Horse afraid of indoor arena

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Horse afraid of indoor arena

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    12-14-2009, 07:32 PM
Horse afraid of indoor arena

I have been working with a border Saddlebred named Kyle and he is great out but you get him inside and he is a basket case. He's nervous and tries to trot ahead of me when we are working on the ground. Lunging him doesn't work and just makes him more worked up. After awhile he'll calm down but only after I move another horse into a stall that overlooks the arena so that Kyle can see them and only after he drags me around for awhile. I'm a 95 lb. Girl . . .so it doesn't take much. Would love any help or insight.
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    12-15-2009, 02:16 AM
Try turning him loose in there for a while. Let him check it out and discover all the monsters on his own.
    12-15-2009, 03:07 AM
Totally agree. Let him loose and maybe instead of riding him get a buggy whip/lunging whip and just move him around some for a few work sessions. Let him work it out for himself. You can only lead the horse to the idea you can't make them think it. :P
    12-15-2009, 03:16 AM
I agree, let him loose to let him know there are no monsters, maybe he was mistreated in the past that's why he is scared? Isn't it you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink? LOL.
    12-15-2009, 03:42 AM
Originally Posted by Mustangg    
Isn't it you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink? LOL.
lol yup but my revised quote one is a more common scenario among horse owners.
    12-15-2009, 03:52 AM
Originally Posted by Mustangg    
I agree, let him loose to let him know there are no monsters, maybe he was mistreated in the past that's why he is scared? Isn't it you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink? LOL.

How does being abused make a horse afraid of low lighted areas?

I was curious about horse eyesight so I did a yahoo search...
Horses require approximately 15 minutes for their vision to adjust when moving between differently lighted environments. Remain on familiar paths and keep to a slow pace after emerging from a brightly lighted barn for an unlighted evening ride or when turning horses out for the night.

Sudden brightness takes an equal amount of adjustment, as you notice each time you flip the barn light switch for the predawn feeding: Every occupant squints and blinks until his eyes adapt.
I agree with letting him run around the arena and let him find the monsters.
    12-15-2009, 12:06 PM
All horses get afraid of things. All horses use the flight instinct as their protection from what scares them. I agree with old Monty Roberts--instill trust so that when the horse gets scared they look to you for safety and guidance. About the only thing that can keep you safe as for sure there will be a time when the horse you are on will get scared or spooked.

So my vote would be to help him over his fears by showing him that there is nothing to be afraid about--you are confident and solid and he will react to that-- if you are anxious because he is acting up he will go "see I knew there was something to be scared about!!".

Let him deal with it but help him with it. Always let him flee if he has to--controlled flight--long rope. The key is to stay calm and collected and exude this to him.

Try it and I think you will like the results--it will take your relationship to another level.
    12-15-2009, 12:36 PM
I would agree with the letting him go. We did that with one that was scared of arenas in general. He was terrified of the signs. He had never been in one before I had him, and I normally rode him on trails. After he went and checked it all out we never had another issue in the arena.

I can understand how it could be difficult to do a controlled flight type thing with him. He's got a little more lead in his butt than I've run into it before too. Just do what you are comfortable with to help him. 5cuetrain is definitely right that the more your horse trusts you the easier this will be as well. :)

Good luck.
    12-15-2009, 05:03 PM
I do let him loose, but he stands right next to the gate or weaves back and forth in front of it.
    12-15-2009, 05:07 PM
Originally Posted by Horsegal16    
I do let him loose, but he stands right next to the gate or weaves back and forth in front of it.
In that case I would say make him move. Use a lunge whip or crop and push him to move around the arena. Do it as if you were a horse in a new herd pushing him around the pasture. Don't make him go fast, just haave him keep moving and looking around at a walk or trot. Don't put too much pressure on him, just enough to move him. Good luck :)

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