Push_My_Buttons

Distracted By Other Horses?

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I have a 6 yr old mare, who when riding in the arena with other horses, gets distracted by them. It doesn't matter if they are working, or standing off to the side, I am constantly fighting for her attention. She isn't herd bound(she never gets anxious when she's alone, and will focus and goes great when we are alone), and she's not BAD(no trying to bolt towards them or anything). She 'drifts' towards them and doesn't want to stay on the rail, fights to complete circles that turn away from them... little things like that.

I've been trying to just do a lot direction changes/circles/figure 8's etc. to focus her on me... I just don't seem to be getting anywhere!

I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to fix this??

ETA: oops... posted in the wrong place! Don't know how to fix this! Sorry :(

Edited by Push_My_Buttons

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Some horses won't show signs of being herdbound when completely alone, but will not want to go first/away from others when worked in a group.

In other words, this is still the same behavior - she's being herdbound/buddy sour.

I generally find when a horse's attention drifts for any reason that putting the animal into a little bit of shoulder fore helps. If you don't know what I mean...flex the head a little to the inside and shift the shoulder SLIGHTLY in off the direction of travel. (Not all the way to shoulder-in), hold for a stride or two, then release. It's a good subtle wake up call.

Carrying a crop on the inside can help prevent "drift" - often without any need to actually use it. (I'd definitely recommend carrying a crop when you can for now).

Other than that, you're already on the right lines. Make her work, make her focus, make her pay attention to the "boss" not what she wants to do.

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one thing I have learned after many, many years is that a horse needs to respect your leg always. not only for performance but also safety. you can call it "shying", "drifting" or whatever you want, but if you really due a due diligence of the situation it comes down to not respecting your leg.

if I were you i'd wear spurs and ride in "phases" as the pros say. ask nicely, if you get no response be more insistent and if there is still no response i'd make her very, very aware of the spurs. very short but definite and never, ever in a frustrated or angry state of mind. this is first and foremost a respect issue.

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