Re: Horse scared of jump wings!! Please help needed!
Hi, sorry to hear about what happened to your mare. If you want her do get over her fear, you may want to look up desensitising. It can be a really long process, but it's very rewarding when it works!
You can try putting a wing somewhere that she feels safe and has enough room to move away from it (like in her paddock). I would do it all inhand, because that way you will have more control, and be more of a leader for her (i.e. your inbetween her and what she is afraid of, so you are basically acting as a bodyguard!). Horses always like to approach things they are afraid of at an angle (that way they don't have to spin a full 180 in case the monstrous wing decides to leap up and attack!) so the best way is to just lead her in a full circle around it. Start off a distance away that she is comfortable with, and then close it a little so you are spiralling nearer to the wing.
Anytime she wants to stop and sniff, snort or look at it then let her. Encourage her to take a step in the general direction of the wing, and then walk her away (giving her a break, and rewarding her).. she should eventually realise that everytime she goes in the direction of the scary object, she is allowed to get further away from it. Keep repeating until she can go right up to the wing and stand relaxed beside it.
You may have to change direction of the circle, so that she gets used to it on both sides. The key is not to rush it. Act as though you have all day, and let her take all the time she wants. If she wants to graze near it, then let her. It shows that she is letting her guard down, and when a horse puts its head down it helps them to relax. You can then move the wing to the yard, or arena and do it again until she is happy to touch it with her nose, walk around it and up to it. You can then put up a jump with the wings, and start again from the beginning until she is happily walking over a pole in the middle, and then maybe a small jump.
Once she is completely relaxed, and happily stands in the middle of two wings, then you can progress to riding! The key things are to never rush her, reward every effort by moving away, and take everything in the smallest steps - that way you never have a fight on your hands. If anything goes wrong, go back a step and try again. Its all about building up the confidence.
I hope any of that helps, and that I've explained it all properly. If not then no worries, there are loads of ways to desensitise horses.
Best of luck! xx
P.s. forgot to say, when you ride her to the wings, start off circling it again in walk, and letting her sniff it etc. and take her time like you would inhand. I would then only walk over jumps, until you are sure she is completely confident, before you go into trot or canter!