17 January 2008 17:18
My seven-year-old 15hh Welsh x TB mare is difficult to hack out alone – she’s reluctant to go forward and gets tense. If something comes towards her she’ll stop and stare and her heart pounds so hard I can feel it through the saddle. In company she’s fine.
By Your Horse
Instructor Alison Ritchie says…
Part of this behaviour could just be her character. Some people are naturally more on edge than others, but they can boost their confidence with positive thinking, and horses are the same.
If she’s better hacking with others then keep this up. The more she goes out and is exposed to the things she’s nervous of, the more desensitised she should become. Hack in good company, with horses that are quiet and sensible and will give your horse reassurance. When you hack alone, keep the rides short – try riding the same route a few times so it becomes familiar and she relaxes a bit more.
School at home in the arena if you have one, and do lateral work – this can be done from the floor – to teach her to go sideways better. Under saddle, again teach her to go sideways obediently so once you’re on the road she obeys in the same way. Ideally, teach her shoulder in as is useful when riding out on roads.
Remember too that if it’s windy or the sun’s low in the sky (casting more shadows), a normally placid ride will be more exciting! So choose your hacking days sensibly. Be patient, encourage her forward progressively, and if needs be, let her stop and look.