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Spinal Research


Archive - Napping


-- Posted by clipclop on Nov. 11, 2001

Further to the posts on whips and spurs I thought I'd ask for some advice.

My 16.1hh CBxTB mare is a darling to ride and handle most of the time BUT she does have her moments.  When leaving the yard she used to nap ... ie no rearing just not wanting to go forwards so dropping a shoulder or going backwards.  She has gotten over this now and only tries it now and again.  Most of the time a sharp smack with the schooling whip will stop her or me just 'riding' it out so to speak.  However, what would you do if she started doing it when she doesn't want to go past something in the school?  

I've been schooling in the dark after school and if she won't go past something she just walks backwards and WONT walk on.. I usually carry on with something else then come back to it but what should I do?  I don't want this to become a major problem where she knows she can evade work by doing this.

As I say she is an angel most of the time and it is only this that annoys me more than anything.

Any advice would be gratefully appreciated!!

P.S. I have only had her since August.

-- Posted by JanetGeorge on Nov. 11, 2001

It COULD be worse - she could be CB x Anglo-Arab!! like my old Bramble (his portrait in the logo of this message board is NOT strictly accurate - his ears are forward, his teeth aren't bared, and you can't see the 666 engraved on his skull!)

He was a TRULY horrible napper in his early days.  Initially I put it down to nervousness and was patient and tolerant - then discovered (by accident) that getting on him in a FILTHY mood worked wonders!

Working in the dark is testing her a bit - it certainly could be nerves and in that case, being patient and asking her to do something she will do is probably the right move.

But I confess that when Bramble wanted to walk backwards (that was positive - normally he just reared!) I said FINE - and made him walk backwards for longer than he wanted to.

I think you have to be the judge of this and decide whether it's genuine nervousness of working in darkish conditions (all those monsters and shadows) or whether she's trying it on.  Only then can you determine how tolerant (or otherwise) you should be.  But remember, mares do require slightly more tactful handling than geldings.

-- Posted by DalesFan on Nov. 11, 2001

I find when Tilly is being silly that just sitting there and not forcing her past is the best option.  She's not allowed to turn around and I'll grumble if she goes back, but I don't make her go forwards.  After a couple of minutes I'll ask quietly again, if she still doesn't want to go I just say fine and wait it out again.  She eventually decides to give it a go and trots past when I give her big pats and cuddles.  The first half dozen times we were there half an hour or so, but she soon trusted me more and she'll now stop, look and go past.  I didn't go on the roads until she was fine so there was no urgency.  Tilly is also not spooky, just likes a good look and likes to nap to get out of work (she naps to the gate and then plants).  

-- Posted by issyhotten on Nov. 11, 2001

I once spent a happy 45 minutes reversing from one corner of the school to the other, interspersed with reversing down to B or E, and then reversing back to the 'out-of-favour' corners.
I was fairly petrified, as I thought I may get bucked off, but we stopped when I got a (very small) win. He didn't bother having 'no-go' areas after that!.

-- Posted by Ros B on Nov. 11, 2001

The trick to mastering the 'walking backwards' problem is to turn her round.  That way, she can walk backwards to her heart's content, while you achieve your aim of going in the direction you intended in the first place!!  Once she's fed up of going backwards, turn round and start travelling conventionally again.
However, I do agree with Janet - your partnership is still very new, and you both need to build confidence in each other.  I wouldn't force too many confrontations at this stage.  

-- Posted by catherine on Nov. 12, 2001

I have got major napping/spooking problems with my TB - who has a real 'blood' brain, i.e. anything he is not certain about is a real threat to his life. We do a lot of backwards work! But I find it really difficult to make him go straight back and, because of the hacking being mainly on woodland bridlepaths, we often bounce off trees (which has the desired effect of sending him forwards!). Unfortunately a lot of the paths have barbed wire fences running alongside them, we do have problems in that we nearly collide with them and I have to make him halt. I have now found that if I approach a 'hazard' (e.g. a twig on the path!) in trot, Cush will go past it more willingly.

I have also used a home made wip wop thing (rope), whirling it around him (he is quite laid back really!), a rolled up newspaper slapped on my chaps, a big twig with lots of leaves - all with some success. I always hack out with a whip, not to beat him, just as a reminder.

When hacking with other, I tend to ask if we can lead past hazards, just to increase Cush's confidence. If my daughter is riding him, I have sometimes walked out with them if I know there are new things on the hacking circuit. I am able to lead him past most things, but would not recommend anyone do this unless they are really confident and know their horse trusts them. I have also taken him to a spook-busting session at Contessa in Herts, which was very helpful. Other people, I know, do lots of longreining work which I should persevere with but I'm bit lazy!

I do find it a real pain hacking alone, and if I have a limited amount of time, tend to do school work instead. On the positive side - overcoming napping is very rewarding! I recently returned from a solo hack totally jubilant because we had negotiated loads of hazards successfully including jumping a dead dinosaur which had thoughtlessly died lying across the bridlepath.   Other people on the yard thought I was mad, but I was so happy we had succeeded in overcoming problems which, to them, would not have existed.

-- Posted by clipclop on Nov. 12, 2001

Thank you for all your replies.

Janet-thanks-I know it could be worse but its just this spoiling our fun!!

There isn't a lot I can do about riding in the near dark as its like this when I get in from school-it's that or nothing unfortunately.  

I think I'll try just sitting it out now as she only does it in the school now most of the time- I can get her out with out to many probs now!  I must admit she tried it once on the road and it was very half hearted!  

One do I make her keep walking backwards for more than a few steps?  
Another thing is she does this when I ask her to go out in front for the first few minutes of a ride-then she normally gets over herself and enjoys the ride!!

Any hints/tips??


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