Reply To: Fear of crops, whips, etc.

pheets pheets
Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

Try this with an air of obliviousness attached to it (if YOU don’t make an issue of it, Maress MIGHT eventually let it go as well, be the consummate actress!): Change up your approach and desired goal. Sometimes and generally speaking, to get to B from A, one must go thru C first. Present yourself as her defender instead of directly trying to make her make nice with an arch enemy while it is in your hand/on your person. Take HER side! She currently sees YOU as part of the problem: your current approach puts you on the whip’s side, ergo, earning her trust with it is greatly inhibited.. Can’t always change the form of the ‘enemy’ (but you can eliminate the threat part), a whip will always be a whip, but you CAN change the attitude and focus about it.

Throw the whip on the ground somewhere in her paddock (NOT where her hay is placed or at the gate, yet, and definitely NOT in her stall) and leave it there (buy a cheapie for this purpose as it WILL be trashed). First place it where she can see it yet avoid it. As she adjusts, creep it closer to a place where she will HAVE to deal with it yet still leave it on the ground. Throw a leadshank, a bell boot, and old beat up halter or some [durable] things she ISn’t fearful of out there, too…ok, maybe no eggs: baby steps are good : D). Walk her past it on the way to her stall or where-ever, clearly ignoring it. Let her investigate on her own time.

Giggle and smirk all you want about this but initially stomp on it and show her that it is ‘dead’. Eliminate the threat. She will understand this action. She is an Arabian so sharper than some others but mare moot, most horses live in just-in-case-ville, just in case… some are just more sensitive than others. The instincts drive from the same place in all genders. Take the initiative, be the ‘protectour’ and eliminate what she sees as a threat: “kill’ the whip, leave it for dead. This is only ONE of many ways to prove an item as a non-threat. Appeal to her psyche: separate yourself from the whip, she sees whip and person as one item. Make it two: one ‘dead’, the other a trusted defender : ) That 800-1200 lb body is operated exclusively by a two pound brain. Stroke the thought process, body will follow by default.

Once, and IF, she gets casual about it, then pick up the whip and put it away where she can see it but doesn’t have to deal with it. THEN, pet yourSELF with it while she is nearby. SHOW her it is soft, inanimate, a non-threat when combined with YOU.. Prove to her that YOU will make the whip behave. Let her come to the whip, do not take it to her. Make it a part of you without using it, tie it to your leg or whatever you have to. Needless to say, if she shows interest, make slow, micro moves. If she fears, back up a step or two. As she gets braver, invite her, appeal to her curiosity. Slather it in applesauce and molasses, whatever piques her interest if you have to. Then cookies for showing interest, of course : ) I know this all likely sounds cartoonish but trust me: She only speaks horse. She only has you for clarity. We all have to learn more horsespeak. At best, we speak ragged English, maybe a little other ; )

As much as you feel you don’t have a lot of time, she deserves what you have if you are going to own her. Patience and a casual approach will save time. IF time really is that much of an issue for you, you might have to accept that whips are not an option for your partnership, and design a different programme of activities for her. Not all horses are capable of nor is it necessary that they be proficient and perfect in all things at all times. It IS ok to draw a line sometimes, even smart. Humans can shift more easily and farther than animals. We deny our instincts constantly. Horses, and the rest of Nature, do not.

Good luck, Joe-Joe, be safe : )

Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.