Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Abject miserable failure

The day started out so well. I was super psyched about the cold spell breaking and planning a full week of working the horses everyday. I turned them out this morning and the weather was gorgeous. I got back to the barn after work and the temps were still quite comfortable. A great day to lunge the quarters.

I took Coriander out first and lunged him. He was a little rusty at first but generally really good. I'm going to keep lunging him on and off so he can learn the canter cue which will make it easier when I try to get it under saddle.

Then I took Gwen out. All seemed fine at first, she was at least walking around me, even though it was impossible to get her attention off the door. She was starting to cut the turns a little too tight so I took her back in the barn and got my lunge whip so I could have something to push her out with (sometimes poking her in the shoulder works). MISTAKE! We got back in the indoor, she spooked at something, and it was all over. Pyscho Gwen had entered the building. Me, being a complete frigging idiot, got in a fight with her. She would not stop, not even for treats, and then she started trying to jump on top of me. I tried throwing an elbow into her to get her off me, and she completely ignored it. She got more and more upset and hysterical until she finally pulled the lunge line out of my hands and high tailed it for the barn. I think she managed to break my finger in the process, which is my own stupid fault, I should have been paying more attention to keeping the line from wrapping around my hand.

What's the lesson here? As soon as I realized I had Psycho Gwen I should have thrown in the towel, getting in a battle only hurts our relationship. Then I have to try and repair the damage from fighting with her. For the next 45 minutes I gave her a gentle massage, possibly broken finger and all, until she finally starting putting her head down and relaxing.

Does anyone reading this have advice for dealing with an extremely herd bound horse? I cannot get her full attention, ever, even with treats. My barn owner says she's the clingiest horse she's ever seen. She throws a massive fit every time the horse next to her in the barn is taken out and she will literally climb the walls for as long as that horse is gone. It doesn't matter whether the horse is gone for thirty minutes or two hours, she'll work herself into a foaming sweat and rubs the hair off her neck until she's bleeding raking against the door. It's completely neurotic. So if anyone has advice I'll gladly take it.


  1. Holy crap! You were lucky you weren't hurt worse! You know I am not an expert, but there was a woman at the place were I first started taking lessons. Her horse had a curtain drawn across the top of the stall door. She said that her horse got anxious with the activity going on the barn. In the beginning, she started by closing it part way, then a little more, a little more each time he entered the stall. If you peeked into the stall, he would be sleeping! Is this something that is appropriate for this type of situation???

  2. Hmm, I dunno. Was he anxious because he felt like all that activity was infringing on his personal space? Because she's the opposite, the more horses there are around her the more comfortable she is. I think she'd have the curtain down and trampled in seconds. That's a really interesting tactic though.