Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
This is where it is invaluable to watch the tv trainers programs. You never know what they will talk about. Ken McNabb had a women who was badly injured when a dog attacked her horse on the trail. She was convinced that, after a year, her horse would have as much fear of the incident as she did. Ken had his obedient BC help him with both horse and rider. His point was that yes, the horse was scared, but the horse and rider needed to learn how to deal with the same situation. When Ken worked with her horse, it took practically no time to de-spook the horse. The gelding had a little fear of the dog, but he got the dog onto the saddle in a short amount of time. Definitely less than one hour's time.
The rider took longer to get over her fears. He taught them both to turn and ride towards the dog bc dogs will back down especially if they are not in a pack. My horses live in my back yard. My two dogs (60lb and 70lb) are great friends of my horses. They like to run with them and even chase them. Periodically the horses tire of it, turn, pin ears and charge them to say, "back off." I know that I could get them to do the same on a trail bc the dogs haven't hurt the horses and the horses haven't hurt the dogs.
My POINT is that your horse needs approach and retreat with the saddle until you have bored him to tears. How about a whole morning of this, then a whole afternoon of saddling/unsaddling?
Even though I suffered some falls and throws and really lost my confidence for awhile, I've never put up with a disrespectful horse. My QH, "Buster" was spooky a few years ago, and tried to spook right into me--they will do this when they are scared if they don't respect you. I took the whip and moved him 1/2-way around my training area, reminding him that I am the food-bringer and that he will NEVER panic and try to slam into me EVER!! Panicking and spooking away from me is okay.
It really is all about who is the leader. Horses want strong leadership bc it makes them feel safe.