Once was a GREAT horse.Now just spooky..HELP!!

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Once was a GREAT horse.Now just spooky..HELP!!

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  • Spooking at traffic
  • Bad eyesight made horse spooky

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    01-27-2010, 08:05 PM
Question Once was a GREAT horse.Now just spooky..HELP!!

Hello fellow horse people...I'm new to this. I just need HELP!! A little over a year ago I was given a paint gelding (10 yrs old) that has had a bad past. Since I've gotten him he will actually come to me (although not fond of others..especially men). We always had great rides even up town around traffic! Then one morning we rode uptown with his pasture mate and he spooked at a car passing, threw me off, and ran through town back towards the barn (he wasn't hurt or harmed at all!...we live in a VERY small town). Ever since that incident he spooks constantly...most of the time I don't even see what he's spooking about. This has been going on for months now. I'm just at my witts end...completely lost as to what to do next. I've worked with him on the ground with different de-spook exercises as well as having him pull a post behind him with the saddle on and he does great, but when we go riding (even on the land he is VERY familiar with) he spooks! I can't afford a trainer. Is he actually scared or is he trying to act out? Should I do a particular despook exercise? How about trying Natural Horsemanship? ANYTHING WILL HELP...but PLEASE BE NICE!
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    01-27-2010, 08:29 PM
Anytime I hear that a horse used to be fine, but suddenly started spooking, I think eyes. I would get his eyes checked. There may be something going on that's making him see shadows and things that aren't there.
    01-27-2010, 08:55 PM
I second the checking of his eyes, but also consider the fact that he might not really be spooking at all....he may have just learned that if he does it, you magically come off and they hey, he can go home.
    01-27-2010, 09:07 PM
That's exactly what I've been starting to think. I've even had a very good horseman tell me the same thing. If that's the case....what do I do to make him stop and realize he still has to go? Just ride everything out?
    01-27-2010, 09:09 PM
I agree you may be anticipating the spook in the saddle and he is reacting to you, or it could be his eyes. Have you had anyone else ride him? I would ride him in a small familiar area. How is he spooking is it just a jump to the side, or is he running off, or bucking?
    01-27-2010, 09:10 PM
Yep, basically. You should know your horse better than we do, so if you honestly think he's spooking, look on the internet for some desensitizing excersises you can do. But you think he's playing around with you, you have to push him forward every time he spooks. Just act like nothings going on and cue him forward.

^^Excellent point made also! I have been a victim of this. Have someone else ride him, and if he still has the problem, then I'd say check his eyes or push him through. If he doesn't, maybe take a break from riding him, do some ground work and build back your confidence in him as a mount.
    01-27-2010, 09:14 PM
Based on his personality I think he's doing this as a new way to test me because we've had issues of stubborness before. He's been ridden by someone else and still spooks but that COULD be because the rider was a male. He's never dangerous when he spooks. Just like he's jumping out his skin. Anytime he tries to run I'll turn him in circles to disengage his hindquarters.
    01-27-2010, 09:19 PM
^^Hmm.....if he's anything like my guy, that might just become his new way of spooking (yielding his hindquarters/turning in circles). I got advice from someone that instead of doing lots of repetive tight circles, just give him a big "HEY i'm still here!" nudge to keep his mind on you. If the circling has worked for you before, then completely ignore me, lol.
    01-27-2010, 09:28 PM
I would deal with the respect issues on the ground first. I would set up some obstacles that were very spooky (tarps, flags, get creative). I would first lead him over them, until he was calm about them. Then I would ride him at a walk over the obstacles. Then increase speed as he became more comfortable. Another thing I do is when I'm leading my horse I will sometimes jump in the air suddenly and try to spook him on purpose. He was harder to spook the more I did it. These are both ways of dealing with the spook when you are in control of it. It's Okay to spook as long as the recovery is fast.
    01-27-2010, 10:38 PM
IMHO, vision problems affect a horse all the time, not just when you are riding. If he seems fine when he's not being ridden, then it's probably not his vision. My suggestion would be when you feel him tensing up, thinking about "spooking", get his attention back on you - ask him to do something for you, then go on with the ride.

abused, paint horse, spooking

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