The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
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 Post subject: Help, I'm stuck!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:26 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:04 am
Posts: 8
Hi I'm still new here but have been scouting through a lot of these posts most the day as I've been sick. I have a beautiful paint mare who is naturally a spooky, extrovert, hide inside of herself, sensitive mare. I have done a good years work with her inbetween that she had a year off to be a mother to her foal. She has come along way from the rearing, head shy, un trusting, run away at the site of her shadow mare I baught. My problem is I have done a lot of chill sessions with her and when I work with her she not impressed about it most the time sometimes she can be wonderfully making to work with but not often I especially love when everytihng just seems to work and we have a good play. I never ever work her to even a sweat just short sessions and a small task like engaging hind quarters, smooth transitions, etc all at liberty so she can work out all her muscles balance etc she is only green under saddle as I started her when she was prego. Anywho the inconsistent relaxation most sessions it comes and go I can never seem to have it stay, when something really freaks her out I can never get her back to being okay and relaxed no matter what I try!!! It's like she wants to be with me but doesn't fully look at me as a worthy enough leader and trusting friend and I have no idea how to prove myself to her. She can be like a boomerang sometimes, I approach her and I get within a certain distance and she gets pissy and walks off but then will stop and look at me and go on like that for a while, I have a play and see what it is, I may just slowly follow, play with another horse (she can get Jealous sometimes) etc she rarely will follow me but is always watching me with a soft expression or even a questionable expression, I just can't seem to break what seems to be a massive blockage in our training/friendship full of trust and togetherness.I am aware I am very passionate for the wellness and happiness for my horse and I could be getting in the way , I have tried so so many things!!! And I just can't seem to make much ground with it!! Any suggestions on how to be more of a leader for my horse that she can feel comfortable with me always I know it's not a quick fix thing and she is a horse with a usually long time line for accepting things she has come so far yet we still have far to go. Also I live in australia, Victoria and there is no one of these sort of methods down here to help at all for any kind of lessons to observe what it all is it's so hard to explain. As my friends say I have the most bi polar horse around you can have five different personalities in one session with this mare. Sorry for the read!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Help, I'm stuck!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:57 pm
Posts: 149
Hello,

I don't think that I can tell you how to be a better leader because I don't think about myself as a leader concerning horses. In my opinion there are some things that are important for horses to feel comfortable with us but to be a leader in every situation seems to be not so important.
With most horses I have experienced that it is not the human they are uncomfortable with (as long as the human doesn't harm them) but the environment or the situation in which the human leads the horse.
Now I can imagine to different ways to approach environment and situations the horse is uncomfortable with. First, I can learn how to handle a anxious and nervous horse, how I can communicate that everything is fine so that the horse has no reason to be afraid. Second, I can help the horse to handle situations in which it feels uncomfortable.

One thing I established in my mind and in my interaction with horses is that they don't have to stay in an environment or a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable. They are free to go back to where they feel comfortable again. For example when we are on a walk and the horse refuses to go on because it's scared - then I let it turn around and choose where it feels secure again even if this means going back to the herd. The same works for every other place (like the arena) and situation.
This shows the horse that being with me does not mean it gets caught into a situation it cannot get out easily again. It is easier to go through a door into a dark unknown room when the door stays open behind you, only in case something unespected happens ;) , and I think that is how it's like for our horses. I want the horses to trust me that they are in charge of themselves, not me.

When a horse cannot relax after a scary situation happened then I suppose that it still doesn't feel comfortable with the situation/environment. When this happens in the arena, I would open the gate an let the horse choose where it wants to be, rather than trying to calm the horse down by myself, especially when the horse isn't able to focus on me. After the horse is relaxed again, I ask it to approach the scary object or environment again and I reward the horse for looking at it or moving towards it (even from a long distance). Then it can see for himself that it isn't as scary as it thought before.

It would be interesting to know what kind of things get her to freak out? In which situations does this happen?

And it would be nice if you introduced yourself and your horse in the introduction section :) , you seem to have a interesting mare and a great interaction.


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 Post subject: Re: Help, I'm stuck!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:48 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:04 am
Posts: 8
Hi Annie!!
That's an interesting way to look at it I've always had the thought that for my horse to feel comfortable I'd have to be a good leader and show her the way. It's like she does trust me, yet there's not enough trust and I get these things take time and she is a horse with a loooooong timeline for most things and then one day it just like clicks sometimes you have no idea if your making progress and then it just clicks and Wulla or you have just spent a month trying a way that doesn't work. You are right though it is normally more the environment then me. I am thinking as much as I've given up any means of 'control' or 'force' somewhere in my mind the thought is still there I do think she knows that so I'm thinking I should give her even more freedom I do always encourage her opinions and she has gained a lot of confidence to show them now!!

She HATEs flappy things I've just recently come up with the use of a scarf it's not to flappy yet still flappy and as it's windy down here at the moment it won't flap to much on the wind like plastic does. She hates any unusually things around her legs she has the touchiest back legs (makes her a great jumping horse). She used to hate the rope following her but she has not realised it's harmless (took forever) still working on if the rope gets tangled around her legs to use her head and think to get out of it rather then run as if she gets stuck in dodgy fencing she's buggered I'd have a shredded horse with her reaction so I do want to best prepare her if that is to happen as it's a common accident. Sometimes it can just be something on a trail ride I can't see she'd be going beautiful then she sees something so I usually let her stand and she makes the option to walk forward or stand for 15minutes until she's happy. Depends on what horse I have on yeah. Day to some days she more spooky sometimes lazy sometimes playful etc if she's spooky when I get there it's like back to square one with omg the rope attached to my halter is following me that's scary. There's just a lot and I mean a lot of inconsistency. It's not often she goes I to explosive mode as I think I do a well enough job to help her understand what ever is going on before it's to much for her. (Like flappy plastic, or galloping horses etc) I kind make my horse sound a bit phsyco but I'm just name ing flaws as we are just working on the hole sin our training really. Without my horse haveing a lot more relaxation it really limits a lot for what we can do sometimes.

Oh and I shall introduce myself then :) thanks,she is a rather fascinating horse!! Very expressive


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 Post subject: Re: Help, I'm stuck!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:01 am 
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Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 2:05 am
Posts: 434
Location: Perth, Western Australia
The game that you might find really helpful for de-spooking is Chase the tiger... viewtopic.php?f=27&t=475
I'm not sure if you've said anywhere so far but introducing food rewards as well helped our Horses to get over their fear of flapping objects.

This is a great post as well, has links tolists of different topics...viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2101


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 Post subject: Re: Help, I'm stuck!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:12 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:04 am
Posts: 8
Oh thankyou heaps I will look through it all I've read a bit about chasing tiger on here but haven't found a detailed thing of it so thanks for the link I will be sure to let you know how it goes!! I wonder if I can get her curious enough!! Her foal loves that game!!! It's more like kill the snake though haha (I used rope he loves rope) It was just one of those spontaneous things with no meaning

Oh I nearly forgot, so I was reading the chase tiger and your thing about treats (which I do use :) ) do it interesting thing my horse does sometimes I very very first got her she would not take treats out of your hand it took a lot of trust before she decided that was ok, she got to the stage where she would stick her nose Into everything in site which was cool! But for some reason and I have no idea why she started it up again except worse and it depends on the day!! There's no pattern to this what so ever she becomes terrified of the treat you a re trying to give her heavy breathing stretched out like she wants it but to scared to take it out of your hand, off the grass or even fence and then she gets the courage to take it and scares the hell out of herself and runs of tail head high (I have even tried walking away or turning my back etc) and she then becomes super touchy on her nose as well so I usually just give her a head rub and mouth massage then she realises everything is okay but you can see still not fully trusting. It only started after apperntly the horses got out of the paddock into another one as someone left the gate open so I don't know if someone has even just clipped her on the nose or what (she would take that to heart) and it's inconsistent it comes and goes can be start of session or even just we are hanging and she relaxed and then I offer her an apple and she thinks she is going to die or something, it not just me either someone else might even try to give her a carrot and she wants it just terrified it's so so confusing.


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