To answer daroczy, I do stop him from spooking (my instructor has never had to step in and help me when he's been spooking), I try and nip it in the bud before he can completely spook, if I can't I usually try and stop him in a few strides, However if an area isn't safe (mud or puddles with the possiblility of slipping), I look for an area that I can stop him. I generally get him stopped (weather is now clearing up, and the arena isn't as gooy), in 10 -15 seconds. The only time the cows run, was that one time last tuesday. If it's a nice, bright, sunny day, their usually laying down and crewing their cude. And even if they do come to the fence, they walk up, and it's usually the calves that come up. After they get older, they really don't come to the fence. And yes he spooks when I'm riding him, he has yet to spook when I'm leading to him. And the way that this property is set up, other horses can't gallop towards him, and even if one did appear at the other fence line, it would just be one horse, and he's been stabled next to the horse for a long time, and I to happen to know this horse very well, and he to is old. I take private lessons, mainly to have the instructors undivided attention on me, to work with me and any issues that come up, rather than have three or four other horses share the same arena.
Kadiel he isn't scared of them. He sees them every single day, because his stall faces the cows pasture. If he was scared of them, he wouldn't be weaving (remember formal show horse, and he really was valuable, so they couldn't let him out of his stall could they :roll: ), or have his head out the door alseep. I've even walked with him passed the cows when he's been all tacked up, and he just seems to give me a 'Okay why are we over here looking at the cows?' He's relaxed as can be and enjoys being ridden, he'll have drool in the corners of his mouth, not nearly as much as the mare that I ride, but shows he's willing. If he was scared of the cows, he'd resist me, or get all tense, or try and take off, but he follows me, looks, and stays relaxed.
Spirithorse I agree with you on the whole self preservation thing, but I have seen horses that will do things to get out of being handled or worked with. The place I used to volunteer my time at, had a horse, he was a Qtr horse, and had thrown his owner (a 15 yr old girl), and after that she was terrified of him. He soon became agressive, because he knew he could push her around. The dad of the girl had put him into training, hoping this would curve his bad behavior. Thing was, if you let this horse now, than and there, you weren't going to tolerate any S**t from him, he was perfectly fine. He just acted that way when he knew people weren't going to stand their ground. He was smart, and he figured out that if he bullied his owner, she wouldn't touch him. Needless to say, he got sold to an intermidiate person for, if I remember correctly, something like $2,400, he was fine other wise. You just had to let him know, you were the boss, than he was perfectly fine.
Jazzyrider, nothing bugs him, not the wind, the rain mist stuff that came down last tuesday, even if something did bug him, and he spooked, we'd turn that negative into a positive (such as stopping for him to take a breather in that spot, or at the end of the lesson, to dismount, and walk to get his lead rope). And if he did show overly concern at something, depending on what it was (I can tell from the way his ears are, and the position they take if he thinks its going to eat him or if it's a concern and he'll watch it.) If, by his ears and the way he feels that it will eat him or if he's looking into the other pastures, I'll stop him and just let him look. Than after he realizes that it isn't going to lunge at him, he'll go back to work. If he shows any conern, it's usually in the first 5-10 minutes before the lesson starts, after that I raise an eyebrow, unless it's a cow or his girl friend he can see (yes he's a gelding, but he's convinced he's in love with a white arab mare that I also ride).
I would also like to point out that I have his undivided attention throughout the lesson, unless he decides to spook. I also do different things, like transitions, weaving through the cones, going over ground polls etc. I'm going to see if he's better today, he was doing so well last tuesday, showing no concern for anything or being fussy, but when the rainy mist stuff came, well that went down the tubes...... I really enjoy riding him, his gaits are smooth and rolling and the only thing you have to do is give encouragement to keep him going, or else he dies. I'd also like to point out he is smart, a couple of times when I want him to canter, I give the correct aids, a kiss, and a slight tap on the flanks with the excess of the split reins (their knotted together), and he'll only trot faster. One time he did this, I'm passive aggressive, constantly turning up the heat and giving the horse plenty of chances to do what I ask, one time he just made me mad, and I nailed him with the ends of the reins, he knew I was serious after that. It's easier to get him to canter from the walk, not the trot (he may just trot faster and do a very extended trot, he can book it if you make him). He'll also pull stunts like being heavy on one side (last tuesday we were doing CHA levels, and he was being a butt, and was leaning heavily to the left, I was trying for him to get off my left leg, he wouldn't, it wasn't until my instructor came over, and jabbed him a few good ones in his side, did he give and strighten himself). I just think that him spooking is just him testing the waters, to see how far I'll let him go and for how long..... Again, I'll have to see how he is today..... I hope it was like last tuesday, until the rainy misty stuff came..... I wish I had a pic of that, you couldn't see the cow barn and it ony had to be what? 50ft away +/-. It was horrible, and than after that I got sick for a day...... Have any questions and I'll try and answer them the best I can.
Abuse is never the answer.
Think before you act.
Never act out in anger.