Check it Out!
[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]
[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index] [Subject Index]

Re: Panic Attack/Saddling Problems

I've been reading the posts regarding cinchiness and such, and it made
me decide to ask for some advice on the following problem:

My 10 year old mare, Mahriah, is giving me problems when saddling her. 
She has always been the fidgety type (dances around when being
fly-sprayed, and will move back and forth some when trying to pick up
her feet - but this will only last a few seconds and then she stands
still).  But with saddling, she is terrible, and it's getting worse. 
Even putting just the pad on her back is getting to be a challenge
(especially if it is white - anything white seems to scare her).  The
minute I start to raise either pad or saddle to set it on her back, she
jumps to the side and tries to avoid it.  I have never been one to slap
a saddle on a horse's back.  I always lower it gently and place it
there, so I don't think she is anticipating pain.  Once I manage to get
the saddle on, however, she stands there just fine, does not mind being
cinched up or anything.  Doesn't pin her ears, make faces or anything. 
It is just the raising of the pad/saddle in my arms, and putting it over
her back that seems to freak her out.  I don't know why it scares her,
or if it is not even actually scaring her and she's just getting away
with being a brat.

While she was with a trainer, she was doing this and his wife's solution
(who would help him out sometimes) was to "kick her in the belly" to
punish her (her words).  I was pissed when I found out!  I don't think
that kind of treatment is going to solve the problem.  However, I know
this was not the CAUSE of the problem, because she did it before going
to the trainer.

When she came back after 7-8 months with the trainer, she seemed better
- although not perfect - when it came to saddling, maybe because she was
being saddled/unsaddled at least once or twice a day (much more regular
schedule than I give her) or perhaps because he wouldn't take any guff
and let her have it without my knowing.  But now she is getting
progressively worse about it again.  It must be me...  Whether it's my
technique, or maybe I'm not being firm enough and should be getting
after her more for this behavior, I don't know.

Anyway, I don't know what the solution is.  I have tried:

-Yelling "Quit!" to her over and over - she stops for a second until I
try again
-Smacking her shoulder hard until she stands still because she knows
she's in trouble - but then she's nervous from then on which isn't good
-Going more slowly - which seems to get her more suspicious because I'm
"creeping" up on her
-Being totally non-chalant and just swinging it up there - this has
ended with my saddle on the ground..LOL

Nothing seems to work.  I just can't tell if she is avoiding the saddle
because she CAN, or if she is truly panicky about it coming at her,
above her back - maybe her eyesight isn't too great?  Even when I
approach her with it, to let her smell it, she starts dancing around...
??   Like I said, once it's on her, she's totally calm, even if I'm
adjusting equipment, yanking on stuff, unzipping pouches and
loading/unloading them, tying stuff on, etc.

What gives?  And how should I go about desensitizing her to an
"approaching saddle"?

Btw, she also pulls the dancing around from side to side stuff when I
ask her to pick up a foot for me.  This, I am pretty sure, is a game,
because after two or three swishes from side to side, she stops and
picks it up no problem.


    Check it Out!    

Home    Events    Groups    Rider Directory    Market    RideCamp    Stuff

Back to TOC