Horse very spooky - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 05-25-2008, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
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I would try patiently desensitizing. I do a lot of road riding, and one of the things I see with young horses that have never been off the ranch is that unfamiliar ground features always require desensitizing. I took our green broke 4 yr mare out for her first ride through a neighborhood a couple weeks ago and the only two things that really bothered her at all were 1) walking/stepping from grass to a concrete curb (I doubt she had ever walked on concrete) and 2) stepping on/over a crosswalk painted on the road (I know she had never seen a crosswalk)...both very light/white colored.
I have a friend that has a great horse they use for carriage rides for years. One day they went out and the yellow center lines in the road had been repainted (nice and bright), and the horse would not step on them at all.. even seasoned horses do not like 'change'.
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post #12 of 17 Old 05-25-2008, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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For me, when my horse spooks I try to go on like nothing happens. If you make a big deal out of it, then so will he. Remember, you and your horse feed off of each others emotions. For example, if I'm working in the arena going to the left at the trot and something outside of the fence spooks him and he jumps five feet into the center, I will calmly, but quickly get his attention back on me, move him back those same five feet to where he was before and continue on at the trot. If he happens to break into a canter, I would immediately pull him down to a trot and put him back to work. I never let a horse stop and look at something. That's letting him focus on what's scaring them instead of what they are supossed to be doing.

With most of my horses, they only spook when they are not working or paying attention to me. I had one that I refused to sit on outside of the gate waiting to show because any little bitty thing would send him into lala land. However, once he had a job to do nothing would phase him. Completely different horse - working and paying attention to me vs not.

Let me know if you have any questions. These spookers aren't fun.
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post #13 of 17 Old 05-25-2008, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SE Kansas
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Originally Posted by jazzyrider
doesnt like white??? not sure but something tells me thats not the problem

anyways, my old arab would spook at his hay he was so spooky. i really had issues with it when i first got him. way back then i had no idea about desensitisation etc but i started working on increasing the amount of spooky things that were around him all the time. i ties plastic bags to the trees around his stable (he was kept stabled), i hung bailing twine from the roof of his stable and went out of my way to make sure i exposed him to as much as possible. with the scariest things i would show it to him and let him have his freak out while i stood there and waited for him to finish. then we would try again. each thing took a while but with patience he started to learn that not everything was a scary monster about to eat him. it didnt work well for things that seemed to jump out of nowhere at him but it did make a big difference :)
I agree with Jazzy here. I tie plastic grocery bags and empty milk jugs all around the lot, put a tarp that flaps in the slightest breeze over the hay feeder, throw plastic pop bottles into the lot. I did this with my fillys after they were weaned and now they aren't afraid of much of anything. I figured when they started tearing the plastic bags apart they were done.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #14 of 17 Old 05-25-2008, 02:31 PM
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Location: Missouri
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We put things in and around the pen all the time, we NEVER watch how fast we are moving or tell the kids to quiet down. We let the kids ride bikes all around the pen and leave stuff out while they graze. Plastic bags , pop bottles and cans...anything we can think of. The way we see it the more stuff they see and smell that doesn't attack them the better off they will be.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20

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post #15 of 17 Old 05-25-2008, 02:52 PM
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One thing that can happen to extra sensitive horses during despooking is traumatizing. You have to be careful not to do too much at once, take baby steps.
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post #16 of 17 Old 05-26-2008, 02:15 PM
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Location: Washington
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Lately i have been on yahoo answers answering peoples questions a lot like this. and it seems like the answer i can ALWAYS give them is "PAT PARELLI'S NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP 7 GAMES!!"

in this case the "friendly game" would do well for your horse.

here is what i would do:
HOLD the horse with your hands, do not tie it up to something they can't get away from.

start with something small such as a white piece of paper.

begin by letting the horse sniff it. if the horse panics at the simple SIGHT of it. DO NOT DROP IT AND KEEP A FIRM GRIP ON THE HORSE.
remain VERY calm and say "whoa" in a soft voice. do not smile and do not look angry. make sure your face remains blank.
hold the paper down at your side and let the horse spook. wait until the horse has become calm again and put the paper near the horses nose again to let it sniff the paper. when it accepts the paper near its nose, smile and tell the horse that it has done good, continue to tell it that it has done good while you RUB the paper on its nose, then on its cheeks, then neck. if the horse spooks at any one of these do the same thing, calmly tell it to "whoa" and put a blank look on your face. put the paper to your side, but don't let go of the horse or the paper.
then once the horse is calm again, start from the beginning.
eventually, the paper to the nose will be a COMFORT zone and you will be able to resort back to it when the horse spooks at the paper on its side or something like that.

after you are able to rub the paper ANYWHERE on the horses body change objects. anything white will work.
obviously you can't just RIP the fence out of the ground. so just stick to lots of white objects, big and small. continue these same steps. eventually the horse will not mind white things anymore!


You can tell a gelding, you can ask a mare, but you must discuss it with a stallion.
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post #17 of 17 Old 05-26-2008, 03:20 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Oregon
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There's a really great book called "Bombproof your horse, teach your horse to be confident, obedient and safe no mwatter what you encounter" by Sgt. Rick Pelicano.

You can get it on Amazon.

Great book with all sorts of exercises and methods.
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