helping a spooked horse. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 17 Old 04-29-2014, 02:01 PM
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For a horse that spooks by becoming a statute I think saddlebag had it right.

Get her attention back on you by making her work, small circles, figure eights and make her hustle. Then ride on.
Once the horse realizes that it will be more work to stand still then walk on they generally will walk on.

I feel like most horses that go with the "statue spook" are not really afraid they are looking for an acceptable way to get out of work.
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post #12 of 17 Old 04-29-2014, 03:23 PM
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related question...

My horse spooked last month at a lesson. I halted him, he stopped and I patted his shoulder. In my head I was saying "there's nothing scary, it's ok".
But my trainer said not to pat him.. I guess her logic was 'why are you patting him for spooking?' :) And thinking of it that way I could see that point...

Either way, we pick up and resume work immediately like nothing has changed. But wanted to get your thoughts on that.

Last week I was riding another guy I wasn't normally on and he spooked (almost lost my balance) and instinctively I did the "pat" again once he was halted and collected, before sending him forward into a posting trot. Old habits eh?

Re: any of my advice - Happy to give my two cents, but not an expert... just a girl who loves riding horses!
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post #13 of 17 Old 04-29-2014, 03:39 PM
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It's human nature to soothe others. It doesn't work with horses. If you stop what you are doing, such as working them, when they act up, you are actually rewarding the bad behavior.

It is different if the horse stopped spooking and is standing still and relaxed. You are rewarding them for calming down. The problem is timing. Too soon and you are rewarding the spook.
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post #14 of 17 Old 04-29-2014, 07:00 PM
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Read the sticky post by Cherie on how she trains fearless trail horses. That has all the info you'll need!

Here's the link: This is how we train a fearless trail horse!

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post #15 of 17 Old 04-29-2014, 07:04 PM
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yesterday I was taking a short gallop up a hill and sure enough, there's a walker coming in from the shadows of a trail adjoining from the right. Z spooked left, and I had a momentary "oh oh, I hope I don't go off".
Well, I didn't, and I stopped to recover myself and talk to this person, who was also surprised. In hindsight, I should have asked him right back up into a canter, even if for just a step or two, so that spooking is not associated with an entire stop of acitivity.

I didn't pat him, I didnt punish him or yell or make any big deal, which is good, but the next better thing is to carry on totally.

It's important not to reef on your horse's mouth or punish them if they have a genuine spook. If you can, go with them for a step or two, then channel that energy back into work. That's what we SHOULD do, but what I often do is just be thankful I am still on, and recover my dignity , then think about moving on.
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post #16 of 17 Old 04-29-2014, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
it's important not to reef on your horse's mouth or punish them if they have a genuine spook. If you can, go with them for a step or two, then channel that energy back into work. That's what we SHOULD do, but what I often do is just be thankful I am still on, and recover my dignity , then think about moving on.
^^^^soooooo true! I think it is OUR instinct to snatch them up and recover all balance and spacial awareness before we do anything else, but you're 1000% right that the correct thing to do is to put them straight to work without the stop and recover moment. I wish I had the presence of mind to do that in the moment. I don't let them sit for longer than a moment, and there's no patting and cooing, but still, it would be nice to remember to take that 180-degree duck and turn it into continuous motion of my choosing.
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post #17 of 17 Old 04-30-2014, 12:06 AM
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well, for me it takes a second to be sure that I am still ON the hrose, still got my stirrups and reins, then brains, then presence of mind. In that order.
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