Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Oak Hills CA, High Desert
• Horses: 0
Assuming he is not in pain, and his eyesight is good.
If you have access to a round pen, or small corral put him there. Let him get comfy, then do lunging. Work with him, brush him, spend lots of time with him. He needs to trust you before he can overcome his fear. Once he trusts you, you can help him, as he will look to you for guidence on fear.
Now, start de-sensitizing him. First to small things, like the lead rope, a trash can in the pen, then a moving (rolling) trash can, then a plastic bag - first outside the pen, then slowly closer. If he panics, you back off, slowly work closer to him, try not to panic him, try to keep him in his comfort zone. This takes a lot of time, but it really works well. He learns not to be afraid, and/or he learns how to control his fear. Do everything you can think of to test him in his safe pen. Wheelbarros, water hoses, umbrellas, banging noises... Then take him out of his pen, and do the same thing.
Eventually take him someplace around a few people, let him become accustomed to the noise of only a handful of people, then increase the people - slowly.
When you take him out, you might take him with another calm horse, so he can see that whatever it is he is afraid of is not eating the other horse, so probably won't eat him either...
This takes quite a bit of time, but really works. My friend has been doing this with an abused Mustang. She started at the end of Jan. He is now pretty much bombproof. He might jump in place on something that startles him, but all she has to do is say "Easy boy, it's ok." And he settles right down. He trusts her totally.
Hope this helps. :)