How this played out is that she would bow away from the scary place, pushing her shoulder into me, while keeping an eye out for more bogeyman. This body position allows a sideways escape plan from Scary Thing. This tells me a lot:
1.) She is not looking to me to determine what is scary;
2.) She will be running me over to escape from scary;
3.) Her mind is not on the work at hand, which in My Training Rulebook is not at all acceptable.
4.) She was looking for trouble where there wasn’t any.
The first thing I did was try to bring her nose towards me and get her body parallel. She was having none of that. She put her nose to the outside of the circle, and kept bowing away, while pushing into me.
I tried tickling her with the end of the whip, but you must remember she is a pushy, dominant horse. What would work with your average horse is not going to make a dent with her especially as she is still learning to move off of pressure and not into it. I had to use a lot more pressure on her shoulder then I ideally would have wanted.
She circled me still bulging – during this I kept the lead rope very slack – it was a connection between us but it was important for it not to become something for her to pull against.
About five minutes of that work she finally settled, gave me nose to the inside and then I switched to being in front, walking backwards, focusing all of her attention on my hand that held the lead rope. As I walked backwards, about every five steps, I would raise my hand up and ask for a stop which she gave very well.
At the gate, we went through it opening and closing on it’s gate opener/key system as eventually we will go out that direction to walk the real neighborhood. The keypad beeps quite loudly and the mechanical gate opener makes some noise too.
On the way back, I deliberately walked on the side she is not as comfortable with – the right. Again, we went back to bulging and circling me, trying to keep an eye on Scary Place. Once she settled, I returned to the walking backwards, leading from front with my hand giving the signal to come forward or stop.
Interestingly, she also balked at the goat/pig/duck farm and we went back to working on what she was really supposed to be paying attention too.
These tests are good. I want her to push it, especially with the groundwork where I can quickly get it corrected and worked out. It’s unrealistic to suppose a two year old, dominate filly would not test the situation; and it’s unrealistic to suppose that thinking good thoughts will be enough to stop or correct her.