Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Too much, too soon

So first the good. Coriander and I went on our first bareback ride today since the move and he was great! He spooked a couple times but nothing big, on the whole he was very relaxed and it was a fun ride.

After that I decided to take Gwen on trail walk #2. It started off well, she walked past the horse-eating canoe again with nary a glance and it didn't take many one rein stops at all to get her to walk next to me instead of ahead of me.

All was going well until I decided to have a "bright idea." Like a lot of so-called bright ideas, this one was less than bright. My bright idea was to take her around the property next door, where the big boarding/lesson barn is. To get there we have to walk through a section of woods, a first for Gwen. So, of course, we spooked a deer in the woods- prompting Gwen to do her best giraffe impression. She was very upset by it but was keeping herself pretty well under control despite her fear. Even though she was already worked up, I decided to press on anyway.

As you've all probably guessed already it didn't go very well. I was expecting her to be a little spooky anyway, but the nutty horse running around the round pen screaming his head off certainly didn't help. Poor Gwen just couldn't calm down; she ran circles galore around me. I finally wrangled her back over to her pasture but she refused to stand still to let me unfasten the gate. Worse she clocked me in the head with her jaw more than once. Once I got her in the pasture she finally stopped moving long enough for me to get the halter off and then tore across the field to get back to her herd.

Ugh, why do I always have to learn lessons the hard way? Too much, too soon, silly human! After I got over my anger about being nearly brained, I did some hard thinking about what had just happened. Was it her fault that her fear blinders came out? No, I put her in that situation, the fault was mine. Knowing that, what am I going to do about it? Dial it down! We need to stay much closer to her pasture for a while and do a lot more grazing than marching. When she's calm and relaxed enough to graze in the back field furthest from the herd it will be time to visit next door again, but not sooner.

Maybe she just felt I needed to have some sense knocked into me!


  1. Getting knocked in the head with a horses jaw really hurts, been there done that more than once. Usually, just standing outside the stall too. Anyway, I think you've got the right idea with Gwen, a little at a time, even if it's just a few steps more a day until she builds her confidence. Glad Coriander was good and you had a nice ride.

  2. I've done that push too far thing myself! Hope the head butts don't hurt too much - that can be painful. Hopefully next trip will be less far and more successful!

  3. Poor Gwen....poor you! Ouch! I have been clocked once and it brought tears to my eyes. Your ride on Coriander balances out the bad with the good. :-)

  4. Yesterday was one of those days I was glad to have two horses, now when they both have a bad day...

    Tonight I'll keep to the KISS method (keep it simple, stupid) and see how it goes.