proofing around cars?
How did you get your horses good around cars and other motorized vehicles? I have two standardbreds both from the track who are worried about cars. I know at the track they were around the start car, and tractors so part of me thinks they are pulling something over on me. They are both good with the tractor, sitting still, running or moving they are almost to comfortable with the tractor. Cars or motorbikes are a whole other issue. Harry (12 years) is more worried. He gets nervous, starts to whinny for the group, and trot around. When asked to stand he pops up (lifting his front feet 6 inches or so off the ground). Not horrible behavior but not ideal either. I have tried to get him to go into a full blown rear by antagonizing him after he pops. The result is often he stands still with his head straight up in the air. He will also attempt to evade and run away. I would like him to be able to stand while a car or motorbike goes past.
What I have done:
This morning he was lunged near the road (a busy highway). He started to settle for moments but was not a cohesive set of moments. Was strong on the line going back to the barn. He usually is very responsive, follows me and slows when I slow or backs up with just my body language not pressure on the line. I went back to the roadside with him with a chain over his nose because pulling is never appropriate. In addition, he had been starting to try to push through me and I wanted to push back. I also took his breakfast. He ate a lovely meal fairly quietly next to the road. Was more responsive to leading cues and body language on the way back. I moved him to the pasture next to the road that way he can in theory get meals next to the road side. He can also watch cars come in and out of the driveway all day long.
What I plan to do:
Keep going with the calm behavior near the road. I figure he can't freak out and eat at the same time and his stomach is going to over rule his brain. I plan to have some family or friends slowly drive past him as he improves with cars at a distance. Then once perfect and consistent near the road he will stand undersaddle near the road. I also will start up our lawn mower and do the same sort of desensitization with them. I know the lawn mower is not the same as a motor bike. It does have a diesel engine and can move at a good clip. Which are two things that the motorbike has.
What do you do for your horses around cars and motorbikes? Do you have suggestions or are their gaping holes in this plan?