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Spooking

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  • Protein levels in horses and spooking

 
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    12-31-2008, 06:20 PM
  #21
Foal
My friend rescued a 10 year old pony that was the spookiest thing on 4 legs. He would bolt if HE farted. She has now had him 1 1/2 years and he is SOOOOO much better. The biggest thing for him was TIME. He needed to have some down time and then just be worked with slowly.

For Paco, lunging (the Clinton Anderson lunging for respect) made him worse as it was like my friend was the predator after him. He would do it but he would never relax with it. She has followed a lot of the ideas in Mark Rashids books (get those if you can through the library).

I agree with taking him for lots of walks. My riding instructor said to try to ignore the spooks and YOU keep moving as if nothing happened----after all YOU are not scared and whatever it was isn't going to eat you. If you react big it just reinforces to the horse that it WAS something worth worrying about.
     
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    01-01-2009, 11:24 AM
  #22
Foal
There is no quick fix here, it is likely at this age, he has learned how to be spooky and use it for his advantage. Now we can agree or disagree to many of the reasons he is spooky, at the end of the day, that wont matter as much as training him to respect you to the point, even if he does spook you will have a cue to calm him down. The calm down cue will be more advantegous to you then concerning why he spooks or what protein level you are feeding (no disrespect to anyone).
I would recommend you start back at the longe line or even better free lunging in the round pen. Something a lot of horse people don't realize (even trainers) lunging is a "control" excersise rather than running off the pent up energy.
John Lyons 20 step round pen would be excellent for this horse.
Once you get your horse to listen I.e. "respect" you.
Put a lead line on him and get his feet moving, look for tension in his head, neck, eyes and ears. When you begin to see him soften in any area, allow him to go down to a walk or stop (notice I said allow, not force) and praise him for a good effort and repeat this till he is consistant at this level and begin to gradugate up. Everytime he softens, you allow him to slow or stop his feet and praise him. Now you can begin working on your "calm down cue". When you start his feet to moving, put just enough pressure on the lead line to tip his nose in toward you and as soon as he begins to soften RELEASE pressure, allow the feet to slow and reward. Repeat say 8 or 10 times (sometimes more) each way. Now you have a cue that will tell him to calm down and you can begin working on things that will excite him so you can have him to calm down.
When you are riding him, you will do the same thing, only with your reins.
     
    01-01-2009, 11:49 AM
  #23
Green Broke
I feel your frustration! I got Sandie 6 weeks ago (ok well almost 7 at this point I guess!) and at first, she was fine, NOTHING bothered her, not even doors slamming in the wind! Well that all stopped last weekend...she went past a door that normally doesn't bother her at all, and she BOLTED! About 4 steps into her bolt, she threw up a buck that caused me to fly over her head, do a complete flip, and land (thankfully) on my back!

Then yesterday I was riding again and suddenly one corner of the arena (that again, NEVER bugged her before) was scary and she bolted again! (but at least didn't buck this time so I didn't come off)...I'm starting to get really frustrated with the whole situation since it was going so well and now all of a sudden the strangest things scare her into bolting off!

It's really frustrating and disheartening but I talked to my trainer and he said to just keep taking her back to whatever made her spook, and while she's facing it, praise her and tell her it's ok. DON'T restrict the head though, let your horse move his head around and take in the whole thing, because sometimes when objects pass from their binocular vision field into monocular (one side of the head), like when you're coming up on and passing something, it's thought that the object appears to "jump" and can cause the horse to spook. So if you let him move his head and view it both ways, he'll be less afraid I guess. (according to the book "How to think like a horse" by Cherry Hill anyway! GREAT book)

Anyway, just keep working with him to desensitize him to things...that's what I'm going to be doing with my own horse...let me know how things go, and good luck to you both!!! Things will get better, you just have to give it some time!
     
    01-01-2009, 08:44 PM
  #24
Foal
Thank you so much everybody for responding. I appreciate all of the great advice.

Ifixproblemhorses, I will definitely give that a try. Seems like a wonderful idea that would help him a lot.

The last two days have been amazing with him. We have been focusing on lunging him and making him listen while doing it, as well as walking him around unfamiliar things. Our neighbor set off a firework this morning while we had him out and all he did was snort at it, so we are making some progress. Yay!
     
    01-04-2009, 09:15 AM
  #25
Showing
That is great, I am glad that you are progressing. Just keep up the good work and keep us updated. :p
     
    01-04-2009, 10:53 AM
  #26
Showing
Sorry to hear you are going thru that. You never know what he's been thru prior to your ownership.Regardless of how broke a horse might be, you will always find something that will make him/her spook at one point or another. Horses are horses and their first goal is to protect themselves in this world we created.
I think with horses (IMO) it's more of a matter of showing them things to. Build a bond and trust between you and him. I show my guy everything under the rainbow knowing that he will never be bomb proof per say but to teach him that new things ARE NOT the end of the world and to constantly test out bond-teach him that if I say the situation he's in is ok, then he is ok.
Not long ago I showing him a tarp(look at the picture section) and tho I assumed he was going to have a fit I told him he could chill and he said "ok, if you say so". He knew that I was there with him and he knows he can trust me. One of the horses I owned was much older and we never developped a really close bond. He wasn't spooky but he did look at things and when something bothered him, it wasn't fun because he would panic. His flight and fight instinct kicked in and he didn't trust mu judgement because I think, of that lack of bond.

Spend time with him, start off with little things. Once he settles with something small and you guys build that relationship, you can then add bigger and bigger things.

I've got stories and stories with my guy. He hadn't been worked much as a foal I don't think and it started off with just catching him. Then it was brushing, then it was his feet etc etc. Now I can ask him essentially anything and HE KNOWS that if I say it's ok, then he'll be just fine. It takes months to achieve this bond so you'll have to be patient so don't start throwing things at him and start off big thinking that he'll just desensitize. These horses are like fragile little babies
     
    01-04-2009, 10:57 AM
  #27
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottakee    
My friend rescued a 10 year old pony that was the spookiest thing on 4 legs. He would bolt if HE farted. She has now had him 1 1/2 years and he is SOOOOO much better. The biggest thing for him was TIME. He needed to have some down time and then just be worked with slowly.

For Paco, lunging (the Clinton Anderson lunging for respect) made him worse as it was like my friend was the predator after him. He would do it but he would never relax with it. She has followed a lot of the ideas in Mark Rashids books (get those if you can through the library).

I agree with taking him for lots of walks. My riding instructor said to try to ignore the spooks and YOU keep moving as if nothing happened----after all YOU are not scared and whatever it was isn't going to eat you. If you react big it just reinforces to the horse that it WAS something worth worrying about.
I just re-read this post. Thought it was amusing, thanks for sharing
     

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