Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Alberta, Canada
I have a natrually hot headed mare and she likes to invent all sorts of scary scenarios with random objects in the arena: bleachers, scary jump standards, little kids, etc.
I find that the best way to deal with a spooky horse is to ignore the object that they are spooking at and make them work hard and take their minds off of what it is that is scaring them.
For example, if I am doing 20 metre circles at one end of the arena and she is freaking out over a scary shadow in the corner, I will put my inside leg on, hold the outside sholder with my outside rein and ask her to bend nicely as I go near that corner. I almost exaggerate what I'm asking so that I make her know, I don't care about the corner, we are working now. Switch it up, one direction to the next. I'll maybe through in some serpentines by that particular corner, maybe some transitions and before you know it, she's too busy to even think about spooking.
The worst thing you can do, IMHO, is let the horse stand and stare at whatever is spooking them. In my mind, it verifies that yes, that corner is spooky and you are acknowledging that fear. Make them work past the scary object. Make them ignore it and they will stop spooking.