View Full Version : roadwork
11th Jan 2005, 11:43 AM
our pony (seren 11.2 age 5) is a fab pony my daughter can practically walk under her. the problem i have is when she hears a car (she doesn't actually have to see it) she goes into complete panic. she tiptoes on the spot and practically jumps into my arms with her eyes wide open in fear. if anyone has overcome the same problem i would love some help as this is the only thing that lets her down and roads are a no go area.
11th Jan 2005, 12:07 PM
is she like this in any situation e.g. parked cars, cars in your yard/road etc ?
If she's ok with parked cars, then perhaps you could work up to being near a parked car with engine on, and then onwards from there to gradually get her comfortable with the idea ?
Isn't there a book - something like "bombproof your horse" - that might have some good ideas for you.
11th Jan 2005, 12:19 PM
she is fine with parked cars i think it is just the engine noise that frightens her even from a distance. i hope i can get her confident on the road because she is such a fab pony otherwise.
11th Jan 2005, 12:22 PM
Is she kept anywhere near a road or is there a field near to a road that she could safely be kept in for a while to help adjust her to traffic in an environment she feels safe with.
11th Jan 2005, 12:28 PM
we have just bought a field which is next to a quite busy country lane where cars do go quite fast that she will be moving to in the spring - i was a bit worried that this would just freak her out.
11th Jan 2005, 12:32 PM
It may do for the first day or so but provided as she can't do herself any harm in the field like running through fences it should help alot. Where I am at the moment is next to a very busy road and when we get horses that are a bit spooky with traffic we put them in the field next to the road. It usually has the desired effect of getting them used to the noise and speed of the cars...well at least that is I've not known of one to jump the fence into the road or come to any harm yet.
11th Jan 2005, 12:39 PM
i really hope it will work - my daughter is only 4 so if i can overcome this problem i hope they will have a fab time together over the next few years as seren is gentle and fantastic in every other way
11th Jan 2005, 12:49 PM
echo nutkin completely - a field by a busy road will almost certainly do the job for you. you'll probably need to reinforce it with her inhand and eventually ridden - she may revert to being worried as she can't get away if she wants to as she can in the field, but it should be much easier than it sounds at present.
has anything ever happened to her with a car? it's an extreme reaction for a pony that just hasn't seen one before.
11th Jan 2005, 02:39 PM
i have spoken to her previous owner who had her since a yearling and she said that she has always been nervous on the road but she then mentioned that she took her on the narrow country lanes in mid wales - so therefore no pavements and cars and vans passing really close - i think i would be nervous in that situation!!!
11th Jan 2005, 04:10 PM
I had the same problem with Bramble until she moved into a field next to a busy road, she had a few restless nights (as she was living out and wouldn't settle because of the headlights) but after a week she wasn't reacting to them while she was in the field and after doing a lot of walking out in hand with her with a schooling whip, to show her where her bottom needs to be when cars come past she is now happy to go past all cars and some bikes and even tractors :D :rolleyes: I think it's showed her that they don't eat her as they go by so she overcame her fear.
The other thing you have is that she may not have been walked out much when with the other lady (a lot of people don't do this) and if she was rather than cars being is close proximity it might be that she never really saw any it depends what it was like where she came from
11th Jan 2005, 04:53 PM
if anyone has overcome the same problem i would love some help as this is the only thing that lets her down and roads are a no go area. Exposure to traffic adjacent to her field will help her overcome her fear of traffic "over there".
But if you want to acclimate her to being next to (and amongst) traffic then the thing to do is to train her to accept beng next to and amongst the traffic. Here's how:
Put her in a halter and a twelve-foot lead rope and lead her out the driveway toward the road with the traffic. As you approach, she will get excited, so you should stop where she gets excited and disengaged her hindquarters and do a bunch of ground work exercises right there at that place. Continue to practice disengaging the HQ (and other ground work exercises) until she ignores the traffic. Then put her up for the day. Do not leave that place nor put her up until she stops reacting in a fearful manner. That is, only put her up when she has calmed down and accepts the nearness of the traffic - even if she's a mile from the traffic at this point.
The next and subsequent days, repeat the exercise.
If you do this, you will find that you and she will be getting closer and closer to the traffic before she gets excited, until at some point several days later, you and she will be standing next to the traffic. At that point, you should alter the exercise so that you and she take a short walk down the road that has the traffic. Perhaps twenty feet. Start with a very short distance, and use the same HQ disengagement if she gets excited.
Eventually (and gradually) extend the walk down the road with traffic to a mile or more; always doing ground work when she gets excited until she calms down. Then return and put her up.
Gradually, you and she will become accustomed to being in traffic. Then, later on when you want to ride in traffic, she will not be afraid.
The key to this is lots of repetitions which gradually gets her closer to the traffic - and only quitting when she calms down and accepts the nearness of the traffic. She will soon associate that calmness in traffic gets her relief.
12th Jan 2005, 10:33 AM
thanks for the advice everyone - i will start straight away
12th Jan 2005, 01:18 PM
You will find, as the others say, that a field where she can get used to the noise and see she comes to no harm will help in the cure.
Make sure you are not rewarding her for her fear by telling her she is a "good girl" when she gets scared, this is the sort of things which owners do and unwittingly the horse thinks that freaking out is what you want her to do. Be workmanlike when she is scared, don't cajole her, just in a busy manner tell her to "get a grip" and stop being silly, you have to almost ignore her sillies and show her that being scared is not what is required.
Some dog owners have made thier dogs scared of thunder by this unwitting re-inforcement. The dog tucks his tail in when he first hears the thunder, so the owner rewards him by telloing him he is a good boy and giving him positive attention for his display of fear. So this feeds the behaviour.
12th Jan 2005, 01:34 PM
Yup I can ditto Wally, my dog came to me with an intense fear of fireworks and gunshots and all I wanted to do was give him a big cuddle everytime he looked so frightened but the best thing I can do with him is pretend there's nothing there, when we're out and he goes to bolt at a gunshot or something similar you just keep walking, saying "come on keep up" eventually he realises that the sound wasn't going to hurt him and that as nobody else seemed bothered by it maybe he didn't need to worry so much. The same should work for your mare, as long as she is controllable and won't endanger herself or you then gradually exposing her to traffic in a firm, positive and consistant manner will teach her its nothing to worry about - do you have a completely bomproof safe horse you could lead her out with? That should be very effective if you can find one, if she see's another horse not being fussed by the traffic at all she will be reassured and it should influence her behaviour a fair bit. There is also a good chance that when leading her out the restraint of you leading her will reassure her more than panic her - so long as she trusts you not to put he rin any danger it will be a relief to her that she doesn't have a choice of how to react to the situation. But all of this is of course varies from horse to horse. Good luck though and let us know how you get on :)
12th Jan 2005, 02:44 PM
now i know where i have been going wrong!!! everytime she gets frightened i do talk softly to her and pat her to try and calm her down. i have had horses in the past (15hh and over) and i did not take any messing about with them but because she is so tiny and cute she seems to get away with a lot more.
12th Jan 2005, 02:47 PM
reassuring is OK if she's panicking, soothing voice is also fine to get her listening again - but be carful not to pat or do anything like 'good girl' that will make her think that's what you want. i find calling them names and swearing in a soothing tone of voice does the job!
but overall echo wally - be matter of fact and try not to tense up and expect her to misbehave.
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