Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gallant, Alabama
Cars - What's the best way to get a nervous horse used to them?
Iíve been given lotís of advice on just how to get Jaxxon used to cars.
Iíve been told to tie him close to the road... which Iím hesitant to do, in case he freaks out... so Iíve already put that suggestion Ďbehind meí.
Iíve been told to take him to the highway and just let him get used to them zooming around... which I donít want to do because thatís jut a disaster waiting to strike.
Iíve narrowed my Ďchoicesí down, and am going with the one I find most comfortable for both me and Jaxxon... Iím walking him a few times a week about half a mile and back. The road I live on isnít a busy road, so weíre lucky to be passed by more than five cars, and they all slow down for us. Some stop to say Ďheyí and, after explaining the situation with Jaxxon, theyíre willing to let him get close to smell of the car. We usually see a motorcycle/dirt bike or two, a four-wheeler, etc... (family) and they always slow down or stop and let Jaxxon get close and see whatever it is and wait for us to go on ahead before going on, so as to not startle him.
My dilemma, however, is my reaction to the vehicles. Iíll admit, I do get a little nervous when one goes by, because I think Ďwhat if Jax decides to totally freak and jump in front of the car/truckí (my neighbor lost a yearling a few years ago like that... he was leading the horse, a truck and trailer came by, and just like that the horse freaked and reared into the trailer and broke itís leg and had to be put down... he was a really promising stud-colt, too...). I donít want that to happen.
Thankfully, Jaxxon just Ďflinchesí backwards when something goes by. Sometimes heíll Ďflinchí, sometimes heís fine.
But my problem is... when a car is coming, should I stop walking, get off to the side of the road (if Iím not already there), and pet and reassure Jaxxon and let him watch the vehicle as it gets close and passes us (this is what Iíve been doing)... or should I ignore the vehicle and keep walking and let him get used to them like that, on his own (Iíve done this once and he really got nervous and tried to hide behind me).
Iíve been told by different people to do both, and both sound like ok methods, but I dunno which is best?... I can see the reasons for both methods... by me stopping and reassuring him, it gives him confidence, but may take longer for him to become completely ok with vehicles... but by me keeping walking and paying no attention, it shows him that Ďhey, itís nothing to get all uptight aboutí...
So... any advice?
Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (1994 TWH mare), Dakota (2006 TWH gelding), Jo (2012 TWH filly) & Minnie (1992 Paint mare)