. And not just straight on, but at angles too. Most of them will drop their heads, look where they are going, and think about what they are doing. This is really good training for the trails and stepping over fallen logs and such. When she is good with one, then add another, and do the same thing. Walk through them at an angle.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lieselotte View Post
                          Agree with Skydy here!

                          I would stop with the lunging and the trotting and anything that will make her more reactive, flighty, excited, or whatever else may be going on. She needs to learn that while she can run around all she wants in her pasture, once she is working with a human, it's "quiet time" - time to listen and to focus.

                          Walk, walk, walk. If she's an Arab, even new under saddle, she will be able to walk for a very long time. Don't ask for much more, just relaxation at a walk. Don't trot until she is truly ready for speed to be added. And make triple-sure your saddle and tack fits.

                          Be calm and quiet around her yourself. She most likely doesn't trust and understand you yet. Who knows what happened to her, so be patient and work more slowly than you would with another young horse.

                          Good luck! She may just become an amazing Endurance horse one day
                          I would be careful on the " stop lunging" advice. Some horses who are very energetic need that to be safe to mount, especially when new to being ridden. Lunging doesn't mean you run her around until she is ringing wet, but can be useful to getting the freshness out so that she will be able to listen to you .

                          I had a mare who although wasn't quite as reactive as yours was so sensitive I couldn't ride with any leg or any rein contact until I either wanted to speed up or turn or stop = right now and quickly. I just took things slowly and patiently and as time under saddle increased she did get better.


                          • #14
                            I would be careful on the " stop lunging" advice. Some horses who are very energetic need that to be safe to mount, especially when new to being ridden. Lunging doesn't mean you run her around until she is ringing wet, but can be useful to getting the freshness out so that she will be able to listen to you.
                            I don't agree with this approach, especially for a "hot" horse. IMO, lunging is not for getting "the freshness out," even for a young horse. Because what are you teaching a young horse in that moment? When I put you on this line, you can go crazy, buck and fart, so that then I can get on and ride you safely? An Arabian can play that game all day and still be "wild" to ride if you let them. Lunging won't change that. This needs an attitude change and understanding that play is play and work is work and you, the human, are the leader.

                            I believe the pasture or the turnout is for horse play. But being on the lunge line means working with a human and that means it's time to focus (which has to be slowly extended over time.) I personally don't tolerate any running around or being "fresh." That's what the other 23 hours in the day are for.

                            I don't know the OP's horse but it sounds like lunging has already been "spoiled" for her and has come to mean time to run and rush and being excited. She may also be frustrated because she doesn't understand what's being asked of her. Hence my advice to stop with it, to slow and quiet down in general, and work on other things first.


                            • #15
                              Can you (safely) take her out of the arena and get out out working on the trails/field even if it has to be in hand or ponied for a while? I've had good luck with this tactic with the hot and super reactive, I think because it gives them lots to look at (and because there is so much to look at they are less likely to focus on any one thing) and you avoid them feeling trapped/panicky. It is best if you have a friend with a steady-eddy type horse to accompany you.

                              My young Morgan also does not like standing still. I do use treats to reward him when he stands quietly and I also arrange my ride so that the first couple of halts I ask for are after we have just something that is difficult, a bit tiring or new so he is more likely to offer the correct answer.

                              I personally do not like lunging the super hot, but have found that even if they are out 24/7, if the footing in the field is iffy (muddy or slippery) that turning them loose somewhere with good footing, like the arena, if possible for 10-15 minutes might allow them to get a few bucks out that they might not in the field.

                              I've also had good luck with giving the horse a "job" to focus on in the arena, like walking over a course of poles, walking the cloverleaf pattern around barrels, etc. as a way to get them asking me what is going to happen next instead of focusing on the rest of the world.


                              • #16
                                This is just based on what I see at my barn, so bare with me if this isn't the case.

                                But I've found that people tend to get really intimidated with these "hot" horses. Even if they don't realize it, they tense up, waiting for the horse to react. Even with clicker training, desensitization, etc, I find people are still waiting for the horse to do something. I have a pair exactly like this. Owner appears cool calm and collected, however if the smallest little thing changes at the barn she has excuses for her horse's behavior for the next month.

                                My advice is to just not worry about it, sit deep, relax, and don't react to your horse's hotness and sensitivity. Don't make excuses for it, RIDE it, ride through it. Take a deep breath and don't automatically assume your horse is going to be hot. Be calm and consistent.
                                come what may

                                Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                                • #17
                                  Calm and consistent - absolutely! Your arab's behavior reflects its training.
                                  Walking walking walking -absolutely! Get out and about.

                                  I had a breakthrough when I put a heart rate monitor on my naughty mare. She was a massive shyer, spooking at everything so that I hated riding her.

                                  I discovered that when she spooked or shied her heart rate didn't change! It changed my attitude towards her as I realized she was much much tougher than I knew.
                                  So I did the parelli 7 games with her - she loved them and progressed very quickly to liberty work. But it didn't desensitise her to anything. Plastic bags in the yards are ok. Plastic bags flapping down the road? NO!
                                  And despite all my efforts she has just decided to stand still while I mount - at 12 years of age, lol.

                                  Masses of very good info in this thread
                                  Last edited by wendybird; Feb. 8, 2013, 12:04 AM. Reason: spelling


                                  • #18
                                    I used to break TB racehorses for a living, and I've broke a few pretty hot Arabians. Both taught me tons, like...

                                    - Treat her like any other horse, abused or not: calmly, consistently, with firm but gentle handling.

                                    - while lunging helps some horses get the sillies out, for some it just hypes them up even more, and certainly gets them fitter. Whenever lunged the racehorses, we just got straight on, even the racing fit ones. Personally I hate lunging, as its hard on their stifles, but YOUR safety comes first, so if you need it, then lunge.

                                    - Find an older, calm horse to ride with you. If you can find one that with pony, even better! If you don't have one that will pony, just play follow the leader with a quiet horse, and do tons of transitions and school figures.

                                    - The trick with being good with babies and greenies, isn't so much skill as it is your reactions. When I'm on a greenie, on the outside, I may look half asleep. When i broke TB's I chewed gum, which drove the trainer crazy,but it helped keep me relaxed. Of course, on the inside, I'm always on standby, ready for anything. When you feel yourself getting nervous, just take slow deep breaths.

                                    - Stop the prancing, crow hops before they start. If this means asking for a few trot steps and then walking again, then so be it.

                                    - Never ask for something that you aren't fairly certain will end you both on a good note. Of course, on the flipside you don't want to bore a greenie - especially a hot, sensitive one, but you also don't want to start a "fight" you know you can't win.

                                    - Don't feel like you always have to rode. If you've had a stressful day at work, and are still feeling tense, then do some groundwork, or just go on a walk with her.

                                    - Have you ever done any Ttouch or Tteam work with her? I love both, especially for hot sensitive horses. Im on my phone, but just Google Linda Tellington-Jones.

                                    Good luck with her - it sounds like you've got a great program with her feed and turnout - lucky mare!
                                    The Equine Wellness and Nutrition FB Group - Come join us!!


                                    • #19
                                      I have a hot ASB, so I feel your pain.

                                      If you do lunge, use a bit, surgingle, and side reins (fitted loosely) to get her used to working correctly and cut down on the run/buck/snort reaction.

                                      I also find that my mare relaxes, especially at the walk, much more readily when she is walking on a loose rein vs. a tight one. If you tense up and pull, she will pull back. This translates into much giraffe neck and jigging, at least for us. Relax yourself, don't anticipate, let her have some rein, and just walk for awhile. See if you can get her to stretch down, especially at the end of a ride. It should feel good to her.

                                      If she insists on staying jiggy, redirect her energy. Lateral work. Leg yield a bit off the rail, then leg yield back. Turn on the haunches. Go over some cavaletti. Ride in circles. Squares. Keep her brain engaged. I really think that's key with hot, smart horses.
                                      *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                                      • #20
                                        Just popping in to say how much I appreciate this thread!!!

                                        I have a very hot, arab mare that has scared the dickens out of me, more times than I can count. I have owned her since she was 2, and I decided a couple of years ago, that we are just not a good match. I still own her, but don't ride her much. Instead I purchased a super calm, quiet Quarab to ride, who is wonderful and he has now given me back my confidence...enough to where I am back on my mare for a little bit now, and we are working on our partnership. She has been trained through 2nd Level dressage with my instructor, and has shown up through 1st Level 4th dressage. So, she has it in her. I even did some schooling shows with her in the past, before she became too hypersensitive.

                                        I'm loving all of the tips on this thread. I'm looking to restart my mare this spring, and really try and work with her again. I feel ready, and that is the most important part. I printed off many of the tips listed here, and plan to put them in place when I start working her again next month.

                                        Just one word on lunging. I was taught that anytime you bring the horse out to be lunged, they should be focused on YOU! No silliness. Lunging is teaching the horse the riding aids from the ground. I won't tolerate any silliness from my mare even on the lunge line. She can buck and fart all she wants in the pasture, and if she starts those antics on the lunge line, it's back to work. Immediately. No questions. I have learned a lot about myself and her sensitivity when lunging. She will react to just my breath, even from the ground. It's a wonderful thing to have in a horse, but also a double-edged sword.

                                        Good luck with your mare, OP!
                                        Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
                                        CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle