I have just joined this site and I have a problem. I have a 4 yr old American Quarter horse. He has a lovely nature and is quite calm however he is not too happy being ridden on his own and when I have ridden out with another horse he has been very good. Unfortunately I no longer have anyone to ride with and he needs experience hacking out so that he can get used to the "big world". I have been told that I cannot use another human to walk along side me as my horse needs another horse so he won't spook. What can I do if no other horses around does this mean I just can't ride - too silly for words.:cry:
So the problem you have when you ride out alone is that he spooks at lots of things and is not confident? (Versus being barn sour or herd bound.)
The obvious answer is you have to get him to be confident in you so that when you go out he feels safe with you. Do you have a trainer of any type that can give you exercises that will help you and your horse be confident in each other?
I see nothing wrong with working him with another human around if that helps him feel more secure.
Hi thanks for that do you know of any exercises I can do that will help. No trainers near me as I do western. Have tried to give my horse positive experience both on the ground and in the saddle. He is great with dentist, farrier and vet so long as I am there. So I think we are building trust in each other. However when he spooks its a big one and can be quite daunting as he can spin on a penny. The only good thing is when you show him something after a spook he remebers and is fine the next time. I have read from some of the others that it is just getting as much time in the saddle as possible and my nervies should settle which should mean that he will settle too.
Your horse is young, a 4 year old, and so many experiences are new to him. He is going to spook, it's a given. The trick is to not let the spook be a big deal, don't freak out, don't get upset, and don't praise (or sooth him) when he spooks. Ignore the spooks and model to him with your own confidence that the world out there is not scary.
In this particular case, of a young horse being spooky, your riding discipline doesn't really matter, and you don't need specifically a western trainer to help you with this issue. Any good trainer would be able to help you work through spookiness issues.
It sounds like he just needs a little more saddle time. Spooking itself is okay in my book. Horses are hard wired to be afraid of things, its just a prey response. Running, bolting etc are not okay. When he spooks, make him stand there if you can. In essence, teach him to accept the thing he is afraid of. You can't train the spook out of a horse. You can train them how they respond to being afraid.
I use my voice as an almost constant source of reassurance (or annoyance!) for an anxious horse. Talk them through it. Sounds all hippy-dippy but it has always worked for me. Keep your voice calm and quiet..."Yes yes, that is a plastic bag...don't worry, it doesn't eat horses. Lets just keep moving on okay? Ohh look, it is a soda can, silly litter bugs leaving things laying around. No worries, it isn't hungry for horse today". By talking, I've found that I actually keep myself calmer, therefore calming the horse.
Thanks I will look for someone who can just get me through that area of training regardless of discipline. I think my mind was so taken up with the western discipline I had missed the point that a horse is a horse regardless and forget the western/english style and concentrate on getting him out and about safely and make the experience good for him and me.
Sounds like a good plan!
Thanks Corinowalk you have hit the nail on the head I need maore saddle time. I am so impressed with this site it has made me think outside the box and one thing it has shown me reading all the replies is the only one stopping me and my horse getting out there is me. The more I ride and themore experience he gets the better we will both be. My nervousness is probably transmitting itself to him and I guess we are both nervous. I would still feel better with some company and if I can't have another horse it will have to be a human friend. Luckly I have someone who is prepared to do a lot of walking. I think the talking is a good idea as it will calm me down and my horse actually likes me talking to him.
Set yourself up for success too.
Instead of going out on a big adventure that you have to be all nervous about go out and do something simple (say ride in his pasture). This will give you both more confidence so you can be less nervous.
Love Cori's talking idea.
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