Handling a spooky horse - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 23 Old 08-15-2011, 01:24 PM
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Something you need to know is that a horse has two areas of concern that he wants to protect. The first is his juglar. He can see to protect that. The second is his hind legs only there's a blind spot back there. He will be more reactionary to the blind spot. When a horse is troubled by something ask him to move his hindquarters over a bit but keep him walking past. You are letting him protect his hindquarters and yet you are allowing him to better see the spooky object as you move away from it. While you are doing this keep your focus on something a hundred yards ahead so that the horse understands that that's where you are going, not to the spooky object. If you have to return that way he may not react at all as he's seeing it from a different side of his brain.
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post #22 of 23 Old 08-15-2011, 01:30 PM
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If this were me (and I've gone off a horse and bonked my head pretty good), I'd spend a bit of time just walking the horse past the scary object. Completely ignore it. This sounds kind of hokey, but I've had a lot of success in the past by letting the horse WATCH me play with the scary object. If the scary thing is in an enclosed space, I let the horse loose and play with the object. I sit on it, roll it around, carry it around, have a snack while sitting on it... horses are curious creatures and eventually, they'll be so curious that they'll forget they were ever spooked by it. Do this a few times over and then work back up to riding past the object.
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post #23 of 23 Old 08-15-2011, 02:20 PM
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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.
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