Originally Posted by Allymisty
What I mean by he will do anything you ask of him is that say if you wanted to go into the river, or going into the trailer, he does it willingly. The reason he is spooky and fearful is because he was abused as a foal. He has scars all over his body from abuse. We have had him for about ten years and have only treated him with kindness but he is still the same. How do I teach him no to be like this?
Sorry. He's not spooky and fearful because he was abused as a foal. I don't know how old he is now but you've had him for -10 years!
That horse is all you, every single day, every single interaction, learning what you guys have taught him.
And this line right here tells the whole story: "The reason he is spooky and fearful is because he was abused as a foal."
It is absolutely horrible that he was abused. Breaks all of our hearts to pieces, I can sincerely assure you of that but, what he needs is clear strong confident leadership. The way to get any horse who is spooky and fearful whether due to abuse or just basic nature is to provide him with a sense of safety and consistency. It's like building an invisible fence around him with rules and guidelines and with consequenses for stepping outside of the fence line. That in turn reasures him of safety and protection. If someone bigger, stronger and fair, is in charge then he can relax and he really wants to relax...big time.
From your descriptions it sounds like he's pretty much doing what he wants and it's at times been similar to what you want. And when it isn't well, you end up on the ground. And that's like playing with a loaded gun.
I'm genuinely not trying to beat up on you here but you're just not seeing this from the horse's perspective. He is not spooky and reactive from something that happened 10 years or more ago. He is spooky and reactive because he doesn't have a leader he can trust to put order into his world and keep him safe.