Q&A Questions and Answers:
I recently (about 7 weeks ago) bought a 4 year old paint mare. She is lovely. She does not, however, like to stand while being tied. This past Sunday, I made a mistake. She was standing (complete with a nose chain), tied to a metal fence post. She was being quiet. I put on a new saddle pad (forgot to let her smell it first). She went crazy, I managed (after she pulled for a bit), to get the snap undone and she ran off. She cut herself in the front legs and mouth (she whacked the fence with her front legs) and I think the chain hit her in the mouth). She limped a bit and then she walked o.k. I went and retrieved her and took her into the arena. I put the saddle pad on a mounting block and walked her past it. I handled it, talking to her the whole time, and she finally sniffed it but that was it. I did not force the issue. I know I goofed. I feel so bad for her. Is there any thing I can do to help her overcome her fear or is she damaged goods forever? Please please help. I love her and I want to do the best I can for her. Thanks.
Howdy, T. G.!
Nope, she's not damaged forever. It would have been better if you had taken corrective steps immediately, but at age 4 she's still teachable. Take a look at Q & A 101 - How to get a horse to stand hitched (http://www.lemen.com/qa101.html) and apply the technique I demonstrate with Fanny. When your mare is standing quietly, give her a good sacking out, including rubbing her all over with that saddle pad. A few such sessions and she should be standing steady as a rock.
By the way, do you know the correct method for tying a lead rope to a hitching post? If tied properly, you won't have to unsnap the lead from the halter -- you just pull on the free end and the rope will come loose. Here's how to do it: Make a loop in the rope on the far side of the rail, and pull a little of the rope that's attached to the horse through it. Then pull a loop of the free end through that second loop. Pull the rope that's attached to the horse to tighten the knot. The horse should be able to pull hard without undoing the knot, but a tug on the free end should cause the rope to fall free. I'm attaching three snapshots to (hopefully) make the process clearer.
Make a loop on the far side of the rail,
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