PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Interupt that Negative Fear Behavior?

I’ve not been able to get Sue to circle online without her going into the fear zone. Even the “S” turn manuever gets her riled up and rigid. She gets deep into fear before we hit the “S” of the turn and doesn’t recover too much when we managed our direction change. She’s sort of like a freight train to try to get turned and going the other way.

I’ve been doing half circles on the wall and that has worked reasonably well to interupt that fear.

BUT Tonight..we played the most wonderful game.

I made a circle of 4 barrels. I had the 22′ rope. I directed Sue to walk to each barrel and when she touched it with her nose, I gave her release. (I turned away.) She also thinks when she paws the barrel, that is the game. So we had a lot of pawing barrels and touching them going on.

I took the game up one emotional notch. But first I put a treat on each barrel. I asked her to trot to a barrel. Her fear level rises, she tries to pull away. She comes close to a barrel and I manage to slow her down. She stops at the barrel and finally discovers the treat. The game is on. Her fear still comes up and when she doesn’t stop at a barrel, she gets to keep going or start over again if she stops too far away from the barrel. (I’m making up the rules as we go.)

After a while, she stops at a barrel and released a ton of fear by blowing her nose, shaking her head and lowering her head. We rested for a long time with that one.

I had her go around and pick up one more round of treats. She lowered her head almost down to the ground at each barrel (after she found the treat) and became a relaxed little cow pony looking horse instead of a high headed intense horse.

After we were done with that, she helped me put away all the barrels. She followed me all over the arena at liberty.

It was a good night for Susan and the How Do You Do horse called Sue!

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