My gelding Luca is perfect in traffic, he doesn't mind sheep, cows, other horses, dogs etc, is gentle with little kids (not adults, though ) and an overall great horse. However, whenever he smells or sees a pig (even from a distance) he goes all rigid and tense, wide eyes, doing these quiet, trembling snorting sounds. He is literally on the verge of bolting. When I keep leading him, he'll try to look back at the pig/s in a worried manner and he'll try to get away as fast as he can.
Last time we encountered pigs was yesterday. We were out for a little afternoon trek along the road and there was this pig by the side of the road, behind a fence, but still close. Luca stopped and stared. I talked to him in a calm voice and got off, intending to lead him past. Luca tried to rush past the pig, causing him to nearly run into a road marker (one of those red and white pole thingies). He kept trying to burst into a trot, but I turned his head towards me, disabling him to bolt.
This happens EVER TIME, and I'm sick of it. Are there any ways to desensitise him to pigs? We can't avoid those pigs when we go out on farm treks, so I need some way to help Luca overcome his fear if I want to keep riding around the neighbourhood.
Suggestions are greatly appreciated.