Wednesday, June 6, 2012

goofy Nina

I threw a saddle and halter on Nina and was going to spend about 5 minutes riding her around the round pen.  And hour and a half later we had FINALLY worked through one of her hangovers from her previous life.

I know I posted about this before but I can't find the post so here is the Reader's Digest version:
Only in the round pen and only under tack a very strange behavior emerges - only a few times since I have had her.  She stands facing me, about 19h tall, sweating down her neck, rolling her eyes and determined to stay facing me no matter what.  She can back faster than I can run.
I first thought this was some sort of aggressive play but I am sure this is a learned/taught behavior and it is high stress for her.

When she has pulled this in the past I have been totally unable to change the behavior after trying everything I could think of.  I ended up just leaving her tacked up in the round pen and eventually she would relax.  But that is not dealing with it so yesterday when she did this I tried again.

I had a stool in the ring to use for a mounting block so I just sat down and ignored her for about 20 minutes.  She stood like a statue for a long time and never did move, but she finally let me walk up to her and touch her without running backwards.
After a while more I was able to lead her around the edge of the pen, when her neck relaxed I was able to back away, tell her to 'walk' and she would continue.  At the 'trot' command the weird behavior re-appeared.

But I was onto something, this is a horse that lunges to voice command like a machine so I just continued and eventually I was able to get her to relax and walk and trot.

Then I got on and had my 5 minute ride.

This is a bizarre, frustrating behavior that is learned, stressful and involves her just tuning out.  It also only appears at undetermined times and I am not sure what triggers it.   But at least I think I found a way to relax the tension and get her doing something that she understands so maybe with some luck I can make it disappear.
I would really like to meet the person who taught her these weird things with all the fear involved.  They need to be banned from ever watching a DVD on NH again.   Banned from getting within 5 miles of a horse, except possibly to shovel shit.

Today I need to make up the ride on Fawkes that bit the dust while I was spending all this time on Nina.  I will try to get to the barn earlier before the heat and the wind.


  1. Wow that is strange! Don't you wish horses could speak English and tell us about their baggage? And who did this to them? I think your gut is prob right, it does sound like a learned behavior from a human. *sigh*

  2. All I hear in my head when you describe this is Clinton Anderson yelling "Give me two eyes" as he pops the lead rope off to the side. Just speculating of course but it does have an aura of Natural Horsemanship gone wrong. You know, I don't really have a problem with NH in and of itself, it's the fact that I think it takes a lot of excellent timing and feel to make it work, and too many of the people that it seems to get marketed to have neither of those things (thus all of the stories of the angry/dangerous/confused Parelli horses you see posted around). Poor Nina! Glad to hear you've found a way to help her relax a bit. Hopefully you'll see some more progress before too long.

  3. Poor Nina. I'm glad you are so patient with her. You two were meant to be together. She has obviously been mistreated in the past, poor thing. Maybe you'll suddenly click with what the trigger is. I hope so. :)


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