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Ambberxx 02-13-2014 04:23 PM

Cars on rides??
im going on a trail ride soon with my friend around a place i haven't been before but my friend has.
Im worried about the cars that go round the trail, some are really fast and i am scared of the horse spooking.
He has worked with cars before but not to this extent.
What are your tips for keepin a horse calm around cars??

roadswarrior 02-13-2014 05:12 PM

I'm a little bit confused as why there would be cars on the trail. Is it a logging road or are you riding on a trail right beside a road?

amberly 02-13-2014 05:18 PM

I was in a parade with a band and fire sirens behind us, a cop directly in front of us, and we also went past four streets filled with millions (felt like it) of screaming little kids. My horse was asleep the entire ride, haha!! He did not care about the noise at all.

it just takes time and practice and to get them bombproof.
I would take him near the roads where there are cars often and jsut work him around on ground and in the saddle near, but not too close, to the road. I rode by the road once with cars wizzing by and he was sligthly nervous the frst time, but once he knew that they weren't going to jump ou t and murder him randomly then he was okay with it.

when we showed a car alarm went off and my horse was the only one who didn't spook.
Over the years he has gone through everything and we have worked him hard and long until he was fine with a object.
I'm not sure exactly how you would go about this, because we have ahd him for ten years and I only remember three - the years that i ahve been riding for.

but it takes lots of time and patience to work with everything.

Corporal 02-13-2014 06:15 PM

For your horse, if you are really worried, then desensitize him to everything motor that you can think of including:
1) lawnmowers RIGHT NEXT to him
2) revved up motocycles--my neighbors have gunned theirs enough that MY horses ignore them
3) diesel trucks
4) chain saws
6) gun horns
7) fog horns
For YOU, when you feel confident that your horse ALWAYS listens to your aids and isn't bothered by these things, remember that some drivers will deliberately try to run into your horse. You cannot stop THIS, but you can take some precautions.
Always have all horses cross a road together instead of in a line, so you start to cross and finish crossing together.
Be extremely careful to keep looking both ways. I have been on some trails, like in Shawnee National Forest, where the roads are hilly travelled by Semi's going about 60 mph, and they cannot/WILL not stop to avoid you.
One more NOT let your horse loose during the ride, like a lunch stop. Horses have such excellent memories that they remember how to get back to your campsite or parking lot first time out. A Horse will NOT look both ways and can easily be struck by a car trotting or cantering across a busy road with the rider.

Corazon Lock 02-13-2014 08:16 PM

In addition to desensitizing, take your horse out with calm, bombproof horses. It definitely helps!

Fortunately, my main horse, Rusty, is almost entirely bombproof. The only thing that does spook him are birds flying out of ditches and dirty snow. ;-)
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PrivatePilot 02-13-2014 09:11 PM

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I agree...the only way to get the horses used to these sorts of things is to expose them to it. Being a skilled enough rider to ride through whatever might happen is an important consideration however - I wouldn't send a green rider off on a horse into what was potentially an unfamiliar situation for them as the green rider is unlikely to be able to handle a spook or a bolt.

And some horses handle scary situations differently than others. I've seen some that will completely shutdown and bolt at anything beyond a minor scare, and others that are steady-eddie's even on their first exposure to something that would mortify other horses. Again, you never know what kind of horse you're riding until you expose them to something for the first time.

Corazon Lock 02-13-2014 09:18 PM

The above is true as well. It's a good idea to know how your horse spooks and how to respond before you actually start the desensitizing process. I got hurt once because I tried to lead Rusty over a black web-like garden cover - he leaped over it and into me. Most of the time, he spooks sideways but doesn't run.

Know the signs of a spook too: very pricked ears, prancing, head up, eyes wide...if you can predict it before it happens it works better.

PrivatePilot 02-13-2014 09:30 PM

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Letting them stop and assess a new situation is also helpful as well...don't forcefully drive them towards something that they are very clearly concerned about until they have had a moment to assess it for it's "Is it going to eat me?" factor. ;)

A few weeks ago both of our horses stopped dead when they saw about 10 black squirrels scurrying back and forth over the road across a power line. It was evident they'd never seen it before as my daughters pony shied a little but stopped on command, and my gelding did a "stop and snort".. We just spoke to them reassuringly, remained calm in the saddle, and let them have a good long look...then gently asked them to go forward about 30 seconds later. Eventually they went under the powerline together without a great deal of fanfare.

Last fall it was a big blue flapping tarp over someones pool that was a concern for them..but now we pass it on every hack without even the bat of an eye.

Exposure, patience, reassurance, confidence...and hopefully a horse with a good head in his/her shoulders will get you through this.

Corporal 02-14-2014 11:50 AM

It helps enormously to have other seasoned riders with seasoned horses on your first few times out. DO NOT GO TRAIL RIDING ALONE!!!! You could take a fall or be thrown and it could be many hours before anyone realizes this.
I have to correct my last post:
A Horse will NOT look both ways and can easily be struck by a car trotting or cantering across a busy road withOUT the rider.

PaintHorseMares 02-15-2014 05:08 AM

I agree that going out with a seasoned rider/horse is the easiest and safest way to start out. Desensitizing at home/barn is good to do, but keep in mind that your horse will always feel safer at home than out in the real world.

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