I only have a few minutes, but wanted to run in and relate an incident that just happened.
I was leading Beautiful out of her stall to the turnout, usually the barn door is already open--one of those that opens upward--but today it wasn't. I thought, oh well, she needs to learn to stand while I open it. I already know it's scary for horses because all of the others had to get used to it, too, but I figured she could handle it.
She looked scared, of course, when she saw it closed and me starting to open it, and I knew I had two choices--slow or fast--and my feeling about slow is that sometimes when you go too slow you teach them there's something to actually be scared of--so instead, I ripped the band-aid off fast! Not too fast, normal speed, but enough that she started scooting backward and fell into the wheel barrow.
After the wheelbarrow, things could have gotten really bad, but she recovered herself and came back up to me. We proceeded through the 3/4 open door. On the other side of the door--in the driveway--she bolted foward and we were in that tug-of-war position. She started to back up and there was no way I could get to her side. I was like one second from losing the lead--she could have so easily ripped it from me at that point, but I faked calmness and stood still--I figured the only chance I had was her stopping herself. I held on tight and firm. She stopped!!! Thank you!! Thank you!!
Delimma. I thought I'd better use that time for some work going in and out, but when I brought her back up to the door, she'd have none of it and seemed ready to bolt again.
So, here's where my fear comes into play. Last year a friend's filly actually did get free of her and broke down all of my fence, almost releasing my herd. This morning I'd let my herd out to graze and there's only a thin electric wire keeping them in. I use a thin electric because wire isn't a real barrier for horses, and if they're going to go through it, I'd rather it not cut them up--but I'm under NO illusion that it's a real barrier for a scared horse.
I listened to my fears and just took her on in to the turn out.
My thinking is that I'll work her around the doors again tonight when I have someone to back me up and the other horses are locked in their stalls. That way, if she does get free of me--which I'm 99 percent sure she wont', but NOT willing to take a gamble--she'll return to the barn to be near the other horses.
I might also use this evening to introduce her to the pasture with one other horse.
Wish me luck!