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Savvy Debonair 02-11-2010 06:26 AM

Horse Freaked over lunges and ropes?
I've recently bought a 8 y/o rising 9, thoroughbred. He's come from an abusive owner, the used to beat him, and did'nt know how to ride correctly. she 'displined' him for his 'missbehavior'.but I don't know what with.

For the past 3 weeks, i have noticed, he snakes his head away from trailing lead ropes, tilts his head and eyes them of, arches his neck and always dances away from the trailing lead rope, or lunge line, as if it were a snake of other. i was curious to know, what can i do to help him over come this fear? I've tried walking him with a loose lead rope, dangling around the ground, so he can see it, he still does all the usual things, should i keep persisting with this, or should i try a different approach.

He is also very afraid of cars and vans, and snapped his lead rope in a freak out this afternoon.And continued to bolt around the paddock with the lead rope, freaking him out more and more, before him managed to swing it over his neck.

I need some advise, just to help me help him i guess. He seems to trust me enough to work with him in every other aspect, but he does'nt trust the lead rope and lunge line trailing or dangling.

Any Advice?


White Foot 02-11-2010 06:40 AM

I hope he wasn't hit with them.
Make sure you move really slow around him. Put him in the round pen and hold the lunge line and if he wants to come near you great! but if not don't force him. Usually horses will come around and out of curiosity sniff what you have. After you overcome that, take the line and move very slow around him, rub his body with it all over (so you can show him that it isn't something bad). Make sure you make your sessions short.

And as for the car thing, just walk him next to them as much as you can. Until he gets used to it being there, then once he can walk next to it without freaking out, every day walk closer and closer to the car until he will walk up to it.

And to build trust the best way, in my opinion, is to work with him as much as you can. Taking long walks and roundpen work are my favorite.

Keep me updated.

Seahorseys 02-11-2010 09:47 AM

I agree with the above. It sounds like you have to deconstruct quite a bit of what your horse has learned, you may have to start from the beginning and re-train him. A good approach may be to start in the round pen and let your horse establish some trust in you. When I desensitized my horse to the tarp, I began with it folded up really small, and then very gradually unwrapped it. Is your horse fearful of poles as well? If not, You could try walking him inbetween two poles and rewarding him a few times. He will associate that exercise as being one that is safe and one for which he gets rewarded. After you desensitized the rope to his body and he is ok with it touching his neck, legs, belly could try adding the lead line stretched out inbetween the two poles so that he can step over it on the ground. Since he is familar with the pole exercise, he may have enough confidence to complete it with the new addition. That's how I got my horse to walk over the tarp - in between two poles until it was fully stretched out. Oh, and has some good videos on establishing trust and desensitizing to objects. :)

PaytonSidesHorsemanship 02-11-2010 09:56 AM

Actually you don't want to "move slow" or sneak around your horse or any horse. You should move like normal, act very casual. If you present yourself or an object like you expect your horse to be scared of it then your horse will be scared of it. But if you present it as if it is nothing then your horse will eventually get over it. Horses' instincts tell them to look out for creatures that are sneaking up on them, because that's what predators in the wild do. So, if you have established yourself as the leader of the herd and you present objects like they are no big deal then you will make great advances in these situations. Also, desensitizing always works best and sinks in when your horse is tired because they will begin to relate the objects to rest and whatever they relate to rest is always a good thing to them.

Seahorseys 02-11-2010 10:21 AM

actually, you are right PSH, about the slowness. Didn't catch that. Perhaps she just meant introducing things slowly, like maybe the horse isn't ready for the line to be dragged on the ground connected from his halter just yet.

White Foot 02-11-2010 02:47 PM

If the horse is tense and afraid of the most common things at the barn then yes. I had a huge problem with just moving too fast and always in a hurry, and I constantly was told to breathe in and slow down..
* My "casual" side was always moving fast and not thinking about what it was doing to my horse.

You don't want to sneak up on him, but you can move slow and talk softly without scaring your horse. I do it all the time. ESP when you're introducing something new that the horse is afraid of, you don't want to move fast.

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