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-   -   comfort for spookyness? (http://www.horseforum.com/horse-training/comfort-spookyness-62228/)

meg92 08-14-2010 11:30 AM

comfort for spookyness?
 
I have a gelding that is very obedient, gentle, and well mannered, but he's extremely spooky and has a hard time adjusting to new scenarios. I'm about the only person he really trusts, so when I'm leading him and something scares him he immediatly moves to me for safety. Which is a problem because he practically jumps on top of me sometimes. He is pastured independently because our other 2 horses pick on him. I know that horses have much more a sense of security when they are kept with other horses. Would it be worth looking into buying or borrowing a small pony to pasture with him? Would it help with his spookyness, or would it later just end up adding buddy sour onto his spookyness?

Helly 08-14-2010 03:04 PM

hmm.. i think horses automatically feel safer in a herd or with another one for company as thats how it is in the wild, saying this i have a 4 year old who couldnt care less about anything and rarely spooks but when she does, she jumps ontop of me, (recently spooked and trampled me.. putting me in hospital!) if she's going to spook she'll do it whether or not she's being led in with my other horse.. i personelly think its the TB in her, (she's TB X ID appy). However i've got a 10 year old TB mare, who's really spooky but lives on her own really happyily.. it could be that the others bullying him, has made him more jumpy because he's exspected to be bitten etc? :)

riccil0ve 08-14-2010 05:10 PM

Horses will always pick on others in a herd setting. It's how the establish hierarchy and dominance. Unless someone is really going after your horse, I see no reason for them to be separated. Horses are used to and should have company. If the other horses are too violent, I would definitely look into a friend; a pasture-sound pony, a goat, a donkey, etc.

And for everything else, I would try to desensitize him to everything you can get your hands on or get close enough to. Park your car in his pasture, open doors, roll the windows up and down, flash the lights, rev the engine, drive around. I would look into investing a tie-blocker ring, or even attaching a lunge line to his halter and holding it around a post would suffice. Then introduce him to childs toys, traffic cones, plastic bags, buckets, etc. Let him back away a few steps and ask him to woah and draw him back up where he was, then keep trying. It is very important, though, not to apply steady pressure as he's backing away. Stay where you are, and let him back to the end of the line. If he tries to get past the end of the line, give the line a few steady tugs and calmly ask him to woah, or easy.

I would also work on his ground manners and respect for you, because obviously, he does not respect your space. Teach him to move each part of his body, his haunches, his shoulders, his head, his whole body. Get him to turn on the forehand, the haunches, side-step, back up. He may also benefit from free-lunging. He should yield to you, always. When he learns that, he won't be jumping on top of you.

churumbeque 08-14-2010 05:25 PM

I have a horse that used to be spookie and he was very insecure if you took his pasture mate away. He was ok if you took him away but not being left alone. I would not add to the heard just keep working with him and building his confidence. He needs to respect your space regardless of what he is scared of.

meg92 08-14-2010 07:56 PM

Thank you all for the great advice! I will definately keep working on sacking him out and try to slowly introduce him more to the other 2 horses. If the others are still sinking their teeth into him too much though, i'll keep him seperate, but keep sacking him out as much as possible. If he still is not getting very far maybe i'll get him a smaller companion :). But then I'd try not keeping him with him too too much so he doesn't develop a buddy sour problem. He is a quarter horse with a little fox trotter in him I think. His previous owner wasn't sure. And as I've been working with him I wonder if someone had completely skipped actually just sacking him out when they were training him a long time ago. Because anything other than usual horse tack is like a complete alien from outer space to him. And he freaks out with loud noises. The car idea is great, I will definately try it! And using a lunge line instead of just the lead rope will definately help him I think to. Thanks again!

meg92 08-14-2010 10:33 PM

And Helly, wow you had to go to the hospital!? I hope it wasn't too bad.

Helly 08-15-2010 05:38 AM

Yes she panicked ran down the field and straight back up to me and then jumped on me, knocked me out for 10 mins, was rushed to hospital and now just very bruised and still concussed a week on! But i'm all ok :)

meg92 08-15-2010 11:12 AM

wow and you weren't even hanging on to her, it's not like she had no where else to go. That's odd that she did that. Glad you're doing good though :)

PechosGoldenChance 08-15-2010 11:38 AM

Helly: WOW! I would have been scared out of my whitts. I'm glad your ok now though.

Helly 08-15-2010 01:06 PM

its a narrow walk way - field fenced off where it happend, she doesnt respect my space at all, its like was leading her around the side of my stable for the farrier, someone was walkin down the road she spooked and jumped into me.. its always me, i think she assosiates me with safeness.. not always safe though! i would have been scared but i cant remember it and i was out before i knew what really was happening! :-P


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