How to Train a Spooky and Unpredictable Horse, Part I

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Watch at: 00:00 / 00:00:20Watch at: 00:20 / 00:40hi Caroline Ryder Ryder horsemanshipWatch at: 00:40 / 01:00today's or my five-year-old frisianCanadian sport horse cross and I aregoing to be talking about the nextWatch at: 01:00 / 01:20question for holistic horses August askthe expert QA we had a viewer write inabout desensitizing and how to help ahorse develop more confidence in braveryon the trail or just in new environmentsand with new things so she's asked mespecifically how do I work with horsesto develop that and do I desensitize orWatch at: 01:20 / 01:40do any kind of bomb proofing and myreply to that is no I do not do I do notdesensitize and I do not do bombproofing because it's not necessary whatI do is help you develop the level oftrust with this horse and respect inleadership so this horse starts to payWatch at: 01:40 / 02:00attention to you therefore when this allcomes together they start to payattention to you the trust the respectand leadership you will develop a moreconfident brave horn I will go throughthree specific exercises in in an areaover here by the wood line that reallyworries him what the camera pan overWatch at: 02:00 / 02:20there so this round pen space reallybothers him and he gets fixated oneverything especially if it's a windyday and we've got picnic table set upbehind the camera so that students canwatch and the dogs are back there and hegets really really flighty about it hopeyou develop the best path for your horseand the easiest path which is more aboutWatch at: 02:20 / 02:40the relationship and leadership becauseof this horse gives you a hundredpercent of his focusyou've won everything isn't that thename of the game when a horse starts toget interested not curious but tooconcerned and too interested witheverything around you you've lost themWatch at: 02:40 / 03:00you've lost their mindyou've lost their focus you've lost theability to communicate with them that'swhere trouble starts and that's where itbecomes very unsafe especially on thetrail so we're going to do theseexercises that are going toask him to pay more attention to meespecially and then look for the levelWatch at: 03:00 / 03:20of relaxation and responsiveness that'sneeded in our horse so that a horsestays engaged and tuned in to us if youif your horse spooks over everythingspooks at everything or just spooks bigonce in a while they are suffering froma trigger triggers are the symptom of aWatch at: 03:20 / 03:40deeper issue or problem we must get tothe cause of the problem so we can fixit how do we do that if we don't knowthe history of our horse you can do thisby the means of working with your horseuntil you achieve Trust confidence inbravery the following three exercisesthat I'm going to show with zoar aregoing to help you achieve this the firstWatch at: 03:40 / 04:00one is you've got to become the mostimportant thing to your horse and whatthat means is that your horse paysattention to you that they take youseriously and they pay attention to younot focus I don't want my horse focusingon that over there he's got a becausehe's just going to escalate it's goingto build and build and build and if he'sWatch at: 04:00 / 04:20focused on something that's not evenexisting then it's a perceived dangerit's not real second we have to startworking with our horse and keep workingwith our horse until we can develop the3 R's and the 3 R's our responsivenessWatch at: 04:20 / 04:40rhythm in relaxation once a horsedevelops those 3 R's and this is in allof my training whether it's ground orriding then you know you have yourhorses mind when you have your horsesmind you can control their body when ahorse loses his mind you can't controlWatch at: 04:40 / 05:00that body you can yo you can't even getthem to bend it happened so quickly youcan't even do the bend to the emergencystop and the third what you want toachieve what these two are buildingblocks so the first one is a horse hasto take you seriously has to be focusedon you the second is once I get focusedWatch at: 05:00 / 05:20on you you're going to develop the 3 R'sonce these two are in place the thirdwill happen naturally and that's whenthe horse will start to become curedand investigate his surroundings socuriosity isn't freezing and being hereon adrenaline no and I think a lot ofWatch at: 05:20 / 05:40you and with my students think that'swhat that means I don't want my horsestopping and looking like this and beingtight and pensive curiosity braveryconfidence shows up with relaxation thathorse walks up to whatever they what isthat okay let me go check it out becauseI'm confident in brave and I've got myleader with me so there's a bigWatch at: 05:40 / 06:00difference and you know how the horseshows up in this work and what doesrelaxation look like so thank you andwe're going to go move on outside thisround pen to the spooky area over thereby the wood line so I still have thecamera on so that you can watch Sora'sreaction as we leave this area and enterWatch at: 06:00 / 06:20the scary area so watch me because againwhat's the first thing I want my horseto pay attention to me so I'm going towatch him the camera is going to watchboth of us but I'm going to watch him aswe go around to the back of this roundpen and I'm going to get on his case ifWatch at: 06:20 / 06:40he starts focusing on that so he's realrelaxed which I doubt because this isonly the third time that we're going tobe going to the scary area if he's realrelaxed I'll leave him alone but if hestarts getting up his adrenaline andworried and focusing then I'm going toredirect his attention and I will get asbig with it as necessary to get hisWatch at: 06:40 / 07:00attentionI better be more important than whathe's scared of believe me people this isgolden now how you do it is everythingthe approach is everything so I make itreally big and loud with him so you cansee a little bit of worry right now I'mgoing to send him there first because ifWatch at: 07:00 / 07:20I was riding him I'd be back here sowatch his ears in his eyes in his lowerlip because his lower lip will hold allhis tension and stress so we're doingbetter so I got real big because helooked for an out right there if youwatch his eye he was coming left andWatch at: 07:20 / 07:40going to scoot right between usand no so I'm redirecting his focuswhich is over here and then I'm going tostop and you can see how much isblinking and thinkin good boyand he looks very concerned there heWatch at: 07:40 / 08:00goesone so if you guys can't see howconcerned he is you need to learn thatthis horse is very worriedthere is no relaxation in this horse andhe's not very responsive because I haveto keep tapping him with the whip toWatch at: 08:00 / 08:20encourage so real there's no relaxationbecause there's no rhythm he speeds uphe slows down get his attention changedirection right now keeps moving thatshoulder over shut him down move on nowWatch at: 08:20 / 08:40he may be escalating right now but thepoint I want to make is I better be moreimportant than what he's thinking abouthe better be more worried about megetting on his case and I'm not gettingon his case to punish him I'm notcorrecting something to do with that ithas to do with getting his attention soWatch at: 08:40 / 09:00I shut that door down and he ran into mywhip I did not hit him but he got hitbecause he ran into it but you see howhe licked and chewed lowered his headand snorted so a lot of what's going onis he's trying to release his adrenalinehe's trying to relax but he's stillsnorting just a little bit which is theWatch at: 09:00 / 09:20horses alarm system for danger but thereis no danger over here and he's neverhad a bad experience here so this isperceived danger which is not real solet's say this is our third time here solet's just say that he started to jumpin and bolt let him let him go past youWatch at: 09:20 / 09:40come on redirect it come onand see if you can't get him focused onyou and relaxed good so I'm having toreally tap him a lot with this whipright now just to help motivate becauseWatch at: 09:40 / 10:00he's starting to freezeso his freezing he's using his freezemode not his flight mode or his fightmode right now and the freeze mode isshowing up by him shutting down andgetting duller so you have to be reallycareful and I in learn how to identifyand so I'm like pop pop pop pop pop I'mWatch at: 10:00 / 10:20real quick about itwake up wake up tune in tune in becausewhat happens is he can't he can't dealwith all this is too overwhelming sothey start to shut down and become dulland despondent not responsive so I'mgoing to ask one two three one two threehe knows this he's had a level ofWatch at: 10:20 / 10:40education he knows what I'm asking thisway there that's responsive I'm going togo left and I want to try good good boysee I don't have to use the crop now butlook how tight his lower lip is see hislower lip I call that a rhino lip canthe camera get it so what happens when aWatch at: 10:40 / 11:00horse is anxious and tight it alwaysshows up in the lips people you have tobe careful I've seen so many show horsesand trail horses and horses and trainingwhen out lowered livers like dish thislike dish and a upper lip is down is wayover and the lower lip is really tightnow that horse is holding a lot ofWatch at: 11:00 / 11:20tension and it's a ticking time-bombgood boy much better but see how he'sleaning into my space his head is toohigh he's too tightso we're going to keep working here Idon't care about the wood line I careWatch at: 11:20 / 11:40about him and him listening to me andwhen I ask him to stopit's all through energy and intentionthat's part of my approach so I'm notpulling on the the lead rope to get himto slow down so that tells me how tunedin he is to me which is perfect so we'regoing to sendWatch at: 11:40 / 12:00at the trot and I'm going to ask for himto slow down and halt so if he can focusthat much on the depth of meintentionally and energetically and notjust on these tools because guess whatpeople if he flips out on the trailyou think this rope halter and lead lineor bit in his mouth is going to stop himthese tools are not going to stop thisWatch at: 12:00 / 12:20horse especially this size he's got tobe tuned into something much deeper thatprovides more safety now the fact thathe keeps lowering in his head he'strying he's really trying to back him upand we're going to move over on theother side here come on now be safe IWatch at: 12:20 / 12:40know he has a tendency to push throughso look at how I've given him that spaceif he got scared and bolted at least hehas an open doorway and he's not goingto run me down because he has apropensity to do that come on wake himup wake him up wake him up wake him upyep wake him up come on get out of myWatch at: 12:40 / 13:00space goodsee how reckless his movement is sowe're going to keep doing this becausewe're in a different area right now justmoving five feet has changed him it'sgot a tight lip again he's sporadic hisears are all over the place so we'reWatch at: 13:00 / 13:20going to keep doing this until whatwe've got responsiveness but we don'thave rhythm yet or relaxation but we'regetting there rhythm is consistency inhis gait meaning he doesn't speed up hedoesn't slow downgood good good boy so be consistent beWatch at: 13:20 / 13:40repetitious this is wonderful for horseshe's getting slower good which meanshe's getting more relaxed good boy thisis what's going to develop the trust inthe leadership he's learning that he hasto pay attention to you and rely on youWatch at: 13:40 / 14:00you're not going to give him any otherchoice so you're creating a structure inthe discipline which is leadershipyou're developing the trust through yourconsistency and repetition your loveyourChenin your fairness good there's ourlooking shoe finally that was good stuffand look how he wants to come into me soWatch at: 14:00 / 14:20he's more focused on me isn't he rightnow than he is the woods this isimportant so that tells me that he'sseeking out that level of comfort andsafety with me and he's looking at thewoods but he's not looking at the woodslike this he's looking at the woods likethis so let's go look at the woods let'sWatch at: 14:20 / 14:40see how he if he goes up with morecuriosity good goodgood boy good boy yeah good boylots of positive reinforcement make thisa good experience reward reward rewardWatch at: 14:40 / 15:00yeahnow I'd like to walk him past he's alittle concerned again you better beWatch at: 15:00 / 15:20more important I don't want him boltingso let's talk about this if I'm a leadhorse out in the field and he respectsme he knows better than to run me downyou've got to develop that and earn thatso when that whip comes up I'm not goingafter him that's the difference but I amWatch at: 15:20 / 15:40holding my space and I'm saying you knowwhat you don't act that way when you'rearound me so I'm earning respect and I'msaying this is not acceptableso what's the objective here that heWatch at: 15:40 / 16:00pays attention to me my intention myenergy how I direct him how fast I wanthim to go how slow I want him to go goodboyand that he can also start to feel safeand comfortable through the work and inthis environment without being on top ofme good boy and how often does yourWatch at: 16:00 / 16:19horse lick and chew that's also veryimportant more your horse licks andchoose the more open they are the morerelaxed they are if he starts to eatgrass or leaves or roots that'sexcellent because we're a horse to puttheir head down that's a lot of trustright there that's excellent whenever Iam developing horses and then eventuallyWatch at: 16:19 / 16:40we want to be able to develop themindset for trail riding it's soimportant that we take a lot of breaksmeaning we stop often sometimes we allowthe horse to graze and sometimes wedon't but that the horse can stop canstop their mind and relax and if theycan graze oh my gosh that is fabuloussometimes they eat nervously good boy soWatch at: 16:40 / 17:00come back here we're going to get to thepicnic table nopeAdam eyespace you're not running into meso watch his eye people you watch yourhorses I if it starts to look at thatobject that he's not sure about then youWatch at: 17:00 / 17:20do something to get his attentionyep you refocus him because if he cangive you a hundred percent of his focusyou have one meaning these feel safeeven if you've got to structure it sothat it works out that wayWatch at: 17:20 / 17:40so he's breathing heavy shallowbreathing is stress the lip is not asWatch at: 17:40 / 18:00stressed but we're going to keep workingagain we've got the responsiveness butdo we have the relaxation good boyso I'm going to let the camera pan in onhis lip and his lip looks a lot betterWatch at: 18:00 / 18:20looks a lot more relaxed good boy nowbring them back over here sorry aboutthat you get him to stand quietly sowhat's really nice is you guys you'reable to see right now how much I'mworking with himI am redirecting him constantly you haveto right now he's not ready for a trailWatch at: 18:20 / 18:40ride and I don't want to be doing thison the trail when I know for sure hismind is going to be completely blown youcan't at least in my work and in myexperience you can't control that bodyunless you have that mind and a lot oftrainers will put out information outthere that says we'll work their feetredirect the movement and you'll getWatch at: 18:40 / 19:00their mind you can and you can't if thathorse is really blown you're not goingto get anything you are not going to getanything so work your way up so that youdon't have to do this on the trail workyour way up create the situation like Ihave create it you know find an area oran environment that is going to push hisWatch at: 19:00 / 19:20buttons so that you can work on theground safely and then weeks latermonths later whatever it takes you canstart riding in this environment whichis going to make it even betterso thank you if you have any questionsplease feel free to email me Caroline atWatch at: 19:20 / 19:40rider horsemanship com may you always beone with your horse and I look forwardto hearing from youstay tuned for September's edition askthe expert Q&A from holistic horsethanks signing out Caroline riderWatch at: 19:40 / 20:00Watch at: 20:00 / 20:20you

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  1. Im starting to train my horse but I need money for the tack that is necessary to train her and it’s so frustrating so if anybody know on any grants I can apply for or anything like that please let me know

  2. I love your approach and your compassion for each horse. I have a 23 year old halter horse mare, who's extremely nervous. She will hide in the run in when she hears a sound she doesnt like. I've tried so many different ideas with her. Some days are better then others. One end of my arena is her " no way am I going over there" zone. Petrified!!

  3. I stopped riding Misty about 8 years ago, now she went to a refresher course for a month. I sold her 9 months ago. She started acting like a stud horse and I have to keep her by her self. She does look around in the field's and gets spooked a few times on our trail ride on our property, I was very excited to see I mainly need to get that communication back between us to keep her focused on me! Thank you! That helped enough me.

  4. I found Caroline on YouTube because recently my 18 year old has been becoming more and more spooky. I realized pretty quickly that I was making things worse. So when I searched the spooky horse this video came up.
    This is so excellent and so well taught that I went out and got a carriage whip immediately. I implemented her technique today and it was fabulous. My mare started out on adrenaline but after teaching her what I wanted from her she relaxed and was so brave in the scary areas we worked in. This is definitely going to take a while to get better at this but I love, love, love Caroline's methods! It was such a great thing to watch for the lower lip being tight and then finally licking and chewing and even grazing right next to the scary object. She kept her shoulders away from as well.
    Thank you so much Caroline, you are fabulous!!!

  5. I am writing you from Sweden. I have to compliment you on very nice work – great video – you sure know your horses! I have a 15 year old gelding that has been with me since he was 5. His muscles are always tense and he is nervous. He does not have a normal behaviour and I think that is for 2 reasons: 1: he has been treated badly (former race horse that has freaked out most of the time)2: he has been treated for Lime Disease (which can stick to the nervous system for years they tell me). I have done – and still do – lots of groundwork (also with all kind of tools and plastic bags and nothing seems to bother him) and trick training which he loves and he really trusts and respects me BUT out on the trail he can just blow up for something that I never seem to see or hear (but he does apparantly). This happens within half a second and most of the time I stay on (which is good because I am 68 years old). Now I wonder one thing: Can this just be his pesonality? I really love this horse but man am I getting to old for this:-)

  6. its a good video but that rope halter is sitting on the most sensitive part of the nose that can be hurt if pulled to hard. Is there a reason the halter is so low on the face?

  7. trailrider322 Hello, I have a 10 yr old quarter horse. We were out on the trail and a deer jumped up right beside him he spun around and dumped me. Now he is afraid of going out on the trail. Any advice for me? I had only had him for 5 months.

  8. This horse behaves JUST like mine, great video, you are such a fantastic horsewoman and trainer!!!
    Wish I had seen this before I went to the barn this morning because today was one of his spooky days where his attention was everywhere but on me most of the time. ^__^
    In your opinion and experience, when you work with a horse like this regularly, is this a behaviour that can and does go away almost completely? And if it does, does it only 'go away' with the human they have built up that trust with? or with most humans?

  9. I did this today and is realllllllly worked! Thank you so much for giving me confidence to do that and now my horse has confidence in me 🙂 xx

  10. This has helped me today my new horse is scared of everything and he spooked span around and bucked me on the ribs which is so painful so I need to sort this out he’s terrified of the wind and that was what scares him today

  11. excellent instruction I appreciate your knowledge. In my many years of horse breeding I have found that genetics makes all the difference . Some horse lines have not been culled for fear and love sickness. The owners have let that trait go for hundreds of years not realizing what they are passing on. I welcome your discussion.

  12. THANK YOU!!! I have a draft cross who scared to leave the yard and I want to trail ride and run the beach. This is perfect! I just found you and I'm hoping you have more videos like this! Monique from Chester NH USA

  13. Hello Caroline And thank you for sharing. i'm trying to prepare my lovely mare to ride bitless and so i try to do a lot of desensitizing on the ground. I guess i have to build up my confidence level alongside my horse since i'm new to the horse world and this is my first horse ever. What i0ve seen on this video really helps me understand better the way i have and want to follow but my horse has only one eye and i would love to ear how you would adapt the confidence build-up exercises with this limitation in mind. Have a wonderful day.

  14. could somebody please explain to me about that lower lip again, the tension in the lower lip? Does anybody have any pictures of that or can anybody explain that better to me?

  15. This is so helpful! Thank you. My horse is nearly two, I’ve been doing lots of groundwork with her and after just two weeks of owning her we are developing a good bond. My issue is, that when I’m leading her and she is very scared/worried by something she tends to spin around me in a very tight circle. How do I get her to respect my space a little more when she is frightened? She is very respectful when she isn’t in flight mode but it goes out the window when something really scares her. I’ve used the lead rope technique which works a treat but haven’t trained her with a whip at all yet. Any help gratefully received! Thank you, Hannah UK

  16. The only time when I win everything is when I sit on the horse in the Pasture, then it's like, I know you want to relax with me and if I do anything you will make it unconfortable for me, so it's only thoughts are to stand still and let me pet its ears and turn its head to why ever is going on inter background. 😀 Now it's time to win her over on the trail!


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