|TWH 3 yrs old ridden in wonder bit and western
saddle in round pen, arena, trails by advanced beginner
Question: I have a two year old I trained myself. I show her in trail
classes, and flat shod. I also trail ride. Last winter when we had lots
of puddles. We started with mom leading
Two rides back, I was following moms horse, and mom crossed a very small slow moving creek. (3 ft wide and pastern deep. My filly flat out refused. We worked with her for about an hour, and mom ended up leading her back and forth through the water. She was quiet and happy when we quit.
Last time I took her to the crossing spot, she again refused. My mom wasn't there, and my friend and I couldnt pony, lead, or urge her across in any way. After a long fight she was getting too upset and I didnt want her to get hurt or me to get hurt so we went home.
How can I fix this. I know that I should have made her go through,
but I couldn't do it then.
From Panelist Liz
It sounds like mom is the element in this case that needs to be addressed. With this horse I would teach it to do what I asked because I ask with out mom. I would do this with many different exercises such as walking on wet dirt at home first. Use the treat again if you have to. Even if she side steps it several times first, but if she will put just one foot on the wet spot reward with a treat or positive words and a rub on the neck. Ask her to walk over ground poles, weave cones, walk through 2 close trees but always reward her for doing the task. You may have to do all this from the ground first and then apply it from there back of your horse.
Do it a home so you are not caught out with no help in a sticky situation that you can not win the lesson applied. Then start doing these small things out on the trail but I would not get in a spot you can not win or this will not improve and will come in to other areas of teaching.
From Panelist Carol
First of all, let me compliment you on putting your own safety and the safety of your horse above your goal of crossing the puddle. No, you should'nt have "made" her do it, because you can't make a horse do much.
Now for the problem: Is she
confident just approaching the puddle to a point where she could cross
it? That needs to come first, then let me say that i'm not all that
crazy about trying to motivate horses with treats because their concern
for their own safety will win out over the treat every time. If the
puddle dries up, it may be productive to ride her to the spot and let her
hang out there. I'm try ing to communicate principles of training
here, because your situation will differ each time. Try to create
a similar, but less taxing situation, and work her through that.
You must establish your self as your horse's leader before she can trust
you in a difficult situation.
Carol Camp Tosh
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