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This is a discussion on Spooking within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    12-30-2008, 01:37 PM

Hello, I am new here, and had a question. I just bought a horse a month ago, a 10 year old gelding, and he spooks at everything. My first horse I could do anything to her, and she wouldn't bat an eye. I am getting discouraged, and my husband and I have been doing quite a bit to desensitize him and get him used to stuff, but he still spooks and will shy at almost anything. Any tips on how to get him over this or how to alleviate this situation?
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    12-30-2008, 01:45 PM
It is hard to say without a bit more info. One think is what is he being fed. It may be he's on too rich a diet. Is he stalled or on 24/7 turnout. Was he like this before you bought him? Does he spook only when ridden, handled or does he spook off by himself as well. Does he seem nervous about his surroundings? Etc..

Often a simple change in feed and turnout will alleviate a lot of the spooky behavior. Some horses may need a supplement, I forget what it is, that seems to help them be less jumpy also.
    12-30-2008, 01:58 PM
He is being fed 12% and is only stalled at night and then I turn him out for the day. He is fine in the pasture, but as soon as you get him on a lead rope outside, he spooks. He has kicked, crow hopped, and bucked while riding. He is a quarter horse, if that helps.
    12-30-2008, 02:13 PM
12% may be a little high for him you could try a 10% and see if that helps but mostly its just going to take time for him to trust you. When I got my TB he was 4 yrs old and was scared of everything including himself! I just worked with him and got him to trust me and sometimes just getting them tired enough to forget about everything helps. I worked my horse for hrs 6 days a week and eventually he just became ok with everything. The most he'll do now when he spooks is snort but we havent found anything anymore that he is scared of except chickens, he hates them! Lol But be patient it just takes time, besides the best horses are always the most difficult I think!
    12-30-2008, 02:16 PM
Sorry, How much and what kind of feed.. Protein isn't the problem, btw. Starch ie sugar is more likely the culprit if it's the feed.

Sounds like he needs lots of ground work and maybe some trust issues. If you are nervous he will pick up on it.
    12-30-2008, 02:17 PM
Thanks for the encouragement. I think I will try the 10% and see if that will help. We had him tied last night after I lunged him and he pooped and when it hit the ground it scared himself! That is how bad he is right now. For a 10 year old, he sure is spooky.
    12-30-2008, 02:21 PM
Yeah, we have been doing a lot of lunging. He was very pushy when we got him because the lady who had him was very scared of him since he is so tall and she didn't like big horses. We have almost solved this problem and he leads like a champ now without being pushy. What other things do you recommend other than lunging?
    12-30-2008, 02:39 PM
I like to play the game... when I stop you stop.

Everytime I stop my horse must stay at my shoulder. If she doesnt Im backing her good 5-10 steps. For the most part now if I stop she will stop and take like 1 step back. Sometimes our minute walk ends up being a 20 minute lesson. I had issues with her being very pushy coming in from pasture to the barn as well. Does he get his food as soon as he is put in the stall??? I found that to be a problem as well. In the evening she knew that when we came to get her it meant that it was supper time.

So now she doesnt get her food till everyone else has theirs, or I tie her for a little while. It really seems to help.

I hope you have good luck with your guy and plase make sure you stay safe...
    12-30-2008, 02:47 PM
Originally Posted by PalominoStarsky    
Yeah, we have been doing a lot of lunging. He was very pushy when we got him because the lady who had him was very scared of him since he is so tall and she didn't like big horses. We have almost solved this problem and he leads like a champ now without being pushy. What other things do you recommend other than lunging?
If this is directed to me I don't advocate "lunging" for the sake of lunging. Productive ground work, imo, would be a lot of yielding exercises for one thing. Teaching your horse to yield his hindquarters, forequarters, back, go sideways, basically moving away from pressure. If you are not familiar with this type of ground work you might want to check that out.

If your horse is jumping at his own shadow, IE poop hitting the ground, it sounds like he needs some "let down" time. Keep yourself as calm as possible while doing everyday things with him. Don't react to his reactions. Take him for long walks. Just "DO" stuff while he is attached to you via a long(12' or more) leadrope. Let him figure out that the world isnt' going to eat him.

The amount of Protein in his feed is not the problem. How much hard feed does he get daily and how often? What type of hay/forage is he getting and how much?
    12-30-2008, 02:49 PM
If we have been working him, he doesn't get fed right away. But I do feed him immediately if he is coming straight from the pasture and is not going to be worked. I will definitely make him stand while being tied and will not give him his food as soon as he gets in now. I didn't really think about that. Thanks.

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