Anxious/worried horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 19 Old 04-04-2013, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Canteringleap View Post
My horse was, and still can be extremely anxious. I found the BIGGEST thing which led towards him being much better, and MUCH easier to handle, was desensitizing him.
I started with smaller things like getting him used to my tools, a lunge whip, which I would flap round him, first far away, then when he stops moving i'd give him a release from this pressure. Then i'd do it closer etc. Then I'd use a tarp, they're great as a tool because they're big, bright, and loud! 'monsters' are all of these things ;).

By desensitizing him you will be building a very valuable trust with him, while also helping with the spooking/anxiousness.

I'd also suggest maybe adding epson salts into his feed, For magnesium levels. Or add a calming supplement?

Good luck :)
I never thoight of magnesium levels being low and that it would affect him! Thanks. :)
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post #12 of 19 Old 04-04-2013, 11:34 AM
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The more you can work with your horse as far as desensitizing the better, IMHO.
Tarps, bags, a cow bell, milk jug with rocks in it, kid on a bicycle, walking over poles, follow an open umbrella, drag a board...whatever. He needs to know he won't be hurt and will learn to trust you. I had a mare terrified of the clippers. We got out into the open and I held them out and had her follow. We'd stop, I'd let her look at them, soon I was able to rub her neck and in a few minutes she was standing while I trimmed her bridle path. Desensitizing. No more drama or trauma.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #13 of 19 Old 04-04-2013, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dustbunny View Post
The more you can work with your horse as far as desensitizing the better, IMHO.
Tarps, bags, a cow bell, milk jug with rocks in it, kid on a bicycle, walking over poles, follow an open umbrella, drag a board...whatever. He needs to know he won't be hurt and will learn to trust you. I had a mare terrified of the clippers. We got out into the open and I held them out and had her follow. We'd stop, I'd let her look at them, soon I was able to rub her neck and in a few minutes she was standing while I trimmed her bridle path. Desensitizing. No more drama or trauma.
Thabks! That's alot of great idea's. I know its easier to get a horse less afraid of something when they have to follow it. :)
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post #14 of 19 Old 04-04-2013, 10:17 PM
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Another big factor that people always forget is how you deal with the spook. If you are calm and assertive and act as if nothing is wrong, correct quickly and firmly then keep going as if nothing happened she will respond 100x better than if you get worked up or try and calm her or tell her "oh its ok I know its a big scary horse eating tarp but you just have to stand here please please please".
I don't know if you are naturally a nervous person or how you react around your horse but I have noticed that a lot of how a horse responds to a scary situation depends on how the handler responds.
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post #15 of 19 Old 04-04-2013, 10:50 PM
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Good point, LynnF. The "it's no big deal" approach works with dogs and kids too.
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If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #16 of 19 Old 04-04-2013, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnF View Post
Another big factor that people always forget is how you deal with the spook. If you are calm and assertive and act as if nothing is wrong, correct quickly and firmly then keep going as if nothing happened she will respond 100x better than if you get worked up or try and calm her or tell her "oh its ok I know its a big scary horse eating tarp but you just have to stand here please please please".
I don't know if you are naturally a nervous person or how you react around your horse but I have noticed that a lot of how a horse responds to a scary situation depends on how the handler responds.
When I first got Cinny he stayed at his previous owners for a couple of weeks. She always expected him to spook, and he always did. The wind, a bag, the kids, the dog. But you know, he never really spooked with me and I never expected him too. Every once in a great while something will startle him a little, but he recovers rather quickly (when he's not having an ulcer flare or Mag deficiency that is).
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-04-2013, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnF View Post
Another big factor that people always forget is how you deal with the spook. If you are calm and assertive and act as if nothing is wrong, correct quickly and firmly then keep going as if nothing happened she will respond 100x better than if you get worked up or try and calm her or tell her "oh its ok I know its a big scary horse eating tarp but you just have to stand here please please please".
I don't know if you are naturally a nervous person or how you react around your horse but I have noticed that a lot of how a horse responds to a scary situation depends on how the handler responds.
Im not a nervous person when it comes to spooking. Even before I even thought about buying a rode a worked with quite a few spooky horses. I don't even flintch now. I think he's previous owner was nervous with him tho.
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-05-2013, 06:26 AM
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Horses spooking is definitely related to their rider. I remember once I was on trail and my mare spooked once and it really scared me so I kept shortening the reins and being scared and uptight so she kept spooking. As soon as I loosened them and took a breath, she stopped spooking!
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post #19 of 19 Old 04-05-2013, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jlombard5 View Post
Horses spooking is definitely related to their rider.
I've found this too.

My gelding is TOTALLY quiet and dead-headed with me. He literally plods along half asleep and spooks at next to nothing [until I get nervous and uptight, then he's difficult]. But with other riders he can be incredibly difficult to get along with. He spooks, he gets rushy, he gets rude.

My filly is very sensitive to my feelings [I haven't had anyone else ride her yet]. When I'm calm and relaxed and confident, so is she. When I'm nervous and uptight, she's a nightmare. Bucks, spooks, rushes...

Both are on magnesium suppliments on top of their usual vit/min suppliment and coat/joint/hoof suppliments, and both are very confident horses that like to explore and learn new things. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I don't think so.

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