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Author Topic: calming a horse  (Read 5114 times)
Allpacers
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« on: February 18, 2010, 06:40:33 AM »

maybe someone here can help.  I have a horse that is very nervous.  He gets extremely excited when he gets harnessed and even worse when he is taken to the track.  I feel that this horse would be more competitive if he could relax and not take the race out of himself before the race.  He breaks out in a sweat from nerves in the paddock and is exhausted by the time the race goes off.  Does anyone have any ideas besides to get rid of the horse? 
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OldGreyMare
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 07:51:31 AM »

  the groundwork exercises I do are great for calming and building the confidence of nervous horses.

  There's an exercise I do called flagging.  If I can get my videographer to endure standing in the cold, I'll try to get a video of it so you can see.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 07:56:22 AM by OGM » Report to moderator   Logged

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Suicide_Mare
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2010, 08:35:09 AM »

OGMs gonna give you good tips.  I'll just PM you with a few suggestions about the harnessing and paddocking part.  I take care of a horse that "used to" exhibit most of the behaviors you describe plus pooping up to about 7/8 times in the paddock.  His issue was the "wanting to race part" (a good sign, not necessarily fear).  If you can try to determine if it's fear or being excited that will help determine what to do.
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dingo
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2010, 08:50:58 AM »

I swear by turning them out as much as possible between races. Dr. Green does wonders and the pasture time really legs them up. I also use a B-12 supplement. This also seems to help. Another thing is I never leave their side in the paddock, not even for a minute. Then they really learn to trust you. I have seen other guys put hoods on just in the paddock, not to race. It seemed to help those horses. I have also raced at a few places where they had a few paddock stalls by themselves somewhere for nervous horses. These stalls were away from the noise and confusion.
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handsomeharry76
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2010, 08:57:11 AM »

try wrapping a towel over his eyes

he knows you're there but doesn't see you

worked with one of mine, got him much calmer

stay away from him after he's covered

mine went side to side and was nutty in the paddock, once we covered him he calmed down
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Suicide_Mare
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2010, 08:26:36 PM »

What happened to this thread? -- I sent Allpacers a long PM on tips first thing this morning and nothing back.  Probably busy.  Read this thread to my trainer along with my tips and he said to Post "Just hit them on the noggin with a head pole".  He was kidding, of course.  Thought Handsome Harry's post/approach could be effective short term ... what about long term?  That's how I used to go into the paddock, with a towel over my eyes!

Dingo's post was super as well.  Does the afternoon shift want to chime in?
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tankin
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2010, 09:09:21 PM »

with all due respect ogm,these are not retired race hoerses or dressage horses,your nonsense about ground work is simply a crock of crap and nothing more.
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Suicide_Mare
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2010, 09:13:30 PM »

with all due respect ogm,these are not retired race hoerses or dressage horses,your nonsense about ground work is simply a crock of crap and nothing more.

Hey now, I didn't resurrect this thread for insults.  C'mon now.  I've got the pooping down to about two/three in the paddock down from 7/8.  I could use the advice also.
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handsomeharry76
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2010, 09:14:10 PM »

What happened to this thread? -- I sent Allpacers a long PM on tips first thing this morning and nothing back.  Probably busy.  Read this thread to my trainer along with my tips and he said to Post "Just hit them on the noggin with a head pole".  He was kidding, of course.  Thought Handsome Harry's post/approach could be effective short term ... what about long term?  That's how I used to go into the paddock, with a towel over my eyes!

Dingo's post was super as well.  Does the afternoon shift want to chime in?


my idea worked short and long term

try it

cost effective too, only the cost of a towel which you probably already have
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OldGreyMare
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2010, 09:16:12 PM »

with all due respect ogm,these are not retired race hoerses or dressage horses,your nonsense about ground work is simply a crock of crap and nothing more.

  The problem horses I work with aren't retired racehorses. 
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Mel from Moline
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2010, 09:17:01 PM »

Steady, consistant work, both in the stall and on the track. If you can turn him out early in the morning, that would help also.
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OldGreyMare
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2010, 09:20:42 PM »

Steady, consistant work, both in the stall and on the track. If you can turn him out early in the morning, that would help also.

  Mel gets it 'cause that's exactly what it is.  I got some good video this morning to illustrate exactly what I'm doing.  I'll play with getting it online first thing tomorrow morning... if I get started now I'll end up too aggravated to sleep.
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Suicide_Mare
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2010, 09:23:59 PM »

Good stuff guys -- this was my 2 cents .... comment away.

-  rarely leave them in the paddock
-  stand close and whisper, talk quietly
-  pay attention to the things that the horse does (ears and eyes); acknowledge those things but make light of them by interacting with the horse
-  keep your breathing and heart rate as even as possible
-  wean him/her off your support gradually by standing further away, for longer periods of time, etc.

Maybe we should move this thread to Conditioning/Training?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 09:45:26 PM by Suicide_Mare » Report to moderator   Logged
fairgame
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2010, 09:54:12 PM »

true story

 Had a filly once who was a bundle of nerves in the paddock.  Dance side to side, pop up and down, dig, couldn't stand still for a second. I always paddocked, warmed up and drove my horses all by myself and felt I couldn't leave her for a minute. I used to stand with her and try to keep her calm.  Then one night I had two in so I hired a girl to paddock the filly.  When I came back from warming up the other horse the girl had her all hooked into the bike even though her race was two races away. 

I thought sure this filly would act up and break the bike  but she didn't, she just stode there quietly on the crossties all hooked and she raced great.  After that we always just hooked her right back up after warming her up.

Not necessarily recommending this, just remembered this when I read the thread. 
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Suicide_Mare
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2010, 09:59:13 PM »

true story

 Had a filly once who was a bundle of nerves in the paddock.  Dance side to side, pop up and down, dig, couldn't stand still for a second. I always paddocked, warmed up and drove my horses all by myself and felt I couldn't leave her for a minute. I used to stand with her and try to keep her calm.  Then one night I had two in so I hired a girl to paddock the filly.  When I came back from warming up the other horse the girl had her all hooked into the bike even though her race was two races away. 

I thought sure this filly would act up and break the bike  but she didn't, she just stode there quietly on the crossties all hooked and she raced great.  After that we always just hooked her right back up after warming her up.

Not necessarily recommending this, just remembered this when I read the thread. 

Trying to read between the lines.  Are you thinking the change-up made a difference?

I modified my post above because of length.  But I see horses often stressed by trying to please their trainer.  Is this what you're talking 'bout?
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eggiewon
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2010, 10:42:19 PM »

try giving him some b1 to calm him not b12 that will fire him up more and remember most nervous horses have ulcers trteat him now might help him relax as well if his stomach isnt hurting  dont be afraid to warm him up a couple trips even turn him in 10 or 15 to take the edge off until he learns on his own to relax
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Suicide_Mare
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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2010, 10:53:23 PM »

try giving him some b1 to calm him not b12 that will fire him up more and remember most nervous horses have ulcers trteat him now might help him relax as well if his stomach isnt hurting  dont be afraid to warm him up a couple trips even turn him in 10 or 15 to take the edge off until he learns on his own to relax

Hey eggie ... thanks for the input.  Wouldn't you try one thing at a time like the extra trips first before the vits?
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fairgame
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2010, 08:24:16 AM »

Trying to read between the lines.  Are you thinking the change-up made a difference?

I modified my post above because of length.  But I see horses often stressed by trying to please their trainer.  Is this what you're talking 'bout?

Yes, I would say the change in routine made the idfference but I can't tell you why.  I always was curious to know if this was an isolated case or something that would help other horses as well.  So if the OP wants to satisfy my curiousity then give it a try and let us know.  But I won't take responsibility for you racebike if it gets slammed into the wall.

I would say that if the horse is stressing out trying to please its boss then the boss is not asking in the right way.  I can tell you that I had a horse, draft not standardbred, that was so sensitive I couldn't work on him when I was angry at anyone.  Even if I knew  I was behaving deliberatly outwardly  calm around the horse despite my inner turmoil which worked with most horses he could sense it and would be very jumpy.  And believe me you don't want to work around a jumpy draft who already had issues about his legs being touched.

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Mel from Moline
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2010, 09:24:20 AM »

  Mel gets it 'cause that's exactly what it is.  I got some good video this morning to illustrate exactly what I'm doing.  I'll play with getting it online first thing tomorrow morning... if I get started now I'll end up too aggravated to sleep.



Thank you, thank you very much(Elvis voice).....while Eggie's points are good also, YOU have to be solid, consistant and make the horse believe in YOU. Then he will calm down.
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fairgame
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2010, 10:45:20 AM »

Thank you, thank you very much(Elvis voice).....while Eggie's points are good also, YOU have to be solid, consistant and make the horse believe in YOU. Then he will calm down.

While I absolutely agree that it is important to make the horse believe that you are fearless in the face of perceived dangers and will protect them I'm not sure if that is the dynamic needed here to calm down a horse that essentially is exhibiting stage fright nerves.  Maybe tell him to imagine all of the other horses naked?  J/K

But for horses that are prone to looking for things to spook at rather than try to calm them down with soothing words which I think only makes them feel their fear is justified I usually have more success putting dripping sarcasm in my voice and say something like, "Your kidding, your afraid of THAT?"

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OldGreyMare
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« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2010, 11:59:25 AM »

 I sincerely apologize for that rooster.  He is the bane of my existence right now.  Follows me around and attacks me whenever I'm not paying attention.  Can anyone say "crockpot"?

Here's your videos:

  This one is the basic groundwork you must master before attempting the flag exercise.  I usually do the flag about 10 days in... and it takes me about 3 days to get to the point the horse allows me to touch him with it.  This is the same horse from the 4 part Sending series.  Now been here about a month.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtjbloBjVwQ&feature=channel

  Here's the actual Flagging exercise.  We initially learned this about a week ago and it was quite the rodeo.  Wish I had had the video on for that.  Her first instinct is to fight and she was convinced that plastic bag was going to eat her alive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDfj6Eky3b4


But for horses that are prone to looking for things to spook at rather than try to calm them down with soothing words which I think only makes them feel their fear is justified I usually have more success putting dripping sarcasm in my voice and say something like, "Your kidding, your afraid of THAT?"


 

Fairgame, think this horse has potential for a therapy horse now?  I have another video flagging John's colt.  I'll upload that later.  I would rather KNOW I have the horse's respect and obedience rather than hoping for it.

  I'll be back later if anyone has any questions.  How I actually got this horse to this point?.... well... that info might cost ya.  Cheesy
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 12:06:33 PM by OGM » Report to moderator   Logged

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OldGreyMare
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« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2010, 04:16:07 PM »

  Here's John's colt.  He's a spooky type horse.  Colt skittish.  Took me 3 days, about a week ago, haven't done it since.  This was fresh out of the stall.  You can see he isn't sure and doesn't like it, but he takes it.  I'll build on that slowly.  We have to go to the track soon and it's a pain in the ass having to ask someone to help hook and unhook.  I need my horses to be dependable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-5IHLyNhkA
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fairgame
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« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2010, 05:34:08 PM »

second and third video are marked private.

I never said I thought the horse didn't have potential so I don't know what you mean by NOW.  You know I would like to see more standardbreds make inroads in the therapy world.
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DOUBLE AGENT
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« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2010, 05:48:04 PM »

skin pop b12 1/2 a cc  right under the skin   in the forehead and cheeks ..
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DOUBLE AGENT
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« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2010, 05:48:49 PM »

my bad .... b1
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