Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gallant, Alabama
Cars - What's the best way to get a nervous horse used to them?
I’ve been given lot’s of advice on just how to get Jaxxon used to cars.
I’ve been told to tie him close to the road... which I’m hesitant to do, in case he freaks out... so I’ve already put that suggestion ‘behind me’.
I’ve been told to take him to the highway and just let him get used to them zooming around... which I don’t want to do because that’s jut a disaster waiting to strike.
I’ve narrowed my ‘choices’ down, and am going with the one I find most comfortable for both me and Jaxxon... I’m walking him a few times a week about half a mile and back. The road I live on isn’t a busy road, so we’re lucky to be passed by more than five cars, and they all slow down for us. Some stop to say ‘hey’ and, after explaining the situation with Jaxxon, they’re 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. I’ll admit, I do get a little nervous when one goes by, because I think ‘what if Jax decides to totally freak and jump in front of the car/truck’ (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 it’s leg and had to be put down... he was a really promising stud-colt, too...). I don’t want that to happen.
Thankfully, Jaxxon just ‘flinches’ backwards when something goes by. Sometimes he’ll ‘flinch’, sometimes he’s fine.
But my problem is... when a car is coming, should I stop walking, get off to the side of the road (if I’m not already there), and pet and reassure Jaxxon and let him watch the vehicle as it gets close and passes us (this is what I’ve been doing)... or should I ignore the vehicle and keep walking and let him get used to them like that, on his own (I’ve done this once and he really got nervous and tried to hide behind me).
I’ve 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 ‘hey, it’s nothing to get all uptight about’...
So... any advice?
Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (1994 TWH mare), Dakota (2006 TWH gelding), Jo (2012 TWH filly) & Minnie (1992 Paint mare)