Horse spooks at ground - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-14-2009, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Horse spooks at ground

I just recently bought a new horse about a month that I need some help with. She is very easily spooked by things on the ground, this includes weeds, dried clumps of grass, logs, different colored dirt, cobwebs, etc. Sometimes she just eyes them funny and sidesteps, sometimes she tries to spin, sometimes she will start to walk over the object like its nothing at all then suddenly jump straight up in the air like a bronc. If you try to correct her from just sidestepping but pulling the rein back in the direction you want, it usually excalates the situation and makes the spook worse. She also spooks when tied, like if she is tied next to another horse at the trailer and that horse starts to play with something on the fender, or if her rope moves in the wind, or for instance today I went to snap a different lead on her and also had a bottle in my hand that taped against the snap which set her back on her haunches. However things like deer jumping out of the bushes or machinery doesn't phase her much.
I have a bad back, so the leaping and jumping sideways is just not helping me one bit, and is definately making me more tense which it turn doesn't help her settle. I am looking for some ideas on excersizes that I can do on the ground to help her get over the spooking, and then perhaps incorporate them into riding excersizes when my back is feeling better.
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-14-2009, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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What I have done so far is place "scary" (but safe) things in her field such as cones, milk jugs, and a log across the one gate that they have to step over to go to the big field.
I have also been round penning her a lot and placing towels, cones, buckets, and ground poles in varies places to go over. She was over seeing the towels after about 3 days, and will now even step on top of them. She is getting better with the ground poles. She no longer has to leap 3 foot in the air to get over them. She does still feel the need to spook when changing paces over them, she will trot fine over them, but then when asked to walk she has to spook at them before going over. Things are also completely different to her if I clip a lead on her and walk her by things, she has to spook again. I plan on continuing to work her in the round pen.
If anyone else has some suggestions for me that I can do myself on the ground that would be greatly appreciated!

ETA: I also forgot to mention that she hates things moving on the ground. Shes terrified of the hose moving on the ground when I hose her off. I have been trying to move it around a lot when I do get it out so she will get over that as well. Shes tolerates it a lot better, but the first move the hose makes always makes her jump.

Last edited by WindSnapper; 09-14-2009 at 11:54 AM.
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-14-2009, 12:47 PM
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I would suggest having her eyes checked.
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-14-2009, 12:50 PM
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Here's a book with great ideas on bombproofing: Bombproof Your Horse, Rick Pelicano, Book - Barnes & Noble
I feel your pain, though. I used to have an off track TB. he was out of his mind. He spooked at everything... was constantly leaping sideways into small canyons and then finishing off with a bucking fit. If he didn't do that, he would rear. He was a very dangerous horse. I was young then, and didn't have the sense to do what I needed to fix him, so I let him go. I'm glad I went with a draft horse this time!
You're on the righ track.... do the work on the ground. You may want to get a lead rope with a curb chain if you don't already have one. It's important to spend a lot of time with the horse without desensitizing so you guys can bond... he needs to learn he can trust you. Basic lunging will help, too, so you can establish yourself as the leader. The worst thing you can do is let the horse avoid the things that scare him. Have strange things laying around while he is tied and you are grooming him. Eventually, he will get bored with them. Take a lunge whip and tied a plastic bag on it for de-spooking. If there is a particular area where he throws his head, don't let off..... keep the bag there until he relaxes (cocks a leg, blinks, or mouthes). Good luck!

Last edited by BackInTheSaddleAgain; 09-14-2009 at 12:54 PM.
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-14-2009, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the suggestions so far. I was just speaking today with my fiance that I want to have her eyes checked as well.
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post #6 of 7 Old 09-16-2009, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Well the vet can't find anything wrong with her eyes. So any more suggestions for excersizes for her?
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-16-2009, 11:11 AM
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How do YOU react when she spooks?
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