Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
I have worked with several like this, and my cousin owns a 2000# percheron like this. Best thing you can do is 1) don't feel sorry for him, and 2) start dragging him outside his comfort zone.
Learn to push his buttons, hard enough to cause a reaction, but not hard enough to cause complete panic. Then keep repeating, and repeating, and repeating, until you 'pushing the button' causes no response. He should get to the point where, when he sees the scary thing coming, he takes a nap and cocks a back leg. Then move on to something else. DO NOT STOP PUSHING THE BUTTON UNTIL HE RELAXES. Huge mistake. If you stop when he is tense, you will make the problem worse, instead of better.
the most common thing I see with this type of horse is people afraid of provolking them, tip toeing around to avoid having them blow up. The more you back off when the horse reacts, the stronger he will react next time, until he is a bundle of reactive nerves, panicing all over the place. They get to the point where they have figured out, in their own minds, that panic/pulling back/bolting, essesnsially escape, is the only way to respond to stress of any kind.
You need to teach him the opposite - the only way to repond to stress should be to look to you for leadership, and calmly accept the situation.