Drama Queen

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Andi 4 years, 9 months ago.

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  • Andi Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    I have an OTTB I have had over 5 years. When she gets flustered or impatient, she has a massive meltdown. It is always in the middle of a flat class at a show. Any suggestions, or is this one more “mare” thing?

    ShaeStuart ShaeStuart
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 5

    Explain the meltdowns, does she stop and refuse to move, buck, etc.? Horses don’t learn things instantly, like humans. They need practice. Now that doesn’t mean you should practice a flying lead change every time you cross the ring because then your horse will begin to do these things before you ask, which is not what you want. (Say you’re practicing poles on the diagonal, you don’t want your horse switching her lead before the pole because I’m sure you know that is very frowned upon in the hunter and equitation rings.) Anyway, just be patient, but don’t let her get away with it. If she gets flustered, don’t force her to do what you were working on, but try something easy. Make her trot nicely away from her meltdown (use a crop if you need to). Then try whatever you were working on once again. If she gets flustered, trot away and pat her once she’s going nicely. You want to end on a good note so you don’t end the ride frustrated (your horse will be too). When she realizes she’s doing something right, and she knows that listening to you (asking her to trot) will earn her a pat. Soon she will do as you ask. Once she’s going well at home, take her to a show. Maybe the show atmosphere makes her nervous, but that could just be a mare thing that she doesn’t like being around other horses.

    "The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears."

    Andi Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    Her meltdowns consist of “airs above the ground” maneuvers, such as launching into the air and bucking. Forward movement isn’t necessarily the problem, as she is very forward at these times. Once the melting begins, its very difficult to get her rational again. I agree she needs practice dealing with frustration, she just tends to get frustrated over silly things that she knows, like “whoa”. Wondering if you have suggestions for the anxiety she seems to have…

    Dragon Tea Dragon Tea
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 18

    Try SmartCalm Ultra (not regular). It gives the horses a happy in mind feeling so they are less likely to act up. My horse is much happier on it. The regular smart calm doesn’t give him the happy ingredient.

    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 16

    I like your quote about the wind

    Enjoy your ride,

    GHFrider GHFrider
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 32

    FWIW, my OTTB/Paint never got over the OT part of her life, and I had her for more than 18 years. Remember that on the track, horses only go into a small pen like a warm-up ring or the like just before they go to the gate. My vet’s wife, a former exercise rider on the track, had to explain this to me because my mare did exactly as you’re describing. The episode was 16 years ago, and people around here still remember it, so obviously she was stellar in her lunacy! I eventually got her to behave in the riding ring, but shows wound up being off-limits for her. She was too scary for the other riders. I tried the calming supplements, but nothing did the trick to overcome her early training. Surprisingly, as soon as I untacked her at the show and let her graze, she calmed down immediately and stood for hours while I watched the rest of the competitors. Her show career simply wasn’t to be.

    Now, before anyone gets hot under the saddle, this is not an indictment of all OT horses. I’m just pointing out that some make the transition more easily than others, and this owner shouldn’t feel like a failure for not being able to get past this problem without professional help. That would be my recommendation. There are some amazing people out there–mostly former racehorse riders at some level–who are very talented at getting the race out of the horse. I didn’t do that with my mare only because she developed pasture heaves soon afterward, and I didn’t have the heart to ride her during the summer when I had other perfectly fine horses to ride and show. But had she been my only horse, I would have found someone to “fix” the problem with training methods I’m not savvy about.

    Horses In the Yard

    Andi Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    Thank you all for suggestions! My girl has changed dramtically since track days, but perhaps I underestimate the early days…As GHFrider describes, she settled as soon as I dismouted(we did stay in the ring until the end of the class). She has since had the chiropractor out, and is being ridden more often. Perhaps this will take more time than I anticipated, but I am not ready to give up showing just yet…

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