Alex Cooper Leasure | 3 Questions | 10 Answers

My horse is terrified of poles, every time I feel like I'm getting somewhere we take 10 steps back. Is there anything I could try to improve her confidence with poles?

My horse is terrified of poles, every time I feel like I'm getting somewhere we take 10 steps back. Is there anything I could try to improve her confidence with poles?
Good luck Alex! Hopefully she gets over her fear soon
Hi all, I don't currently have a coach, but will take the advice of some of you and keep practicing and leading her over them, I have never once given in and let her avoid the pole, we have always ended with her going over them one way or another.
She is scared of them I have had plenty of people say the same thing but when they have seen how she behaves around the poles they soon change their mind.
Ok then. I would speak with your coach, they should be able to help you through this.
Okay, maybe put her in a round yard with poles and make her go around over them staying on the outside.....also just do lots of ground work to begin with
@susangloade it is not rider related because when Alex leads her horse over poles it still scared of them so it is 100% not rider related
Speak with your coach, this is something that is rider related, not pole related. You’ve taught her (so to speak) that when she doesn’t go over them that she doesn’t have to. And think she’s scared, but she’s just playing you now.

I would give you a couple of exercises to do, but this is something that your coach should be dealing with.
Hi Ruby, they're a mix of colours, she's not quite as bad with the wooden poles, but she hates the white ones, she does hate white but the walls of her stable are white, as are a lot of things, she still doesn't like it haha, she knows when it's a white van coming behind her because they're the scary ones! Red ones aren't scary
Hi Alex, my horse used to do this all the time I would go out with him and just lead him and let him sniff them, walk around them and then when he starts to not spook just walk him over the poles. Hoped this helped :)
Hi Alex, sometimes horses can be scared of different colours, one horse I know used to be TERRIFIED of yellow.... what colour are your poles? At one stage all our poles, equipment and everything he horse would go near got painted yellow.... desensitise your horse in the ground in hand first and then build up the progress by doing it all again but in the saddle.
I hope this helped ;)
As odd as this may sound, let her loose in the arena or paddock with polls all over the ground, let her find them herself and gain confidence. If you're able to just place them all over your property so when you're leading her around she might have to step over one to go to the wash bay or something. Also let her take her time, school it like a jump. Walk her up to it, make her halt, let her sniff or lean towards it, ask her to take one step, let her sniff then keep repeating. Every time she steps back give her a kick until she stops or moves forward and then halt and repeat everything. Make sure you reward her when she's being good, pat, treat or simply taking all the pressure off. Good luck!
Same with my horse. Lead her over it and show her it’s not that scary and maybe when you get on again just circle her around the pole and maybe have a crop with you.
Hope this helps

Sincerely, Trevor
Maybe some groundwork would help, lead her over and show her that it’s nothing to be scared of.
I have worked with a horse that was also scared of poles. Start off by walking him over smally skinny poles and as he gets better try more wider poles as he gets better
Thank you Cassidy, sadly her stable isn't big enough for a pole to go in 🙈 I'll see about getting a smaller pole to put in her stable and see if that helps, Thank you! 😊
Yeahh she's jumpy but she will follow me over a pole, even over two poles recently, but as soon as I get on her back she gets really spooky again and I can feel her tense up, I've been riding her bareback/with saddle, just in a headcollar I've tried everything to make her more comfortable, I've been able to get her over two poles but she won't walk calmly she rushes over them, and then if I try to do it in a few days or the next day it's back to square one, it's taking me a good half hour before I can ride her over 🙈
I agree with Sydney but I would also suggest adding a pole into her stall area if it is possible. In front of the feeder would be best. Add another when you think she has gotten used to that. Start with one pole down in the arena and walk over it, once she is over it release all of your rein and give huge vocal praise and pet her. Give her a treat here and there too but not so often that she would expect it every time. Once you have her happily walking over one pole add a second one and repeat. Staying at a walk. When she is able to walk over four poles without loosing her mind them transition into trotting them and start back with only one pole. Make sure they are spaced correctly for her stride too, my mare hates the poles when they are not spaced far enough apart.
Yes, mine is the same. She's fine with 'natural' jumps, just not poles. Have u tried things like walking her over in hand and when she stopped over the pole, give her a carrot or something ? I find carrots help with most things lol!
I've been doing that for a good 3 years now 🙈 She's a silly mare thank you Sydney
I'm sorry to hear that Lucy, that's awful, im hoping it's because she's still very baby like, even though she's 9, she's scared of everything but we've eventually managed to get over most other things, I'll give it another couple of months and see how she is I might have to give up myself.
She's quite happy to jump logs and things out on a hack just not poles
My mare is scared of poles too, but I have never been able to get her used to them. She hated them so I just let her win. They caused her so much stress and I want her to be happy, not stressed. Her previous owner had beaten her every time she wouldn't go over one so now she's terrified of them. We do dressage now instead
Just try one pole at a time. Lunge him over some and lead him over some then if he's fine with that hop on and try Hope this helps 😀😀
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