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spooky mare

I have a mare that will be five in April, she has been on the trail since
she has been three and a half. When she turned four we went to a trail
clinic for NATRC and she has been to two rides since then. We normally
ride at least three times a week,all over the place, different trails.She
has spooked with me less than a handfull of times( the kind of spooking
that startles the rider) she balks at unfamilar things UNLESS she is at a
trot or faster.Since the beginning of Jan. When we go on the trail (three
times a week) she has done the kind of spooking that could eventually
unseat me, and she is doing it ALL THE WAY DOWN THE TRAIL!!! What's up
with that??? She has never been the type of horse that I felt was unsafe
and always felt she was very surefooted.Yesterday on the trail we were
going uphill around the bend and there was a cliff on the left side, as
she started to go around the bend there were railroad ties on either side
of the trail for errosion control. She spun to the RIGHT her front end
went UP the hill and her back end SLID down the hill, luckly she was able
to lunge herself and my butt up the hill, needless to say we went the
other way. Her spooking manner has seemed to change, she would usually
stop or mabey a small flinch and few and far between, now every rock,
change in the color of the brush, limb on the ground and sometimes on the
trees will freak her out! We were taking dressage lessons and it seems now
that her head is in a more down position that she notices everything! If
she would spook I usually would ignore it and keep going, now I feel like
I should let her look at it, I think that would give her the feeling that
we should check it out because I'm not sure about it either. ( I don't
want her to think that)The reason I have sone that recently is because the
spooks are so big compared to the usual. Like I mentioned before, she
would be much better going down the trail in a nice extended trot, but now
I am feeling so timid on her I can't let her go faster than a fast walk.
If someone could put some exper input in I would would like to see what
you have to say. I am wondering if herbs would help take the edge off. I
know they help me. Patti

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