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rookie 11-06-2012 03:03 PM

He wants to chase cars?
As some of you know, my 12 year old gelding and I have been working on his car issue. He gets hot when a truck approaches. I noticed its not a big deal with my mothers car but a big deal with my fathers truck. At first, I thought it was fear. The other day, on my way back to the barn my father pulled in the driveway and went towards the barn. Harry got ants in his pants when he saw the truck. I figured the truck was going to pass us but instead it pulled in a few feet (1/2 a dozen yards) in front of us. Harry hit into a trot and followed the truck in. I got him back and was like "no, we don't run towards the barn", so we turned around and walked back to the barn. We re-arrived and he marched up to the back of the truck like "no big deal. I have no issue with cars and you are crazy person for thinking so".

Harry did race (harness track) as a two year old and maybe as a three year old. At the track, he would have followed a start car/truck. Is he having some sort of racing flashback? Clearly this changes my strategy for getting him over his car fear. Its less fear and more "I need to go follow the car and race". Any advice on how to remind Harry that the reason he retired from racing was because he was not that good at it?

Right now, my plan is to stop treating it like its a fear (ie. slowly desensitizing him to it). Instead, I plan to try to ignore the behavior and reward him for standing still when the car goes by.

Peppy Barrel Racing 11-06-2012 04:45 PM

I think you should completely not pay any attention to the cars and your horse will quit paying attention too. If he feels you anticipating the car (maybe because something always happens when cars are around so you anticipate what stunt he's going to pull before it happens). He's feeling that your attention is on the car and him and he like oh should I worry about that car is something gonna happen? Got a good place to ride near a road but not on it. Just keep him walking along and don't pay any attention to the cars he may eyeball them or startle but if you remain calm he will calm right down. Another thing you can do is if you have a friend with a horse who is used to cars put that horse up front as the leader, go down a country road that has ocassional cars. Your horse will see how the other horse could care less about those car and he will realize its ok too. Give him a good pat on the neck and a good boy when he ignores the car. I would say I wouldn't teach your horse to stop every time he see's a car if you have to go down a busy street ever your gonna be stopping a lot.
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Ashleysmardigrasgirl 11-06-2012 04:51 PM

lol, does he do it to cars and trucks or just trucks?

Saddlebag 11-06-2012 05:03 PM

Ex race horses often have flashbacks. A car used to line them up but with cars getting smaller and lighter many use a truck. I feed my horses out of the back of the truck periodically. At a show my gelding got loose and ran around. As soon as he found my truck he was a happy boy and quite content to stay there.

Muppetgirl 11-06-2012 05:22 PM

It's a flashback:lol: those trucks at the track hold the starting gates and roll along with the horses as they race.....they figure they're supposed to be chasing the truck!!!

rookie 11-06-2012 05:47 PM

I don't know why I did not put it together before. The track trucks have big white "wings" and my fathers truck is white and has larger sides. I will try riding him in the pasture near the road. Its really busy but since he is now pastured out there I hope he gets used to it.

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