Behavior question

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

Marsha Cassada

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
9,318
Reaction score
7,840
Location
Southwest Oklahoma
So I took Midnight to her second parade. The first one was this summer, in the cart. She seemed fine, but kept escalating until she was almost out of control. I thought I would try her in halter for a recent night parade. She was fine, though very alert, as we were getting her "dressed". But the more activity around, the more reactive she got. I thought she might settle after we started to walk, but just like the summer parade, her behavior escalating until I could hardly hold onto her. She even bucked. I wasn't even sure she could hear when I tried to talk to her calmly. By the time we to the end, which was less than 1/2 mile, she was a wreck. The lights were askew, batteries fallen out, hat under her chin. As soon as it was all over, she calmed down again and was fine to undress and load.
She did stand pretty well when we stopped for petting, but as soon as we began to walk again she escalated immediately.
Midnight is 6-8 years old. (Not sure as she came from a sale and the vet estimates her age by her teeth). She is quiet at home, though somewhat reactive to new things. She has been driving for about 2 years in town and on country roads.
So, I am thinking she is just not a parade horse. She does not enjoy it (and I certainly did not). Is her behavior being a brat? Did she totally zone out from stimulus? If we tried again would she be better? Is there some training aid that would help?
The photo is when we just started out. She was super alert but still listening to me.
 

Attachments

dalvers63

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
Messages
165
Reaction score
226
Location
Snohomish, WA
It sounds to me like she is just overstimulated and not used to new, loud, experiences. Her reaction is the only way she knows to get rid of the tension and let you know she isn't comfortable. You could work with her, slowly introducing new things and rewarding when she is calm. I'd do it the same way I would with a dog who gets overstimulated. Start slowly, get her good at home in a quiet environment, then slowly add in new things. Once she's shown she's OK with it, you can add more things and then new places. It is not a quick process but would be good for her, IMO, as she would have lots of experience on handling new and possibly scary things.

You two looked adorable at the start!
 

Willow Flats

MHT Supporter
Joined
Oct 30, 2017
Messages
1,652
Reaction score
3,191
Location
Northern California
I agree with the above...over stimulated and afraid, not disobedient. I have had people suggest I bring Rocko to a parade but I think at this point we could have the same experience as you did. I have even thought about rounding up some neighboring kids to line up and help us practice. I think they would enjoy that!
I have never even gone for a walk with Rocko at night or with a flashlight so I have no idea how he would do walking down our road in the dark. We might have to try that!
Was she by herself? You said no Dapper Dan, but was Munchkin or Jackie O there with her?
 

LostandFound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
Messages
304
Reaction score
615
Location
Pennsylvania
I'm going to agree and add that a horse that is reactive to new things at home is probably not going to enjoy being a parade horse. Not that it's impossible, but more difficult and probably never going to something she enjoys. If you want to take her again, maybe try just letting her hang out since that was easier for her. Or work with her outside the parade, not in the middle of it. And haul her out to other things that will be loud and exciting. Maybe a high school football game?
 

Kelly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Messages
1,293
Reaction score
3,674
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
If I have an over stimulated, fearful horse…crazy horse 🤪… then I always look at it as they need more practice and desensitization in that particular area, so that’s exactly what they get. Was the summer parade at night too? Only you can decide if you want to continue her training as a parade horse or not. Only you know if she was being bratty or not, does she view you as alpha mare? Does she look for you for guidance and to be the leader?

I think horses can eventually over come most fears, but it does take a lot of time and a lot of effort. High school football game sounds like a great start…..especially during half time! 🥳

My poor ponies freaked the first time they saw me with a flashlight at night, they are slowly getting used to my wicked ways 🤣🤣

And you know what… it’s ok if you didn’t enjoy the parade with her and it’s ok if you don’t want to do it again. And it’s ok if you say, “nope she ain’t a parade horse!” Plus, how many parades a year do you do? Why stress over it? Safety first!! This is suppose to be fun. I finally say, “Thunder is a one woman kinda horse!” LOL LOL Now could I keep pushing him to let people pet him? Absolutely, but why? He is perfectly wonderful just the way he is….so they don’t excel in one area, who cares because they are awesome in another! 💕💕
 

MaryFlora

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
542
Reaction score
1,591
Location
Minnesota
You two looked adorable, Marsha! That’s a ton of work getting ready for a parade!

I’ve done the local parade several times over the years both with and without grandkids (and never so stylishly) and totally agree that these activities are supposed to be fun.

Midnight is very pretty and sounds like she is trying to figure things out with you.

It would be such a help if sale barn horses came with a true statement of previous experience! It sounds like Midnight was essentially a “blank slate” and you’re making amazing progress!
 

Marsha Cassada

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
9,318
Reaction score
7,840
Location
Southwest Oklahoma
You two looked adorable, Marsha! That’s a ton of work getting ready for a parade!

I’ve done the local parade several times over the years both with and without grandkids (and never so stylishly) and totally agree that these activities are supposed to be fun.

Midnight is very pretty and sounds like she is trying to figure things out with you.

It would be such a help if sale barn horses came with a true statement of previous experience! It sounds like Midnight was essentially a “blank slate” and you’re making amazing progress!
My sister actually purchased her a local auction. If I had been the purchaser I would have sought out the seller and asked about her. She was full of cockleburs, unkempt, and needing a farrier badly. But not thin. I think she was just out in a pasture and no one paid her any attention. She was not abused as she has always been friendly. But, as you say, pretty much a blank slate.
 

Dragon Hill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2020
Messages
453
Reaction score
969
Location
South Carolina
I agree Midnight was overwhelmed by the commotion and not enjoying herself, rather than being bratty. I had a beautiful dog many years ago and showed him, it was a cluster. The first day he was unhappy. The second day he showed me just how miserable he was and that was the end of his show career. Ruined me on showing, too.
 

Jean_B

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2002
Messages
1,544
Reaction score
408
Location
Amery, Wisconsin
My suggestion: Go back to basics, line driving in a controlled setting. Lots of repetition. Introduce to chaos over time, recruit people to be outside the arena, etc. making noise, lights flashing, music blaring, kids yelling. And once you are confident she has her head on straight, when you go to another parade, have a header walking next to her head until you are 100% certain she won't come unglued.
 

MajorClementine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2010
Messages
1,692
Reaction score
1,696
Location
Utah
Sounds like a warmblood. They work up instead of down. Most horses work through things and calm down eventually. Some (like my thoroughbreds) work up instead. It's frustrating and often I've had to learn to work around it instead of "fixing" it.
 

Latest posts

Top