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SonnyWimps 03-21-2008 10:06 PM

Really spooky all of a sudden...spring fever maybe?
This has been confusing both me and the barn owner. She has one horse, named Heart, that at first was really shy about everything. Head shy, spooked at everything including mud, and just was all around spooky. With work from everyone we got Heart alot better. I could run up to him, pet his head, and run away...without spooking...where as if I did that before, he'd have a heart attack.

He had a whole turn around...he was great...he still spooked occasionally, but he was still 200% better than he was when I first started riding at the barn.

Since he was getting really herd bound, the barn owner moved him to a different pasture with just one horse. Heart and the other horse got along fine...Heart was the dominant one, so he wasn't picked on at all.

Since he was picking on the other horse way too much, we moved him back last Sunday, but he was worse than when I first started. He wouldn't let us catch him in the field...he wouldn't let you touch him....he'd flintch at EVERYTHING (trees, people, other horses, leaves)...when I tried to put a saddle pad on him, he tried to run away, but realizing he was in a stall and couldn't he tried to pin me to a wall and kick me.

Then once we got the saddle and such on him, we would walk around and all of a sudden he's start shaking really bad all over...he'd try to bolt more than normal (he'd usually always try to bolt...but not as often as he did when I was riding him on Sunday).

Any idea on what would be causing such a turn around for him? We are totally stumped. We were thinking of maybe Spring Fever, but he was fine when the seasons were changing before.

appylover31803 03-21-2008 11:18 PM

do you know how old he is?

When he was turned out, was he worked regularly?

If he wasn't maybe he went back to his old ways.

I would just to a lot of ground work. Using a rope halter works better too, IMO.

Could he have any pain issues with the saddle?
Has his bolting ever been addressed?

Bitless 03-22-2008 06:04 AM

Purhaps the simple reshuffle has upset him. Since he sounds like a very sensitive horse due to his nervousness.

You said he and the one single horse got on fine but then you said he picked on the other one way to much so you had to move him again????? lol, a little confusing there :wink:

He proberly felt secure in the herd ( maby to much since he became herd bound ) , moveing him with a single horse , which possibly gave him confidence ( since he was the dominant one ) then he was taken away again from that. Im assuming he is back with the herd now, which he will now have to re establish his position in , the herd would have been altered by his dissaparence then reapearance so his position would have changed.

It proberly wont take much to set him back a few steps. My horse Banjo was a very skittish , nervous horse when i got him, hadnt been worked much either. I have had him 6 years and altho he is not so bad like he used to be he still has days when he shys at everything, or acts like a nutter and i dont think that will ever go as it was so imprinted in him since he had a rough start, this may be the case with this horse, it may take a year or even more of working with him before you get a steady increase or reliable progress with him .

hehe soory that was really long. Best of luck with him tho.

SonnyWimps 03-22-2008 09:39 AM


Originally Posted by appylover31803
do you know how old he is?

When he was turned out, was he worked regularly?

If he wasn't maybe he went back to his old ways.

I would just to a lot of ground work. Using a rope halter works better too, IMO.

Could he have any pain issues with the saddle?
Has his bolting ever been addressed?

He's approx 9 years old...not entirely sure but I know he's at least that old...maybe 10

Yes, the days that we were able to catch him in the field, he was worked. I haven't ridden him while he was down there (except for last Sunday)...another girl did, but she said he was great.

No, for even while lunging you could tell he was crazy...I don't think it's a pain issue due to he was bad in the pasture, in the arena while we lunged him, and in the stall when we were tacking him up.

We have been working on his bolting, and we had got it fairly under control...the only time he used to bolt was if he spooked...which was fine, due to previously he'd bolt each time you want a trot. Now he'd bolt randomly at walk, trot, and canter.

Leading him isn't an issue...he's fine once we get a lead rope on him, but it's just being around him, touching him, and saddling up is what bothers him.

tiffanyp1980 03-22-2008 10:08 AM

is there a stall int he barn you can keep him in that we he gets used to things going on and crazyness hapining, that way he is also easier to catch and work with,

SonnyWimps 03-22-2008 10:39 PM

there is a stall, but personally I don't believe a stall is the place for a horse.

I went and worked him on the ground today and he was alot better. I think it was just from the switching from being in a huge herd to being with a single horse...but I could be wrong

Bitless 03-23-2008 05:21 AM

It sounds like the trust thing just needs to be worked on, which is what you are doing...and being consistant with him in training and stuff.
Horses like routine so if you can put one inplace for this fella( if he doesnt already have one ) it might give him a more peice of mind. i dont mean your training, and ground work has to be exactly the same every time....but things like what times you train/work him, feeding, and all that jazz.. iwill put this nervous guy into a stable environment were he knows whats happening.

of course it wont be smooth sailing and some changes that come up will be unnavoidable but for now untill he builds some more trust with you and others if you can just keep things simple and consistant. Paitence ..pretty much.

Heh my opinion any way. But good on you, i always feel for nurvous scared horses, because my boy was/ still is a little bit one himself and it takes alot of work to get them to trust you. Being about 9 your guy has had alot of time to imprint this behaviour so it will take awhile to get through to him but sounds like you are progressing so keep it up :D

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