At the moment I have recently taken on two horses for behavioral rehab. I have had each of them for nearly 1 month now. What have I learnt? Well for starters, nothing has been as it seemed. The horse that started off with impeccable behavior that made me question where the bad was is now an utter shit and the other that started off clearly mentally challenged is very well behaved. Each has now done a complete switch around.
Horse A's issues: does not like to be mounted from a mounting block, twists, spins and moves to avoid you getting on; once on the horse, it will rush off and what I like to call 'rodeo'. In 4 weeks this horse will now stand reasonably well at the mounting block, albeit with some fidgeting and although it feels like it will go in to rodeo, it has not for some time. The cause ? Yes, this horse does have some behavior issues, its been in a large number of different homes in just the last 6 months, it has no trust of its rider and doesn't know what's going to happen when the rider jumps on - hence it just avoids the rider at all costs.
How to treat? Build trust with the horse, bring on slowly - repeat, repeat, repeat. Hopefully in time this horse will let me hop on and trot in to the distance without issue but my feeling is that this horse will never be just anyone's ride. It will always be distrustful of someone new and will only really be suited to a one 2 one rider situation. And you know what, that's fine, because what you get out of this horse will be just awesome, it jumps like a stag and moves at the touch of a button. My feeling is that in time, this horse will be hugely worth it.
OK, so horse B. This one has not quite followed suit. It has a rearing habit that is not in any way discreet. You get on, go to leave the yard and it rears, or does a vertical as my mum has called it. Most people call this napping, the horse does not wish to leave its herd (as my good friend tells me). And that is pretty accurate, its unsure in its surroundings, would rather be at home with his friends and lets me know succinctly by refusing to leave the yard unless we have a long discussion.
So, do we leave the yard? Yes, we do. It takes a long time but eventually he comes around to the agreement that leaving the yard is in fact a good idea and no need for the vertical. As it happens, yesterday we had less disagreements than usual and I can only see this as progress. XC schooling he was an absolute legend. This horse needs to realize that life outside of the herd is fun too and that verticals need to be unlearned, so off I go at teaching this.
Roll on the bludy spring !!!