Did something dumb - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-22-2010, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Parker County, Texas
Posts: 25
• Horses: 4
Did something dumb

Ok, I've had our horse 15 year old for a few months now, actually in our pasture for about a 6 weeks. When we first brought him home he was great, not skittish at all, very friendly and would follow me around like a dog. Then, I did something dumb.

I had him saddled up and was just getting done riding him. Had him tied up to a rail for a while and had brought him some pears we had cut up for him on a white paper plate. He ate the pears (loves them normally) but was acting a little weird. It was breezy that day, but not bad, no storms or anything. He shied away from the plate several times, he just didn't like it near him. I then stood off to his side, about 4 feet away from his left hindquarter. I threw the piece of pear he didn't want away towards the pasture, and I am assuming that the sudden throwing movement, along with the flash of the paper plate FREAKED him out. He began to buck and snort and kick back at some imaginary thing trying to attack him from behind. He was still saddled up mind you.

I tried to get him to calm down but every time he saw the plate he would pin his ears back and kick back, never at me, because I would be in front of him. I quickly figured this out and put the folded up the plate in my pocket. He still kept bucking around until he could get on the other side of the rail and "look at" whatever he deemed was trying to get him.

Since then, he has been a little skittish around me. I have worked with him, even doing one of the Parelli things of keeping him in the corral with just water and feeding him hay twice a day until he recognizes me as the person to trust with the food. It has worked somewhat but we still aren't back to normal. Yesterday it was a little breezy again and I went to get him so I could brush him out. He acted scared of the lead rope, finally got him to let me near him with it. Got him tied up and had to slowly work with him to brush him out.

Is this normal behavior for a horse that has been scared like that? Will he ever "forget" about the incident and not get so uptight around me? I worry about trying to saddle him up and ride him right now, I'm not quite sure how he will act with a saddle on. This kinda frustrates me because he was so gentle before and now I don't know.
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-22-2010, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: North Carolina
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first and foremost, don't worry.. horses all get scared. What breed is he?
NEXT - don't let him take advantage. if he's scared, let him see what he's scared of, but he needs to get over it. Horses need to be used to a lot more then a field of grass. I've brought my guys and girl, through alot of things just for experience. When they were scared of tarps or bikes or goats, we'd make sure to keep riding past them til they got over it. If he can sense your nervous, he'll stay nervous. If he's scared of something, adjust him slowly to it. Assuming he's taken care of properly, he has no reason to fear such little things. Help him experience more and fear less. Now that he's shying at a leadrope, you know he's taking advantage. Just let him smell the leadrope, or plate, or whatever he's fearing. IF he freaks out and backs up, then take it away til he calms down, and then show him again. He'll realize it's nothing.

Count My Strides - Shane, Bought 2-18-06, Mustang.
"I whispered to my horse, "i'm afraid of falling" and he whispered back, "i have wings".
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-22-2010, 03:36 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
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The reason he is nervous around you now might because you are nervous around him. Just act like he never got scared at all...and be confident.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-22-2010, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Parker County, Texas
Posts: 25
• Horses: 4
He's a quarter horse.
Yeah, I'm probably making him nervous because I am being overly cautious around him. I'll have to try and be more confident around him and see how he acts. I've worked with him on the lead rope and re-introducing stuff to him but I do see how he could be taking advantage of it and acting scared and jumpy around stuff he never was before.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-22-2010, 04:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Washington State
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This isn't something you should blame yourself for. We all do casual things like throwing a pear away around our horses.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-22-2010, 08:32 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 4,510
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Some horses just have "their" thing to be terrified of.

The other day, Shay-la had pulled a leafy branch off a tree while riding and Eve caught sight of it and was doing the cocked ear trying to see thing. So Shay-la held it way out for her to sniff and she was a little nervous and spooky but no big deal, she got over it. So I did the same thing with Jynx who is the QUIETEST 3 year old you've ever met - I waved it beside her head, and she didn't bat an eyelash. And then I touch the side of her face with it - geez louise, you'd have thought I electrocuted her! She completely flipped out, went on the fight and started spinning violently under me to get away!

I held onto the branch and when we got back into the arena, I did it again, same reaction, spinning violently away, striking out, snorting and blowing and just being spastic. I went to work on her with the help of Shay-la on the ground, touching her all over the neck with it, and then all over the head until she realized it was just a branch and she was fine.

She's never been beaten around the head, she's never been mistreated, she's never had any reason whatsoever for reacting as viciously and violently as she did to something so ridiculous. Just go to work on them with whatever is a big deal and INSIST they accept it!

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #7 of 8 Old 09-22-2010, 08:41 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: CO
Posts: 5,061
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Oh but don't you know trees are horse eaters? Especially those tiny peices that you take off...Hahahaha

OP...your horse spooked once, and because it was so 'violent' you are probably extremely wary around him...maybe even more than you realise; act like that event NEVER happened, and see how quickly he remembers that normal things are nothing to be worried about. I think because of your nervousness, he is simply 'taking advantage' so to speak...in other words he is simply reacting to your own emotional state.

You haven't said whether he acts the same way with another person or not...but if you can, have someone who is good with horses, work with him, and ask for all the tips you can get, to get back to where you both trust one another.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-22-2010, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Parker County, Texas
Posts: 25
• Horses: 4
I'm going to try and just act "normal" around him tomorrow and see how it goes. If it doesn't seem any better, than I'll get a buddy of mine to come out and work with him and I guess we'll go from there.
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