I had a few horse training questions. I recently adopted a four/five year old walker mare. She is a real beauty and knows all her gaits, however she has a very short attention span. I have been doing a lot of round pen work with her. She keeps her focus on you for a few seconds and then looks over the rail when going around the pen. She will ‘join up’ decently but as soon as you pat her she’ll turn her head away from you. She also thinks she’s an arabian. Her name is Lark, and shes a good horse but she does brace her legs whenever she hears a loud noise or something ‘scary’. I have been doing many trust games with her but she still seems to have horse ADD. Can you suggest anything for me to try with her?
Rach Y. , Wilmore, Kentucky
Thanks for the question. Sorry for the slow reply, been really busy and have not had a chance to get to many questions.
I would put her on a long line in the round pen. Just round pen her like normal but every time she looks to the out side give a soft tug on the lead line to get her head back straight, then let the lead go soft again, if you do this with consistence and repetition she will stop putting her head to the out side. Also make sure that you are not to close to her or to far in front of her shoulder. This can make a horse turn their head out. You want to be walking a small circle in the center of the pen with your hip in line with her hip and your toes going the same way her toes are going. When she does come to you pet her, then if she leaves hold her there with the lead line and give her more long soft rubs or itch her favorite spot, she will learn fast to stay with you doing it this way. Some people say that when they leave you send them off and make them work. And this does work with some horses. But not usually with a more hot horse. If you try to do that with a hot horse they just get more and more wound up. Help them a little with a lead line and they will end up being calmer and more willing.
It sounds as though she needs lots of desensitizing also. Remember to have them follow the thing first and then let them smell it do not force it on them, make it their idea to come up to it by taking it away from them.
Hope this helps,