How to pass s-s-scar-r-ry obstacle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-20-2008, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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How to pass s-s-scar-r-ry obstacle

Just wondering about the opinions... What if you meet a SCARY obstacle on trail? Do you get off and walk the horse through? Do you fight with the horse to ride through?
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-20-2008, 12:27 PM
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Depends... most times I can my trail mare to go by without dismounting. But I know with my younger horse, I would probably get off and walk her because she is still so green and doesn't have much confidence yet.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-20-2008, 01:05 PM
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I was always taught never get off your horse, but if it was dangerous or seriously scary and I was in a rush so didn't want to play the waiting game I would get off :)

A good horse can never be a bad colour...
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-20-2008, 01:12 PM
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Every rule has an exception.... :)

My rule is to never get off my horse for something like this. One reason is that I believe you have more "control" from the saddle than you do from the ground.

Horses are usually smarter than many people give them credit for. Especially when it comes to finding ways to get out of work.

If your horse gets scared of something and your answer is to get off and walk him through it, the horse will quickly figure out that getting "scared" of random objects will result is a break from work.

Shortly after I pulled shoes from a horse, I was riding him on trail. Even though his feet were good, I was very concerned about stone bruises and hurting his feet when the terrain got rocky. At one point on a ride, he felt a little off. I dismounted, got out a hoof pick and checked his feet for rocks or problems.

Same thing happened a few miles later. Again, I dismounted and checked his feet. I also walked him a little to see if he was actually "off."

First, there was NOTHING wrong with his feet. I made sure of this when I got back. That didn't stop the horse from oddly becoming "off" in both those same places the next time I rode him. It took a while of not stopping, but I finally got him past a "bad habit" created by stopping only once in each place. (BTW, there was nothing special about these locations that could have caused any actual discomfort or account for the behavior).

Interestingly, a few months later a friend rode my horse out on the same trail. She later told me that she thought he felt off, but it went away after a short time. I asked where it happened, and it was the same two locations as before.

There are several approaches for dealing with scary objects. Some people like to inch their horse up to the scary stuff and have them get over it. Others just "ignore" the scary stuff and ride by it at a brisk pace. Both work.

You shouldn't have to fight with your horse to ride through. How to handle it and what options there are depend on the situation...

A big log across the trail: If your only options are go forward of go back, you have to figure out a way thorough. If you can go around, you can work on getting a certain distance today, and maybe a little closer tomorrow, and closer the day after.

You never know what you may come across on trail - a dog, a plastic bag, a homeless person. There is no way to account for every possibility. The trick is to build a foundation through consistent training. Have a training plan to deal with a scary situation, and implement is consistently (i.e. don't let the horse run away this time just because you don't have the time/patience to do some training right now).

That, and lots of miles (which build trust and confidence between rider and horse)
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-20-2008, 04:25 PM
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When i approach a scary obstacle on th etrail with my dusty. I have him facing it first. If he tries to go left or right or back, he is stopped immediately. After he's observed it for a moment, then i start to ask him over. If its a jump he's circled and jumped, anything else i'll begin to urge him foward. reward him gently with each step he takes toward the obstacle and reassure him. After a few moments, he goes over fine. If its something he clearly sees however, and is just antsy, we move past it as if nothing was there at all, so he is accomodated to it

I agree though, there are a lot of issues with trust and confidence and its the most important thing. My horse knows i would never let him get hurt, so a lot of trust building is crucial


Last edited by equineangel91; 10-20-2008 at 04:30 PM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-20-2008, 04:30 PM
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If your horse gets scared of something and your answer is to get off and walk him through it, the horse will quickly figure out that getting "scared" of random objects will result is a break from work.
I don't know about a break from work, but you're right, it doesn't enforce the eventual expected behavior. I would like to add to my previous post, that if necessary to lead the horse past, I will also usually lead back the other way and then mount and do it again.
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-20-2008, 05:02 PM
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I usually slowly let the horse walk up to it *me still on of course*, & sniff around it.

Ride more, worry less.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-20-2008, 05:52 PM
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I believe that it really depends on what the horse is scared of. a stationary object is one thing, but if it is a moving object, like a trail bike, or ATV I definetly would get off my horse, unelse I knew for sure what kind of reaction the horse is going to have. I was riding a well broke mare one time and 3 #@##$##@ on ATV's came up behind me. My horse reared. although I was able to stay on the horse and prevented her from going over backwards. Things could have gotten out of hand real easy. Those jerks never even stoped thier machines to see if I was alright.
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-20-2008, 06:31 PM
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It really depends on the age and temperament of the horse. Vida I can get calmed down pretty quick, face the scary thing, see that its not going to eat her and go on.
Younger less confident horses need to be gradually brought around to the scary object. I would never just ride away from a scary object. All horses need to learn that as long as you are there, your not going to let anything eat them. I just keep saying "its ok, its ok" in a calm voice. circle closer and closer to the object until the horse will stand calmly next to whatever it is.
I have even stopped kids on bikes and asked them to ride back and forth past me. Just for the experience for my horse. The more they can see the less they will be afraid of. The more they hear "its ok" and they aren't eatten, the more confidence they will have in you

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-20-2008, 08:46 PM
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**see my post under the water crossing topic**
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