Laura suggested I walk her down the driveway, the flattest non-muddiest part of the property, to help move some of the fluid around in her foot. So, we ventured through the scary gate and down the driveway. Our walk was short, both in distance and in time, since the pony had a hard time keeping it together. There was lots of freezing and blowing and snorting. But, I remained relaxed and calm and we did go a little ways down and back a few times in a row.
But here's the thing....I think Tessa was trained to face the scary thing and if she can't face the scary thing, to run away. I know some of this is inherent in horses, but I also know it's a popular training method to have them face the scary object, walk up to it, touch it etc. I understand how this might be helpful when you're riding and if your horse TURNS to face the scary object. But when you're going for a walk and your horse gets scared and SPINS to face the object at warp speed, it makes for a dangerous walk. Poor Tess just couldn't handle any noise coming from behind her. She would tuck her tail and try and bolt and spin at the same time. Some folks say to disengage their hindquarters and get them working, but her hindquarters seemed pretty disengaged as she spun frantic circles around me.
So, tell me your brilliant ideas for how to instill bravery in a horse. How exactly do you teach a horse that they do NOT have to face the scary object/noise. I know trust is part of it, but is there more I can be doing. Today, I did not want to do a lot of fancy groundwork that might have aggravated her lame foot any more than it already was, so I just stayed calm until she came down. And when she lowered her head and licked and chewed, I praised her effusively.
Also, she shed off enough hair to make a pony sized sweater.
|Not from today, but a good example of her giraffe neck right before she whirls and bolts.|