Sunday, February 3, 2013

Breaking Bad Habits

I had been riding Secret at home after several wild rides around the farm. In case you missed the earlier post - you can read more about that at "You Don't Scare Me, I Ride A Mare."

I was originally going to take her to Vermont on January 19th for the 15-mile CDR, but then had a funeral to attend that day. When I found out about the funeral, I gave her a month off.

Today, my brother said he was going for a ride over the hill and asked if I wanted to go with him. I hadn't ridden Secret in a full month, but decided to take a chance and tacked her up. We've ridden with Scout at quite a few rides and his calm demeanor and generally good behavior is good for her confidence. I thought following him around the farm would be a good way to start breaking her habit of spooking and then growing roots when we ride around the farm.

True to form, Secret was really good for the majority of the ride, following Scout on a loose rein. She had a few little mare-isms where she bucked and spun simultaneously, but focused again really well. And considering that I hadn't ridden her in a month, it was hard to decide whether to blame the isms on the time off or previous bad behavior.

I'm going to ride her around the farm the next few times with Tim, and see if we can't break her bad habits for good. I don't think she's truly scared, I think she got scared once (okay, so a plastic bag whipping by at warp speed is slightly nerve wracking...) and has wound herself up and made herself even more scared. I know a lot of horses that behave worse at home (not just mine!), but that is one habit we don't need to continue.