Nervous horse help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-29-2013, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Australia
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Nervous horse help

I need some advise as a newbie. I was taking my horse for a walk to the new round yard and as soon as he saw he was walking away from the other nearby horses he became very nervous looking around, neighing and at one stage I thought he was going to either flee or rear.
Just wondering in this situation what is the best thing to do.
I managed to get through it by talking calmly and trying to keep him calm, he didn't rear or anything but scared me pretty bad as it's the first time I have experienced him doing anything like this.
When we finally made it to the round yard he was sniffing every inch of it, released his bowels,another sign he was worried, but then he started digging and eventually rolled in the sand, which I think he enjoyed.
How can I prevent him fretting again next time we go and what's the best way to handle him if he does freak out again?
My friend suggested I walk him in tight circles, is that correct?
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-29-2013, 05:52 AM
Green Broke
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Most importantly is for you to remain calm. If you get excited or nervous, it will add to the horses feelings. They are good at feeding of others emotions, horse or human.

Some horses can be worked to get their focus back on you. Others can get more fired up if you try to work them when they are nervous.

There are many things you could try. As you're walking him to the round pen, turn him back when you first sense him going to act up. Walk him back to where you came from and start over trying to get him a little closer to the pen each time. This is expanding his "safe" zone.

You could have him do circles but keep his focus on you. Don't let him run around you like a headless chicken. Change his direction. Make him back up a little. Get him to yield his front and rear end. When he starts listening, let him stand for a few seconds and then continue to the round pen.

You could try "rewarding" him for going there or past it. Let him graze on grass that is past it or give him some feed once he goes into it. Try to get him to relax before you let him eat.
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-01-2013, 01:20 PM
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Work him harder by the other horses... circles is great get him tired... walk calmly away and stop farther and farther away and reward... wants to go back okay work hard there... repeat and repeat this needs to be consistent... every time anxious go back but make him work til away is relaxing and rewarding...
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-01-2013, 01:22 PM
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Also look up despooking ground work... work on trust and his or her relationship with you. There are a lot of fun ground work exercises...
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-01-2013, 02:07 PM
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Depending on your horse's personality these are both great advices. While the slower, gentler way of usandpets works for some it may not work for all in which case try Nell J. For example, my two boys. Jet, 15 yr old Appendix has a super laid back personality and he answers best to gentler methods and lots of positive reinforcement. When he starts acting up we stop until he calms down (does not take long with him) then return, expanding the distance each time. On the other hand my Arabian gelding who's more of a hot head answers best to keeping his feet moving in which case I'd circle him to the other horses and only allow him to rest when we were back by the pen. Or just make him yield, back up ect until we arrived at the pen then let him stop and rest. If he tries to rush back to other horses same thing, make him work by the horses and rest away from them only being allowed to return when he can do it calmly. That was a really long post to basically say that you just gotta play with it and figure out what works best for your boy. :)

Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground. ~Author Unknown
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-01-2013, 04:43 PM
Green Broke
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My wife's horse is an Arab mix. He reacts opposite to yours, Janasse. He is normally level headed. He usually does anything you ask of him but when he gets anxious, it is worse to make his feet move. He gets more fired up. Doing things calmly and slower gets him to calm back down.

A QH of ours is the opposite. Taking things slower or stopping is like lighting a fuse on a bomb. He will explode. Put his feet to work and get his mind back on you is what it takes.

Each horse can be different, even in the same breed. That's why having more tools or tricks in your box, the better off you are.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-01-2013, 05:32 PM
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You NEED to learn to move your horse's feet. If they don't listen to you now, when you start riding, they will each plant feet and buck, shy, bolt or all three. Been there, done that.
I just found Clinton Anderson's book for another thread on Amazon, so here it is. Read and DIGEST, and then apply, liberally.

A Jack and Three Queens, the latest book by James C. Dedman,
Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did!
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-04-2013, 12:57 PM
Green Broke
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Horse doesn't listen to you because you aren't running the show except when it suits him for you to.

Better handling practices.

Horses make me a better person.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-04-2013, 04:10 PM
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Good advice already given, but I'll add my two cents. You want to be able to ask your horse to focus on you and have him do just that. What I will do is ask for my horse's attention and then move her if she keeps ignoring me, calling for other horses, etc. The second she gives me her full attention I stop and praise. When she whips her head back up and starts to carry on again, I move her again.
And as was already stated, how you ask your horse to move and how much movement you ask for will depend on the personality of your individual horse. Hope this helps!
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-04-2013, 04:22 PM
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Keep your hands low, and just walk. As long as he is not knocking you around, don't worry about him. If he bumps into you, get mad, and back him a few steps, then walk. If he is pulling, then every few steps, go abruptly in a different direction.

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