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Can a spooky horse be eventer/do XC?

This is a discussion on Can a spooky horse be eventer/do XC? within the Eventing forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Very spooky event horse
  • Spooky horse eventing

 
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    12-25-2010, 11:24 PM
  #11
Weanling
Yes its possible!! When I first got my OTTB as a 3 year old (now 6), he was terrified of EVERYTHING at shows. The jump judges, the chairs they sat in, the extra jump poles from higher levels on the ground, the water buckets in horses' pastures, the other BIGGER prelim jumps on the XC course. Now, although 3 years later, he is still green and a little hesitant with new things but has gotten much bolder. He spooks at things he has never seen before but the key is to get them out as much as possible. Take him somewhere almost every week if you can. Show him EVERYTHING. It may take time but yes it is possible! My sister's event horse who is worth $40,000 or more has competed through intermediate level eventing very successfully BUT on a normal trail ride and at home he is quite spooky. We went on a trail ride the other day together and he spooked at more stuff than my greenie! But at shows, he is focused and knows his job and doesn't have time to think about spookign.
     
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    12-26-2010, 04:02 PM
  #12
Yearling
It's definitely possible. Just go schooling as much as you can. Honestly, I think that just because a horse is spooky on trails doesn't mean they'll be spooky on an XC course. When the horse has a clear job, I.e. Jump this jump, gallop, jump that jump, and they're consistently listening to you then they think less about spooking and all that energy is channeled into excitement for the job.
     
    12-26-2010, 05:52 PM
  #13
Trained
If you can channel those spooks and excess energy into productive work, you'll be swimming in ribbons. My best dressage tests come when my horse is a little over-responsive. Once they lock in on the job at hand, all that energy turns into big floaty trots and fantastic jumping rounds. It's just a matter on redirecting the energy by being calm and consistent with your own body language. Does your horse settle down and start to focus better once you start jumping?
     
    12-26-2010, 06:12 PM
  #14
Super Moderator
Thank you, folks!

MBP, I can't really tell as I only jump her tiny jumps once in while. I don't want to ruin her without working with the trainer (because I lack the experience). But yes, I think since I've started working with the dressage trainer and we have something to work on, she's getting more focused. Last time I went on trails (which was Nov), we actually nicely cantered, which I was afraid to do before most of the times (as she went too speedy somewhat ignoring the cues to slow down, and combined with spooking it's not something I really enjoy doing).
     
    12-26-2010, 06:47 PM
  #15
Yearling
It sounds to me as if she really just needs something to always be focusing on, which I think is a wonderful thing. When she's not feeling challenged or feels like she doesn't have a prescribed job to do it sounds like she'd probably be more looky. As long as you direct her attention and channel her energy you'll be killing it out at an event, just like MyBoyPuck said. I agree, that when my horse has been a little more energetic and sensitive is when I've gotten more out of him and he's really performed a whole lot better.
     

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