Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Shying Mare

First, my update. I did ride 3 times this week, and my trainer rode twice. I also lost a pound. Not great but an improvement. How's everyone else doing?

Another thing, the publishing industry is in dire straits right now (as is most of the country). Consider giving books for Christmas. They're great gifts, travel well, last a long time, and there's something for everyone.

I mentioned in a previous post that my mare is driving me NUTS with her shying. This happens every year in the winter. The rest of the year, she's fine. She picks a corner and absolutely freaks over it. It's not always the same corner either. This year my barn added muck buckets and manure forks to each corner so we could clean up our poop when we finish riding. I knew I was in deep do-do when I saw those in the corners. I was right. For the past month, I have spent a good portion of each ride working on getting my mare in the corners, or even the end of the arena. I was losing patience. My trainer was losing patience. We haven't been able to work on anything other than that. So much for flying changes or half passes. I can't even ge the %^$$^ mare in the corners.

Believe me, we tried everything. I even tried a suggestion from my friend who does natural horsemanship. Back up every time she balks in the corner and keep backing. Well, it made sense because backing is harder than going forward. Not with this mare. She'll back around the entire arena all day long.

Finally, Kari, my trainer, suggested a possible solution she's used before. I hung a bucket in the "shying" corner and put grain in it. Every few times we went by that corner, I'd half pass her to the bucket and let her have a taste of grain. My mare is a PIG. Loves her grain. Needless to say, she's no longer shying in the corner. She wants to go in the corner and is now actually going too deep in the corners.

Today she gets clipped for the winter, which actually makes her unsually hot and forward thinking. I guess I'd better remember to hang on.

What odd solutions have any of you used for an on-going problem?


mugwump said...

I had a "spook corner" in our indoor many years ago. I fed my mare in that corner for days. I like your solution better.

Anonymous said...

My horse, Gunner, was/is a huge spook. Unfortunately for me, he wasn't very predictable. It'd be a tarp one day and some other thing the next. I wish he'd had a corner I could have fed him in. I don't know if I would have thought of your solution for myself, Jami, but it makes a lot of sense. Right now I'm riding a pretty steady critter, so don't have too many spooking issues, but I'll remember your idea for future reference.

Mary Paine said...

Topper had some chronic problems in the left front leg and my trainer kept thinking it was problems with his shoes. It was intermittent, but I wasn't quite comfortable with the 'shoes' diagnosis.

Anyway, I did get a second opinion and it turned out Topper had a cyst on his cannon bone. We sent films up to Cornell, but there was too much degenerative arthritis around the cyst so it wasn't operable.

I've always felt badly that I didn't get the second opinion sooner and maybe we'd have caught it before the arthritis set in. On the other hand, he was very happy in retirement and still jumped his heart out (usually out of his pasture) when he felt like it.

I'll keep my fingers crossed the lameness resolves for Krissy. Our horses are definitely beloved members of our families!