Frozen Horse? - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 40 Old 11-22-2009, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 4,260
• Horses: 15
Frozen Horse?

So yesterday I sat up on Piper. Everytime she comes to something she is not sure about she freezes. It takes forever to disengage her. My trainer was on the ground talking about she dislikes when horses go "wooden". Anyone have this happen and please tell me things turned out ok, lol? Any tips?
ShutUpJoe is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 40 Old 11-22-2009, 11:00 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 22,258
• Horses: 0
I have ridden some horses like that and I have found that the best way to deal with it is just to let them sit there and look at whatever they are frozen from. If they look at it long enough, they will realize that it isn't going to kill them. I usually urge a horse to go up to the thing that is so scary (providing that they aren't absolutely petrified of it) and have them sniff it. It will not be an immediate change but most of the time, they will start to unfreeze sooner and sooner until eventually, they don't freeze at all. I would always prefer a frozen horse over one who wheels and tries to bolt away from the scary object.
smrobs is offline  
post #3 of 40 Old 11-22-2009, 11:02 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Bristol, CT
Posts: 356
• Horses: 2
When I watch my horse in the paddock, she does the same thing...if she hears something in the distance, her head goes up and she freezes. Usually, after about 10 seconds or so, she'll take off running in the opposite direction of the noise. I think of it as kind of a "before flight" warning. Which in your case, at least she gives you enough time to be prepared. I would say like its akin to an adrenaline rush for us, different chemicals start being released (acetylcholine, etc) and motor synapses stop firing. People may mistakenly think that a "wooden horse" is just being an unwilling horse. However, when a horse freezes, it often holds it breath, and when we ask it to go forward, it will do so with a burst of built up energy and may buck. When a horse's head is high, it just makes it easier for all those chemicals to flow from the brain to the body, so I would concentrate on getting him/her to lower his head and begin to breathe before asking him to continue any work. I don't ride my horse just yet, but when she does this on the ground when I am leading her, I rub the underside of her neck and her legs and it usually encourages her to drop her head and distracts her. She responds really well to a couple of low drawn out eaaaaasssy's. Its like she hears that and knows it means slow down and relax. :)

You may also consider using those little ear puffs to block out any distant concurrent noise.

Last edited by Seahorseys; 11-22-2009 at 11:07 AM.
Seahorseys is offline  
post #4 of 40 Old 11-22-2009, 11:06 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 790
• Horses: 6
I agree with smrobs...Eve was doing this exact thing the other day in the paddock. The neighbor dug up a bunch of dirt and left piles of it, which WERE going to eat her. I let her stare at them every time we walked past for the first 6-7 laps, then started asking her to keep walking but still glance at it, now she's ok-ish but we still have some work to do. I'd rather take my time now and show her there's nothing to fear than make her accept it faster and have a possible bronc episode due to a bird flying up.

<a href= target=_blank></a>
Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly
EveningShadows is offline  
post #5 of 40 Old 11-22-2009, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,324
• Horses: 0
Just allow her to stand and look at it. You don't want to force her up to the thing that scares her, that will blow any trust she has in you. When she is relaxed, back her up a couple steps and ask her forward again.
Spirithorse is offline  
post #6 of 40 Old 11-22-2009, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 4,260
• Horses: 15
Thanks for the tips. My trainer had her on a lead and was bending her each way. We practiced one rein stops. But at the end she was still "frozen" and stiff. She did the same thing when I tried to get her to cross the bridge. She just stood with her legs planted. We got her to cross it and she'll do it now. I'll work on lowering her head. : )
ShutUpJoe is offline  
post #7 of 40 Old 11-22-2009, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,324
• Horses: 0
The freezing is a classic example of a horse being introverted when it's scared. It just freezes to the spot. These kinds of horses need you to slow way, way, way, way down. If you don't, they will explode, it's just a matter of time. Do everything like you are on Valium and never push her past a threshold.
Spirithorse is offline  
post #8 of 40 Old 11-22-2009, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 4,260
• Horses: 15
That is what I figured. We've been working really slow with her. But some things (like picking up her hooves by touching the inside of her leg so you can pick them out or flexing her neck) she picks up super easily and other things (like me sitting on her or crossing the bridge) she just stands there. Heck she wasn't even afraid of the tarp that was flapping in the wind the other day.
ShutUpJoe is offline  
post #9 of 40 Old 11-22-2009, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 13,437
• Horses: 1
Yeah, Daytona will do this sometimes. I just let her look at whatever she's looking at, but it helps when you ask them to do something.

Ride more, worry less.
PoptartShop is offline  
post #10 of 40 Old 11-22-2009, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Posts: 965
• Horses: 2
Well, I was always taught that it was good for a horse to "freeze" at something they are not sure of, rather than buck, rear, or run aways. I teach my horses to stand still when they get scared cuz it makes them think about it instead of just running for dear life while putting YOUR life in danger also.

- If today was your last day, and tomorrow was too late, could you say goodbye to yesterday?
PechosGoldenChance is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Frozen Troughs CowPony Horse Tack and Equipment 13 12-23-2008 10:53 AM
A merry Christmas from the frozen north Spyder General Off Topic Discussion 7 12-21-2008 06:04 PM
Frozen semen experiment.- Free breedings.-Closed misita Horse Breeding 2 02-01-2008 10:09 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome