Terrible fear of large vehicles? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-17-2011, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Unhappy Terrible fear of large vehicles?

custard went to the northern ireland festival in april, and a tractor drove a bit too close to his bum, causing a bolt. since then, he has been TERRIFIED of any large vehicle going near him. for example, a week and a half ago, me and my friend were hacking up the hill at my yard when we saw two vans coming down the hill. (there is a motocross taking place at my yard this weekend, lots of vans have been up and down the hill but there didn't seem to be too many around that day.) we turned quickly and started walking down but custard freaked at the vans, bolting and throwing huge bucks. I held my hand up to the driver to ask him to stop revving the engine, he kept going and custard grew more and more unsettled. that dented my confidence slightly.
then, two days ago, we were hacking and a guy from my yard came right up beside us on a massive digger. he KNOWS custard is scared of them, and didn't stop even when custard reared RIGHT UP. I was terrified and we bolted down a very very steep hill, not getting stopped until the very bottom when I was in tears and custard was an emotional wreck. today he was in the paddock and a digger just went past his paddock, not even near him, and he took a psycho. this is really worrying me, it's becoming dangerous! any ideas?:(

Custard; I love you! 3/1/2011 ♥
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-17-2011, 08:50 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: England, (cheltenham)
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i dont blame you for being scared its a horrible problem. when i have a horse thats scared of big vehicles i get one-eg a digger- put it in the paddock and let him sniff it,see it etc. if hes okay with that turn it on, wait until hes calm then rev it, wait until hes calm start to move it. this may take a few hours,few days,few weeks depnding on horse.

someone also told me to get a big vehicle abd start to drive it and get the horse to follow it so hes chasing the 'scary' vehicle. also when hacking if i hear a big vehicle coming and my horse was scared id choose a suitable place to stop and turn the horse to face it. if the horse is okay let it pass. uf not ask it to stop and try and get the horse past. he needs to realise it wont hurt him. hope this helps :)
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-17-2011, 09:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
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Is there any way to just stay away from them for awhile? Do you have to ride on roads? It kinda sounds like people in your area are jerks where horses and safety are concerned. While I'm all for desensitizing horses to things, large truck with obnoxious drivers it a lot to ask for a horse to get used to.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-18-2011, 11:06 AM
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Location: Oregon
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I would try leading him up to and around the equipment that scares him, if you have some available to do it with. First with the motors off, once he's comfortable with that then when they are idling. Then, if possible, while they are actually moving.

With you leading he should take his cues from you that they are not the big scary monsters he thinks they are.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-18-2011, 12:09 PM
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First off, I am so sorry you were scared and your horse terrorized. Second, some of the people in your yard are fricktards. Good grief, you could have been seriously injured or killed. I will wish bad s&x on them.

I agree with the others. If you can put one of these machines in his paddock and then turn him out in it he will soon see it is not there to eat him. It is simply a desensitizing issue and it may take some time. After he sees it isn't going to eat him, hold him steady and have someone else turn the machine on while you are at a safe distance. Leave it running so he can see, hear and smell it. My former horse Red didn't even look at machinery. He was a former race horse and was used to huge machinery, loud trucks, tractors. LOL Hubby and I were riding out at Tyrrell Park one day and they had a huge earth moving machine out there. Hubby's horse moved in a huge arc around it - giving it the stink eye...Red just kept plodding by it. Thank God Biscuit is pretty much the same way...he doesn't get in a flap.

Just keep working with him and please be careful...slow and steady will win him over. (and the pox on your yardmates while I am at it.)

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Last edited by QOS; 08-18-2011 at 12:12 PM.
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-18-2011, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
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thanks everyone! unfortunately it is not possible to put him in a paddock with the machinery, but today I lunged him while they were going up and down the hill in the small paddock beside the hill. he freaked himself out the first few times, and slowly his freak outs got smaller and less noticeable, so this is always an improvement! I'm going to keep trying to get him near them at every opportunity, fingers crossed my baby returns to his bombproof self!

Custard; I love you! 3/1/2011 ♥
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