Anxiety: killer cavaletti edition

So last night my friend and I made plans to meet after work and ride together. We set up some cavaletti exercises in the indoor to spice up our ride.

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Our first exercise was simply 3 trot cavaletti. Mabou did good with this, although he is always highly suspicious with cavaletti and will insist on walking through the first few times.

Then we decided to make the center cavaletti a slightly raised cavaletti (about 6 inches off the ground) to make them really work and pick up their feet. Well, this new development rocked Mabou’s world. At first he tried jumping the whole thing, then he actually trotted through properly a few times, but each time he became more and more worried until he started refusing it.

The spacing was fine, friend’s horse was ok and the times Mabou went through he was ok. I ultimately ended up getting off and jogging Mabou through the exercise by hand (and simultaneously realizing how out of shape I have become when I couldn’t breathe after). He was still very worried but figured it out.

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Does anyone else’s horse have an anxiety attack from cavaletti? Or is this just a sensitive TB thing?!

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11 thoughts on “Anxiety: killer cavaletti edition

  1. Ha! Well, I’ve never had one refuse it, but Courage and I have to be really careful with caveletti because trying to the best at ALL THE THINGS totally stresses him out and usually degenerates into flailing and leaping.

    So yeah, I always walk the first few times and just focus on relaxation through any pole work.

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  2. If I’m doing poles, I walk through a few times first–I don’t think that’s unusual to give the horse a chance to understand it first. I also trot very small, cavaletti-sized jumps frequently, mixed into flat work–at least once a week, to make stuff on the ground routine and therefore, hopefully, not anxiety-inducing.

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  3. aww silly guy! my mare can be a little funny too, and sometimes does ok the first few times and then devolves… i like Karen’s point about mixing in tiny jumps often – seems to make sense

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