Spooky horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-19-2011, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Spooky horse

Today I was walking my horse back out to her paddock. It was dark out and she heard a noise in the bushes and completely freaked out. It was then that it dawned on me that I don't know what to do when she spooks! I turned around and lead her back into the barn and started again and she was okay, still looking around. What should I do when she spooks while I am leading her?
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-20-2011, 12:00 AM
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I just reassure the horse with a rub on the neck and a soothing voice, and then continue on with what I was doing. If there is a scary object or something they are starring at, I will usually let them look at it for a few moments before continuing on.

I always figure if the horse is genuinely scared, then any sort of punishment or correction will only make them more scared. So if they are scared, I go for reassurance.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-20-2011, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by trailhorserider View Post
I just reassure the horse with a rub on the neck and a soothing voice, and then continue on with what I was doing. If there is a scary object or something they are starring at, I will usually let them look at it for a few moments before continuing on.

I always figure if the horse is genuinely scared, then any sort of punishment or correction will only make them more scared. So if they are scared, I go for reassurance.
yeah I was about to say the same thing

My two horse Apache and Sammy are my world
along with our dogs Patch and Bear.
But I will always love you Jimmy R.I.P
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-22-2011, 09:58 PM
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my horse gets pretty spooky and i've been around some spooky horses. unless they are rearing and pulling away (i've had a few of those) i tend to plan my feet while he's pulling and then settle him down. we stand for a little while and i let him look around to make sure no monsters are getting him. If there's something specific, like one time he spooked at a kid sitting on a fence, i lead him up to the scary thing and let him look. if he's reluctant i touch it until he comes closer and sees it's not scary at all. with the kid on the fence he spooked away from her about 3 times before he would go anywhere near her, i just kept reassuring him and talking to him until he got over it.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-22-2011, 10:32 PM
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If you are leading a horse and they spook, be sure they have room to go somewhere, 'cause they will go whether you are in the way or not. I usually lead my horse on a pretty long line and if he spooks and runs forward, he has plenty of room to avoid me. If I were holding him right under his chin, there is no way I could hold him and he' s more likely to step right on me.
If he is acting spooking, letting me know that hes scared of something, I will take up some of the slacke and remind him to stay behind/of the side of me. If he must go forward, I let him and then as him to circle around and get behind me again.
In general, you want to do nothing when they spook .. I mean don't turn away from the scary thing (unless your horse is totally out of his mind and you need to get away from it). Get him doing something as soon as he can give you any of his mind; backing up ,.circling around you. and keep going in the direction you were originally headed.
I don't use a whole lot of reassureing language, maybe just "easy" and I don't pet him until he is walking well again. When he's scared, going up to pet him might not be a good idea, IMO>
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-23-2011, 02:14 AM
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ok i have a pretty spooky horse but luckily for me normally when she spooks its all over and nothing can eat her now because she spooked and end of story, but thats not always the case sadly... i usually jut let her spook and then if shes still feaking minorly OR majorly i let her keep doing it until she calms down enough and i can pet her and talk to her. and even if shes still snorting we just keep walking to our destination and i stay calm because of course i know the bunny in the bushes will not eat me.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-23-2011, 02:32 AM
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With Lacey (this doesn't work for the "stop and spin" kind of spooky horse but for a "stop and stare, then approach" spooky horse, like Lacey, I've had this work great), on the rare occasion that she starts getting all shifty eyed, I've had luck with asking her to stop before she actually spooks (when she's in the "head is going up higher and higher" stage) and watch whatever she's worried about. After about 30 seconds, I can usually feel her relax and she'll generally start approaching whatever it is on her own. I allow her to approach and I act confident. On the ground, I confidently march ahead like I know exactly what I'm doing and where we're going, and in the saddle I give her a pretty loose rein and have constant contact between her sides and my legs until we pass the scary object.

If she just spooks, I act like nothing happened. I just keep doing whatever I was doing like she didn't just leap into the air. However, if she spooks out of nowhere and continues to act jumpy, I'll have her stop until she relaxes, then urge her forward in a confident manner.

It's all about being confident. The more confident you are, the less spooky your horse will be, and the more he or she will trust you for guidance in an actually scary situation. I'm a firm believer in "fake it 'til you make it". Just act like you believe you're the world's best leader and eventually your horse will believe that you are the worlds best leader, thereby confirming your sneaking suspicion that you are, in fact, the world's best leader!

Good luck!

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-23-2011, 05:04 PM
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If it's a single spook/explosion, I just keep walking like it never happened. Why call attention to it when it's already over and done with?

If my horse acts like he's building up to something by getting jiggy or refusing to move forward, first line of defense is to keep walking. He looks to me for reassurance, so if I don't see it, usually he gives up on it and follows me.

If he's being an all out lunatic. I will walk/trot/jig/march him back and forth until he calms down. Trick is, he doesn't get to stop moving until he calms down. Then we proceed on again like nothing happened.

Guess my point is, it depends on the situation.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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