spooking at everything - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-07-2010, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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spooking at everything

ok so i have just got a gelding that spooks at everything... like he will spook at a horse coming up at him faster than a walk... or birds, is there anything that i can do to make him stop spooking at weird things???
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-07-2010, 12:13 AM
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If he's not spooking badly, I think you've just got to ride it out. Or start taking him on walks so you don't have to worry so much about being unseated...then just work him through it; if he spooks at something, work him in and around that area until he relaxes and starts calming down and looking to you for direction, then move on.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-07-2010, 12:14 AM
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What do you do when he spooks?

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-07-2010, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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when he spooks i just face him to whatever spooked him and make him walk closer and let him get comfortable with it.. but then i go by again and he does it again...
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-07-2010, 12:20 AM
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Interesting that he spooks at the same things over and over. These things he spooks at. Is it just under saddle or while your hand walking him too? What's his overall personality like? Is he a skittish horse? Curious investigator type? The more clues the better.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-07-2010, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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its mostly under saddle because when i'm walking him and a bird away out of the blue he does absolutely nothing,,, he really isn't that skittish he is a really kind horse that wouldn't hurt anything,, when he is alone without any new horses he is fine but thats just when he is in like an arena or round pen... it seems like when he is out with others or out of the arena or round pen he starts spooking at more things
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-07-2010, 12:27 AM
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Check out this thread...near the bottom smrobs has a GREAT suggestion on helping a spooky horse move on. Loose rein or constant contact for the spooky horse?
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-07-2010, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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ok that helps but like sometimes when he is in the arena and i try to make him do something he spooks at my spur or boot and he won't listen
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-07-2010, 12:40 AM
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Weird. Most horses are better with other horses around and get silly when they're alone. Yours is the reverse. Anyway, the fact that he doesn't do it when you're hand walking him points to an attention issue on his part. If by chance he tends to be lower on the totem pole when it comes to other horses, maybe he feels like he has to always be looking to what they're doing and less likely to pay attention to you.

Is his spook big, or just a sudden side step and then he moves on? If it's the side step variety, the best thing you can do it pretend it never happen. If he stops getting a reaction from you, he might lose interest and develop a different interesting habit. (after all, don't they always have something new in store for us?)

If it is a bigger reaction, my first suggestion would be the drunken walk. Pick an area where you know you will come across something he will jump at and instead of walking dead straight toward it, use one rein and then the other to weave him back and forth toward it. Not a really big weave, but just enough that he has to respond to following your direction. It seems to transfer just enough attention to the rider that the horse stops worrying about the smaller stuff. You're already doing the right thing by making him face the object he spooks at. I wouldn't necessarily make him walk up to it unless he initiates the action, but if it works for him, do it. Once he conquers the smaller non-horse stuff, maybe he'll have developed enough reaction conditioning from you that he'll start to look to you before he spooks at other horses. Once most horses know they won't be let off the hook and be made to face the scary object, no matter what it is, many give up and learn to manage their fears instead of react to them. Good luck.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-07-2010, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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that a good idea i guess i though i should always react to what he does... its not a real big spook most of the time..
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