When did your friend pass away?
She's still alive :) hence why I've been hired to look after her babies.
I want to thank EVERYONE for the absolutely amazing advice... so many good things said here.. Im definately going to try the "chair in the paddock" with a bag of treats thing this morning, and start putting him with the buddy horse more as the other arab is actually really sweet :)
as far as the questions about bombproofing jumpers... IT CAN BE DONE... the magic trick is literally "dropping bombs" next to them.... (my home where my horses were kept was in between a bombing range (no joke) AND a shooting range....
when I first got them they were green but rideable... and when they moved into their "new home" they went from green rides to unpredictable spooks that would panic at every loud noise...(understandable really given the location)
LOTS of patience... LOTS of more extreme sacking out (making loud noises mainly using garbage can lids... randomly beating oil drums... often whilst going through a course of fences) Lots of love and praise... and Lots of falling off in the process... but after about a year... they were literally "bomb-proof" ... loud noises... explosions... gunshots... thunder wouldn't even make their ears twitch...
Of course no horse is truly bomb-proof... animals are unpredictable and you never know what is going to scare them... but as far as horses go (after a year of working with them) those three were the most "un-phased" docile and sweet animals I've ever been around.. every time i was ever thrown from any of them it was always due to something silly like the horse stumbling and falling down itself... and even in those situations they would never run away... they would just get up... stop... and look at you on the ground like... "hey, you okay? what'cha doing down there?"
how did I do it all at a young age?
My parents train police dogs and rescue dogs... they have a kennel... and my mother has studied animal behavioralism to great length...
She knew nothing about horses but always had some great advice as to how animals "think" and while she stayed away from the stable insisting I had to "do it myself to build character"... she always sent me out there with great advice.
Sadly she's not had any experience with abused animals or she would prolly be helping me now... although she was the one who suggested I go online and talk to some horsey people about it so i guess in a way she has. :)
thanks again everybody! I'll report back with my progress as i go along