|Tall wall -- minimal distractions.|
With that in mind, I think my plan before entering another indoor show will be to try to find as many indoors that allow trailer in schooling as possible to expose her to lots of new venues. There are also plenty of outdoor schooling shows we can work towards in the meantime! I can think of at least three indoors that offer haul-in rides, so I'll have to start hitting those up on free weekends (free weekends? what are those?).
|We like to ride outside!|
However, the other issue I’ve been trying to mentally solve is her favorite evasion in new situations – backing up. She did it once at home when we were trail riding, but we worked through it and it hasn’t happened again. But at both the WWU show last fall and then again this weekend, when she got mentally “stuck”, she started backing. Even with totally slack reins, the only gear we had was reverse.
|An example of one of the "nopes" from this weekend's test.|
She’s very sensitive to changes in my seat, so after the first test, I thought maybe I was inadvertently tensing and making her think that back was her only option, so I made a concerted effort to stay extra relaxed and a little “up” off her back. Still got stuck in reverse.
|Forward is never a problem at home!|
I’m fairly certain most of it is a combination of baby shenanigans and just a general lack of trust in me as a leader at the moment. Her training has been so sporadic and while she trusts me way more on the ground than she used to, things seem to change when I’m in the saddle. I think the only solution to both of those problems is just wet saddle pads and new experiences. I also thing just by virtue of being a purebred vs. a partbred Spanish horse, she is just always going to be more spooky by nature than Ruby or Topaz, who each had a dose of calm QH blood to keep their heads on a little straighter.
|Silly, spastic, hotblooded purebreds :)|
And while I do find the backing kind of annoying, there are definitely worse evasions she could have – teleporting spooks, rearing, bolting, spinning – lots of other nastier options! How about you? What’s your horse’s go-to evasion, and how did you overcome it?
|Gratuitous shots from last week's session pre-show because I'm just now getting around to editing them! haha|
Omg if that's the worst she has... lol.ReplyDelete
Courage went through that phase. It only happened under duress--xc schooling, spooky situations. I'll message you about it.
Haha I know I am so spoiled 😋Delete
Thanks for the message, very helpful suggestions!
Mort's old evasion was to curl under and "hide" from me. His new evasion is to scoot, go upside-down, and push through my hands.ReplyDelete
The answer for both of those for me is to push that hind end up underneath him more, more push into the bridle.
Backing up is actually one of my least favorite evasions, It scares me a lot more to be heading a direction in which I am not looking. I'm sure she'll outgrow it the more you push her through it. The trick with all of these things it to both not allow them and to act like they're no big deal when the pony does it anyway. ;) These are my experiences at least!
It's definitely not an evasion I'm a fan of but the more I read other blogs the more I realize my horses' evasions are fairly minor compared to what they could be doing! HahaDelete
This is true. Bolting is my least favorite not because it's the hardest to sit, but because it un-nerves me so much. I'm very happy Mort doesn't try to do it anymore!!Delete
She just wants to back dat ass up ;)ReplyDelete
Comment of the day 😂😂😂Delete
It's true that backing is a lesser evil when it comes to evasions, but I really hated the short period when Kachina started doing it (ended up being tack related) because she would do it on the trail where we were in danger of backing into barbed wire fences and culverts.ReplyDelete
Kachina's go to evasion is tense giraffe running, i.e. speeding up, hollowing and getting counter-bent. It's also pretty mild on the scale of things, but it's taking a long time to correct.
She only does this in new situations, so thankfully I don't think mine is tack-related... but at least you figured out what Kachina's issue was!Delete
I think it's a combination of on the ground and in the saddle trust training (both of which I need to do more of as well). Backing up sounds WAY better than spinning, bucking, or rearing so at least you have that going for you. Mine sidesteps and it requires a lot of repetition and patience, going back again and again and again until she feels comfortableReplyDelete
Yeah, I definitely feel like building trust can only help us at this point! She is very good about learning new concepts even with the sporadic training I've had time for, but we really need more time to forge that bond.Delete
My mare Heartbreak will back up and toss her head in the air when she's unsure or worried about something. I've come off of her before when her backing away from a jump turned into a slick reiner-esq spin and I was unprepared. We had to spend a lot of time going back to basics, especially with jumping. We considered it a victory if we could just get her to walk over a cross rail at first. We've made a lot of progress, but backing is still her go-to move when she doesn't want to do something. I just have to focus on forwardforwardforward until she settles and is going somewhat calmly.ReplyDelete
I can only imagine how much more difficult backing would get if there were jumps involved! But sounds like you have a handle on it now, which is great.Delete
Backing is my least favorite evasion because, it is really, really tough to fix. I've owned three horses who did this, for me the only way to fix it was to prevent it from happening at all because once they're backing it's too late. I got a feel for when they were going to do it, and I pushed them ridiculously forward when I saw a situation coming up that would trigger the backing. I had to stay several steps ahead of them at all times.ReplyDelete
As far as it not being dangerous, one of the horses I owned would back you off a cliff, into walls, fences, traffic, people.... she did not pay attention to where she was going at all. So, it can be dangerous, make sure you know what's around you and be prepared to step off the horse if she's backing towards the highway. ;)
I'm really glad we had a chance to communicate more about this in depth -- you gave me a lot to think about and some really helpful suggestions, thank you!Delete
Nilla tries all the tricks. Bucking, rearing, and bolting. She's super fun when she doesn't want to do something. Levi's favorite is to suck back and ignore my requests for forward or to try a buck if that doesn't work, but he gets over it a lot faster as soon as it doesn't work. Nilla just escalates.ReplyDelete
I think Cinna will be the "get over it" type vs the "escalate type", but I guess we'll see!Delete
Carmen went through a backing phase early in our work together. It was a total evasion. I targeted it first on the ground- I worked on instilling a forward response to a light tap on her haunch. When that was installed I used it under saddle. Because the reaction was there it made her move forward before she realized what happened. The other thing was get her to move off the leg sideways or turn on the haunch as long as her feet were moving in reaction to me.ReplyDelete
It also required a bit of 'guts' to be willing to give her a real wallop to leap forward. But it was working on the ground that made the difference. It has not appeared since then
Very good to know! I remember all the work you did on groundwork with Carmen. I think we'll have to incorporate more groundwork when I'm introducing her to "scary" things, until she gains some confidence and trust in our relationship.Delete
1. Bring her to CEC, you can haul in and we have an indoor and I'm there ;)ReplyDelete
2. This sounds like a really great plan
3. You sort of witnessed Leo's at WWU - the sideways crab move with occasional half rears. -_-
Yesssss. What does Kris charge to haul in? I still need to take you and Leo trail riding ;)Delete
Katai's is freezing up and rearing.ReplyDelete
I'm going to have the opposite problem and Katai will struggle more outside. I need to put in lots of hours outside.
So interesting how all of our horses have such varied reactions and different strengths and weaknesses!Delete
Lol I mean, I prefer schooling outside too! I definitely see her point there!! Seriously tho I like your assessment and think that these pieces will all come together as she develops. Getting stuck in reverse is .... Wow just so super frustrating haha. My guy did that a little bit too, but as a nappy resistant behavior, not as a spook. So increasing my volume was a good solution for him.ReplyDelete
Yeah I mean I'd prefer to be outside too, but indoors are kind of a necessity during some of our weather.... lol. But yeah, I think the pieces will fall into place the more work we do. I mostly wrote about it because I was interested in hearing about everyone else's horses! I have faith she will get better as she matures/gains confidence :)Delete
My experience with horses backing up was much different than yours - it was with my older mare Suzie. She is (was? She's retired now) a broke trail horse and after I bought her, she started to get really barn-sour and would start backing up if I half-halted or did ANYTHING to ask her to walk slower (she'd try jogging back to the barn).ReplyDelete
We backed up into a tree once, down a ditch... down an entire road...
And she backed up FAST. It was actually pretty terrifying.
I ended up having to whack her over the ass with some split reins and let her jump forwards, but she was like that for a good three months and the behavior actually transferred over into the arena too... At her worst, she would rear whenever I'd ask her to go forwards and she was busy backing up.
In your case, I wouldn't recommend cracking your girl over the ass, lol. She is still young and doesn't "know better".
Haha well I probably won't crack her with split reins (mostly because that's not what I ride her in lol), but we'll see how it goes! Glad you eventually overcame it though!Delete
HAHA. I think there is just a huge difference in a horse that is uncertain vs a seasoned horse who knows the difference.Delete
For sure! Now it's my job to put the time into working her to get her to that seasoned horse phase 😉Delete
Aria used to do the backup evasion technique too (she may still pull it out from time to time). My trainer says to just keep asking for forward until they move forward. I do think you are right in that she's looking for support and guidance. That comes with miles and exposure which you are already planning.ReplyDelete
Also, don't let her cute pure blood shenanigans fool you. Iberians are hot horses but they are also very smart and level headed. She'll eventually get over her baby spookiness but they mature so much slower it takes them a while to be adults :) plus I think they like making a fuss. All that drama. Haha.
Her dam was the same way at 12, so I don't think she's going to grow out of it anytime soon, haha. Some lines are just more reactive and "up" I think 😀Delete
Griffin has tried a wealth of evasions in our time together. He tried the backing one, but a few rides with some really smart POPS of a whip on his hiney nipped that in the bud right quick.ReplyDelete
My [least] favorite was when he decided after months of riding with a bit that suddenly he COULDN'T HANDLE IT and he'd try to rear/fall over when you'd put pressure of any kind on his face. He exhibited his frustration/dislike by throwing his head and nose sky-high to the left while trying to rear and fall over onto his right side. Super lovely. We played with ALL the gadgets so he had to get used to pressure of all sorts while I was on the ground to solve it - chambon, fauxssoa, side reins, etc. We ground drove awhile, too, to help him realize that it isn't the end of the world to listen to the bit and that I'm not going to be unfair unless he's a total complete shit and puts my life in danger.
The most amusing, by far, is when he decides the girth tightening is hot lava and he CAN'T HANDLE IT. He does this sporadically and gets over himself quickly, so I haven't cured it so much as learned to work with it. Basically, as I start tightening the girth, he starts buckling his knees like he's going to fall down (what is with this horse and trying to fall over?) I've learned to step back fast and just let him "fall" if he wants to. Spoiler: He never falls. He kind of goes from a melodramatic, "OHGODTHETRAVESTY I CANT HANDLE IT!" to a "OH FUCK I DON'T ACTUALLY WANT TO FALL WHY DOESN'T SHE CARE ABOUT ME?!" Highly amusing, somewhat obnoxious.
Omg Griffin sounds like such a character 😂 ohhhhh the melodrama! Babies are so fun, aren't they?Delete
I'm thinking a whip is definitely first on my agenda for addressing this particular behavior. Go still means go even if we're in a new or uncomfortable situation, and I set myself up for failure at the show by not having tools to back up my aids -- lesson learned!
What a great thread! I loved seeing others experiences, bc my new leased horse "Molly" randomly spooks/exhibits tension at the oddest times. Sometimes its something obvious like chickens or dogs, sometimes it's the wind??? not sure. Her maneuever is to head sideways and arc her body ...hahaha. I'm hoping it will end soon with more miles and go go go !ReplyDelete
Definitely a lot of really good info in the comments! I think lots of wet saddle pads will help Molly :) you're doing a good job with her!Delete