When we first picked her up it took quite some time to catch her. She was turned out all winter with other horses and didn't want any part of being approached more less caught. One thing you gotta know about horses is they are herd animals and if they want to avoid you they will use the herd to do it. When we finally caught her she loaded right onto the trailer like a champ. Right then and there I decided to keep her by herself once she came home. In her new pasture she can see the geldings but not run with them because now I want to be all she's got! Horses naturally want to be part of a group so in order to build a connection with her quickly I wanted to be her only group member that way she would have a hard time avoiding me.
The beginning of her training was pretty ugly. Fancy was beyond skittish, scared of everything and wouldn't let you near her head. Her go-to response was constantly flinging her hind end in your face which in horse talk is a BIG MIDDLE FINGER! It was slow going but persistence and consistency finally paid off. Now I can touch her all over her body and head, catch her, groom her, saddle her and ride her. The ground work on the line is crucial, not only for her training advancement but also her confidence. A scared horse means trouble sooner or later. For me it came a bit later. It's the third or fourth ride that usually melts down if it's gonna. The first few rides are novel, you're feeling good, they are feeling good but about the third or fourth ride your horse starts to realize you aren't going away and that is usually when the shenanigans start. Fancy has two avoidance go to's: rearing up on her hind legs or dropping her head like she is going to buck. Personally I am not much up for either one because neither ends well for me or her, back to the ground work we go.
We came to understand that she might be accommodating under saddle but she was still very scared of the whole process. She wasn't freed up enough to really move out and she was scared to death to canter on her own much less with me on her back so going back to the ground work helped free her up and build her confidence. She has an adorable, smooth as silk trot so I wanted to build her confidence at the canter to allow her to move out with confidence. The work is paying off she is finally moving out beautifully on the line, changing gaits and directions like a pro. I know she feels really good about herself and I also believe she now has the confidence to carry me at those gaits. We will continue to build on her forward motion and her confidence in herself in order to build on her training.
Sometimes we have to step back, understand our fears and address them. Hiding in a crowd never lets you achieve your goals or dreams. Ask yourself...what are your fears? When do you hide in a crowd? and maybe just maybe if you are "all you got" you will find the confidence to build your own personal greatness! Giddy up! Cowgirls and boys!
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Love and horseshoes