training ideas? anyone?
I was Wondering if anyone had any ideas that I could work with my horse to get him to be less spooky?
It may be a lack of trust in you. Horses can be compliant but it doesn't necessarily mean they trust. When a horse really trusts you the spookiness seems to fall by the wayside.
okay thanks, well what kind of trust exercises can I do to gain his trust, if that is the issue
Ride, ride, and ride. Start on property or in the arena and move outwards as you feel comfortable, even if it's only 10 ft further than you went the day before.
Don't allow yourself to be scared, if you're asking this question you're probably feeding into his anxiety. That isn't a cut, I've been there and I know several other riders who've been there with spookier horses.
It helped me to talk to him a ton. I jabbered my mouth off and I made sure that I laughed at him when he started spooking or getting tense. It helps to sit a little deeper and really wrap your legs around him too. Hard to explain, but basically you're supporting him with your legs and reminding him that you are there and you'll take care of him. Try not to choke up on the reins as that'll just make him feel trapped, just keep thinking "relax" to yourself and either talk, sing, or laugh.
thanks. I ride him over to my neighbors arena, because I dont have one yet( we are building one just a small outside one. He seems to be fine until I get to where other horses are or if I am on a rode with other horses. Then he gets all like dancey like. only if its just him. If I have Zorro or Poncho, my older geldings he is perfectly fine.
That sounds more sour/jiggy than spooky. Mine does or did that same thing for awhile. He wasn't scared so to speak, but he wouldn't calm down and just walk on a trail ride.
My advice is essentially the same, except you can try putting him to work when he starts jigging and acting out. Try serpentines, direction and gait changes, figure 8s, side passing, etc. Anything to get his mind on you and remind him that if he doesn't want to behave he can work. That doesn't always work in my experience, but it does work for some horses. The ones it doesn't work on seem to just get better with a ton of calm riding.
he sounds very nervous without other horses so i would go with the trust factor between you to...
trust comes with you proving/showing you are leader... once you are leader the trust kind of just comes. and no it does not mean you have to be hard on him..
do things like join up, or just hand walking him out alone and makinghim focus on you, doing ground work together even if he is great ground work helps establish trust, little things like that will help with the trust... if you want to do desentizing obstacle courses it forces the horse to look to you for comfort.. if you dont give him the comfort you just proved to be an ineffective leader... things like walking over tarps, having tarps shaked around him and put on him, bags flying around his body connected to a stick, etc etc anything can be made scary and you will have to prove to be the leader in order to find trust... just by giving him the comfort and direction he needs.
good luck :)
A good trick i heard and use is to do a shoulder-in in the opposite direction of what they're spooking at. It forces them to concentrate on what they're doing, they can't see what they're scared of. If i'm on a empty path i also leg yield back and forth across the path to take my boys mind off of whatever he's doing.
And singing, it relaxes you're body so he feels like you haven't got a care in the world so why should he, or possibly 'if i stop playing up she might stop singing', haha either way that works too.
I had a horse that was terrified of the road. I would ride him in the arena and then after a nice long work out I would take him out of the arena into the yard. I would start close to the fence and then work my way out into the drive way. It was a round drive way so I could walk him around and then move out further.
I actually had him de-spooked enough to try to take him on a trail but that didn't go as well as I thought. BUT I had him at a local fun show and I took him on the property's trails and he did amazing :) Remember baby steps, and you guys will go a long way.
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