Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: France, near Dunkirk
• Horses: 0
My horse lived in two different places. In the first one there were many trucks passing by his pasture, and he quickly got used to them. A treat when he was calm coming across a truck, another truck we could come nearer to and I put treats on it and my horse took them on the trucks, he wasn't afraid anymore. But when he moved to the country, no more trucks, but many tractors! And we had to do the same work with them, going to graze next to the tractor while it was not moving and so on. No more problems with them. And then back to the town, back to trucks, he seemed to have forgotten them and we just did the whole thing again.
I think the point is really to get the horse to see the terrifying monster as many times as possible, first in easier circumstances: in a group that is used to the monster, in a meadow. I also think we must not prevent the horse from moving because you only add a stress to his fear, he feels like he can't escape and this is still more frightening to him. When I am on foot and have the room to do so, I let my horse walk or trot on a small circle around me, and congratulate him whenever he seems to calm down a bit (that's when I could not avoid the monster), he has the impression he can run away, and understands, gradually, that the monster didn't kill him, didn't even hurt him, that I was there, that he got strokes, massages and treats... In a pasture he can also see that the other horses don't even look at the monster, and he gets used to them. Then you can show him one monster (if you have a friend who owns a truck or a tractor lol) with the engine off, and do pleasant things there, and then you switch it on and so on...
I think the point is:
*to do things really gradually, the ideal thing is when the horse never feels attacked enough to run away or try to run away, because then he keeps thinking about what is happening and learns more easily
*to help him with all you can: other horses, treats, being very calm and understanding with him: show him you're a friend, an ally, a bodyguard too. (in the case it's a mare I think so show HER all that, sorry my horse is a "he" so I tend to say he always...)
*and be patient, let time pass, it will step by step be easier and one day you will say "wow he didn't even look at the terrifying truck that was coming to us!".