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  1. #11
    Old nag Red-1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Horse struggling with show atmosphere?

    Quote Originally Posted by littlen View Post
    Thanks everyone.

    She is a very nervous sort at home....

    ...I struggle to tack her up and load/unload by myself as she’s such a silly creature.

    .... She is good hacking in company but is on her toes alone..

    I have no idea how people have these amazing looking 4yos in a consistent outline as mine looks like a typical rushing head in the air panicky baby!

    I am nervous taking her places as I know she has a tendency to explode, maybe I’m the one that needs to calm down
    I think the key to the issue is in the extracts above. Until she finds peace in her home environment then she will not find peace at a show.

    The 4 year olds you speak of have gained peace at home. It is no good rushing around with head in the air. Once a horse has the basics of being able to be mounted and walk where necessary on a loose contact then she needs to be educated as to how to find peace ridden. Peace to me means finding the release from contact.

    Your horse never finds that place of peace, so needs taking back. I would start from on the floor, even in a halter, and teach her to yeild to pressure. Start with a step back, using a whip to tickle, and a light pressure on the halter. Once she steps back from the light tapping (give her time to work it out) then I would use the light pressure on the halter first, then the tap, until she learns to step back from the light pressue alone.

    I would then swap the halter for a bit, once she is consistent, and use the same procedure, until she steps back from a light pressure on the bit alone.

    Next is the exciting bit, I would continue with asking util she relaxes the jaw, and then take the pressure away. She should soon learn the relax the jaw and step back from a light pressure on the bit.

    Once this is all good then mount up and do it again, until when mounted she will relax the jaw on taking up of the pressure. Then do the same at walk. She will soon learn the response to rein pressure is to relax the jaw.

    I would stay in walk until she is consistent. Then I would go to trot, but only few steps at a time, as in go into trot, take the pressure and if she relaxes release and walk.

    Trotting round with her rushing and tense is not going to make her relaxed at home or at a show.

    The fact that she is good to hack in company but not alone is also indicative that she is not finding peace with you, instead taking comfort from her mate.

    Finally I think you are right to be nervous of taking her places as she has the tendency to explode. I believe the tendency to explode will decrease once she has found peace in her work with you, so she can relax.
    Last edited by Red-1; 18-01-18 at 08:55 AM.

  2. #12

    Default Re: Horse struggling with show atmosphere?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red-1 View Post
    Finally I think you are right to be nervous of taking her places as she has the tendency to explode. I believe the tendency to explode will decrease once she has found peace in her work with you, so she can relax.
    Good post from Red-1, definitely agree with a lot of that - the only thing I would question is the phrase above ^^

    You possibly don't mean it the way it came across to me - I would not say the OP is right to be *nervous*. I think the OP should be *cautious*, that is different. The problem with being nervous is that even when the horse has settled at home and is ready to go out and try her work in a different place, it's very easy to remain in that nervous frame of mind which won't help this anxious horse.

    I'm cautious with my new one, she is explosive BUT if I ride nervously I can't get her attention back as quickly as I need to to prevent the explosions. So I need to be authoritative to her, but consider the situations I put her in at this point. We are getting out to quiet arenas and doing the work she's familiar with at the moment, while she learns to just get on with it. If it looks like something is going to tip her over the edge then we step back until she's ready to carry on again.

  3. #13
    Old nag Red-1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Horse struggling with show atmosphere?

    Quote Originally Posted by milliepops View Post
    Good post from Red-1, definitely agree with a lot of that - the only thing I would question is the phrase above ^^

    You possibly don't mean it the way it came across to me - I would not say the OP is right to be *nervous*. I think the OP should be *cautious*, that is different. The problem with being nervous is that even when the horse has settled at home and is ready to go out and try her work in a different place, it's very easy to remain in that nervous frame of mind which won't help this anxious horse.

    I'm cautious with my new one, she is explosive BUT if I ride nervously I can't get her attention back as quickly as I need to to prevent the explosions. So I need to be authoritative to her, but consider the situations I put her in at this point. We are getting out to quiet arenas and doing the work she's familiar with at the moment, while she learns to just get on with it. If it looks like something is going to tip her over the edge then we step back until she's ready to carry on again.
    Although I agree in principal that there is a difference between being nervous and cautions, the way i see it is that if you don't know what is wrong then you are right to be nervous. Cautious implies, to me, that you have some indication as to what the problem is and can therefore be cautious to proceed with the correct action.

    I have helped ton of nervous clients, and the way we move from nervous to cautious is by helping them to understand the problem and then put into place a plan, which we can then be cautious when implementing.

    If you have no idea when or why explosive behaviour is occurring the only way to be cautious is to avoid any situation where the behaviour is occurring. OP has not known why the behaviour is occurring, but has gone anyway, and therefore, without the idea of what is causing it or how to avoid it, is right to be nervous.

    Being nervous is a self defence mechanism to keep us from danger, after all.
    Last edited by Red-1; 18-01-18 at 10:29 AM.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Horse struggling with show atmosphere?

    Thank you everyone.

    Interestingly she can and sometimes does give me some lovely work st home. However it depends on what sort of mood she’s in, she’s very much jeckle and Hyde although she has improved so much over the past 6 months to the point she’s like a different pony. It’s just this last bit to crack.

    I can handle her much better now, she used to walk allover me however comes to call and is happy to be handled and moved around now. She does hack very well in company and is happy in front leading the ride, she will go out alone but is not happy if she sees a horse hence I don’t hack her alone as I think if I met a horse it would be a disaster, nothing else bothers her.

    I will try the relax the jaw idea thanks red.

    I am nervous taking her out I suppose! Last time she was relaxed and calm until a horse cantered near her and she basically exploded, I think she had managed to contain it for a time and this was the thing that tipped her over the edge!

    I really am feeling the pressure to crack on with her given her age however I know she’s not the sort of pony that can be rushed so I’m sort of wanting to get on but unable to if that makes sense?

  5. #15
    Veteran scats's Avatar
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    Default Re: Horse struggling with show atmosphere?

    I think with some its just repetition and perseverance, make going out a normal and regular thing.

    I had a welsh x TB who was an absolute horror at new venues. The only time I've been properly bolted with was on this horse, two hours after arriving at a showground, i finally got on as he had seemingly chilled out and we walked up the showground towards the warm up, with my dad on foot beside us, and the horse spun and bolted.

    What cured him really was going lame and needing about 12 trips to hospital over a 4 month period. By the end of this he was perfect to take out! The first few times at the hospital, however, he was a total nightmare.
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  6. #16
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    Default Re: Horse struggling with show atmosphere?

    I have an unpredictable Welsh mare. I can absolutely guarantee that if I'm nervous and riding so, she will be a horror !! If i am not nervous she's usually fine. If I'm nervous, I'm signalling to her that there is something to be nervous of and she literally looks for the supposed problem and acts up. In the end I saw a sports psychologist to help me control my negative thoughts. It worked a treat !

  7. #17
    Veteran nikkimariet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Horse struggling with show atmosphere?

    Ear plugs, lined fly hats, calmers etc... They're not a cure but they can help to break the repetitive cycle.

    I used to do a double warm up with Fig - get him off the lorry well in advance, stretch for 10-20 mins. Back on lorry for 10-20 etc. Then get him out for his actual warm up.

    With a young horse always worth keeping on top of teeth back saddle etc. They change so quickly.
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  8. #18
    Sport horse Four Seasons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Horse struggling with show atmosphere?

    Try to control your breathing, that way you control your heart rate. The faster your heart is beating (you might not even notice it), the more nervous your horse becomes. Horses can sense/feel a humans heart beat and will think something is about to happen if you are nervous. Start with controlling your breathing, 4 seconds to breathe in, 4 seconds for breathing out. You can make it 3 seconds if 4 is stretching it a bit. As soon as you're feeling nervous, try this for at least 30 seconds. If you are calm, your horse will have less tendency to become nervous.

  9. #19

    Default Re: Horse struggling with show atmosphere?

    Have you done many group lessons? They tend to be useful for young horses as they give exposure to new venues and worKing in groups with more control than some warm ups and less pressure than competing for the rider.

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