Sunday, March 5, 2017

Solved with Sugar?

Emi does not like one corner of our arena.  There are poles and such stacked in the corner and she's sure it contains a horse eating monster. Never mind that I can lead her down there (on foot) and she's alright. We've also spent many days standing in the corner, lunging down there, getting sugar for investigating etc. Although she's not super green she's still inexperienced enough that I don't always have complete control...this is especially true the faster we are going. Some days are better, some days are worse, but it's completely typical for us to only be able to use 2/3 of the arena, especially when we are tracking right and have to approach the scary corner from straight on.

I've ignored the issue to some extent since I'm not sure I can "win" an epic battle about it. The last couple of weeks I've been making more of an effort to ride her down to the scary corner and then feed her sugar while she sits there. Saturday night I think we may have had a light bulb moment. I was able to ride her around the whole entire area, including trotting straight down to the scary stuff. A lump of sugar and off we went again to trot another lap. Again we halted next to the scary corner for sugar. We changed directions and then she was almost dragging me towards that corner.

I may have created a whole new set of problems, but that's alright. I feel like I can wean her off the sugar rewards, especially if she is finally gaining a positive association with that corner. We'll see if I'm speaking too soon or if she really did finally make the connection. There's something to be said for a food motivated pony.

Ah, yes. That's the scary corner in the background. 
On top of feeling like we may have actually conquered the scary stuff, we had a super good ride for other reasons. I feel like we've finally made it over our/my winter slump. Not only am I feeling more confident but our work is progressing. Also, I'm not sure if I mentioned this a couple months ago but she was cross firing quite a bit. It came on somewhat suddenly as she's never cross fired much. I realized last night that as suddenly as she started, she stopped. I think she was at a funky growth phase as her butt had gotten taller. Yah for progress in all forms.
Seriously, she's becoming such a big girl!


  1. Forward and upward! (Well, not LITERALLY. Ha!) Being able to track progress and look back over my notes (and photos) is why I keep a horse blog; Emi is really progressing quickly.

  2. LOL - as the Pez dispenser for a very food motivated horse, sugar cubes solve a lot of whenever another horse goes by, instead of spooking, Tess puts her nose in my hands ("I get good girl snack now?") :)

  3. I have used the rest and treat approach for scary corners and it really does help.

  4. I'm totally not above bribery to get what I want, haha.

  5. Sugar is such a great problem solver!

  6. yay! I have used the treats to do similar things with many!

  7. Treats are so helpful especially with scary things!! Glad to hear you had a great ride :)


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