The Story of a little Scaredy-Cat!
Sooo, I promised you the story behind Foxys training and why she was walking with the broodmare group without a foal herself. Her own foal life seemed pretty normal, just like her crop mates Skip, Pepper and Twoface. She was a shy but cuddly filly, always a bit behind the others. In all else an averady cute and beautiful girl.
It all started three months after weaning her with the group. They still were together and got used to the fact that they are no longer with their moms on the same paddock. They got used to normal food, grass and some first lungeing and trick tries. We could not help but watch Foxy get more and more shy and skittish about everything, we tried many different methods and workouts. We could not explain why she started to behave like she did, getting more and more scared of everything that ste didnt knew, because we knew her as a shy foal but nerver too shy to not explore some new stuff.
I had my problems getting her broken in with 2 1/2 years, she got used to the indoor arena, but only if I put every just barely "scary" thing out of her visible area. And still she had to cope with her anxiouse behaviour. I went on like this for a year, hopeing she might get used to working and get more self confidence, but I felt like it was slowly getting worse.
So last year, at her 3rd year I almost made my desicion to stop riding her as she was barely able to jog without bucking, rearing and other skittish behaviour. At that time Darren, my stepfather told me about one last try, a technic they made years back whe he worked on his first ranch as saddler. He wasnt really involved, but he had seen it very often, that skittish mares were put into the broodmare group for a year, from covering until almost weaning time they let the mares roam around within the herds. The skittish mare itself did not get covered but should just learn herd behaviour and get confidence by building up a herd rank and feel safety within the group. Like a second time being a foal and getting to know what they might missed in their own foal time.
At that time I would have never thought that it could be a problem for Foxy maybe being weaned to early or to quick, we usually tend to split them from each others slowly, leaving them on neigbouring paddocks for a while. But when Darrent old me about the method I thought still giving it a try. I mean, what could go wrong, she might aswell be a future broodmare so either it will get better with her confidence or she will learn about broodmare herd life. Neither a bad thing, so I gave it a go.
Foxy has been the whole year now with the group, has seen the foals being born and playing around, she got in touch with the other experienced mares and pretty much had no training at all. I have taken her out for five days now and I started lungeing her and did some groundwork. She is still easyly scared of some things, but today I finally rode her in a calm jog, and that OUTSIDE! No more dry indoor arena dust. She is now 4 1/2 years old and I can now finally somewhat savely ride her walk and jog.
She is bucking like crazy in canter, lope and faster though and I bet there is something not right with her not liking the saddle or so. Next week we have an appointment with a local medical saddler who will help my stepfather Darren to create her a fitting saddle and check if there is everything okay with her back. After that I can work better with her hopefully. But I am really glad that she starts to calm down, the broodmare group really gave her a big push in confidence, maybe we have weaned her to early, some horses can handle it, Foxy maybe didnt. So she got her time with the girls and their foals. She is a brave littly girly girl!
So maybe there will be a future Competition Career for her in Western Pleasure. The broodmare-group method really worked out, still much to work but she doesnt rear anymore and really got more confident. I can feel it in her walking more strongly and earthened, no more stip-steppin like a ballerina, jumping from everything that exists. Brave Foxy!