Bombproof Horse now bolting, acting spooky
Hi, I got a 20 year old bombproof mare about 1 and a half months ago and she was fine until she heard hunters shooting in the back field and now she spooks at the littlest thing, i.e. someone clapped hands while she was eating and she bolted, etc; a ball thrown behind her caused her to bolt, etc. I am now not spending as much time with her as I am scared she will hurt me when she bolts. I am not an experienced horse person so I cannot train myself. Please help. Note: I was very comfortable with her before this started happening.
Debbie, I'd recommend to give her "portion of daily shots" every day. Start with very quiet clapping hands close enough to her and keep doing it until she relax, then give her a treat. Then start again - relax - treat, and so on. Then brush her and mess with her. Do it for couple days until she becomes comfortable with that, then do it little louder, and so on. The problem you have not gonna be solved in 1 day, or 2 days, or may be even several weeks. I don't think real trainer will help much either right away (it does takes lots of time - more for some horses, less for others) - you have to do the sounds as part of your daily routine with her. Just keep safe enough distance from her and do it ON GROUND, not in saddle. When she'll be comfortable on ground you can start training same thing in saddle. Good luck!
Sounds like you need to back up and desensitize her. I would HIGHLY recommend the Clinton Andersson CD's.....Gaining Respect and Control on the Ground....lots of good exercises to teach your horse to "think" first before reacting...and will get the horse to focus on you vs. sounds and other things.
We do the "helicopter" with the handy stick (whirling the string of the stick over my horse's head and it makes this awful whistling sound). He HATED it at first...now he literally just stands there calmly.
I wouldn't give up on your horse just yet. Get some help, training, etc and start desensitizing. Good luck.
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