Monday, April 23, 2012

Chasing Demons

Once I conquered the issue of my horses wanting to race for home, I moved on to chasing their demons away. The farm has a lot of scary things, at least as far as my horses are concerned. Secret worries about the farm equipment, strange noises (welders, air brakes etc) coming from farm machinery and buildings, and the trucks that are parked around the farm. Her method of handling these situations is to turn and retreat quickly when faced with something scary. I used to try and push her through it, but that wasn't really working.

This year, I have been letting her take her time to look at everything and move forward when she is ready. This is working a lot better for her, and we're slowly overcoming the fearful things around the farm. She is still nervous about the farm machinery, but we are getting there.

John is afraid of many things, but mostly as an excuse or because he is trying to avoid work. At least that is my theory. John's biggest demon is small birds. The ones he could knock unconscious with a swish of his tail. In the past these birds have been cause for leaps to the side and galloping the other direction. One of these birds was the cause of my unplanned dismount last September, and resulted in us missing the Warren Tessier Competitive Trail Ride. Since I believe he's not truly afraid of the birds, I decided to take a different approach to getting him over his phobia. We've been doing a lot of transitions and just trying to get him on the aids and responding to me. This is working, his reactions are not as overblown as they used to be. He still jumps to the side, but now he stops and stands. He has a few other demons we are working on, but progress is being made. It will be interesting to see how this all translates to a competitive trail ride. Hopefully it is positive!

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