Dealing with the "Question Everything!" Horse

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Dealing with the "Question Everything!" Horse

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        07-26-2013, 04:19 PM
    Dealing with the "Question Everything!" Horse

    Hey guys!

    How do YOU, as a trail rider, deal with the horse that must look/investigate/worry/question and/or, etc.?

    I'm sure a lot has to do with the age of the horse and how much of a frequent flyer they are of trails. Thus, I'm curious as to how you all like to handle these horses described above.
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        07-26-2013, 04:30 PM
    Our horses we have had for ten years are pretty good at not doing this - but every now and then even I can't help but wonder about a few things.
    Our new horse is 7 years old and is curious about every goshdarn thing.

    What we do when our horses get all curious/worried/hungry/naughty is we ignore what ever they are looking at or worried about and keep riding as though it does not exist. Sometimes I will turn them in a circle once or twice. A horse that has time to worry isn't doing enough work. A horse that is working and busy doesn't have time to worry.
    Hang on Fi and Maryland Rider like this.
        07-26-2013, 04:43 PM
    You're going to think I'm crazy. My gelding falls under the "worry, spook, everything will eat me if I don't run fast" category. Aside from circles, keeping his mind off of it with cues and ignoring it (which sometimes doesn't work for him) I talk to him. I speak gibberish and natter his ear off. He likes it when people talk to him and so whenever he gets spooky I tell him what it is and then ask him about his day. It's pretty crazy I know but hey, for some odd reason or the other it works. Now when he's not paying attention due to nib nosing.... well.... my words are a bit harsher then! :)
        07-26-2013, 04:57 PM
    Hah! I completely understand! When I do barrels with my horse, I am always talking to him and if he messes up a barrel in any way I always talk at him for it and say "you should do that because then this could happen and you could get hurt but it doesn't really matter because it is fun but you still shouldn't do that, oh, watch the barrel, good boy that was the best one yet! Oh careful with this one you always get too close, dangit you rolled it but that's ok good things you didn't jump over it, okay now full speed ahead horsey! Yeeeeehawwww!!!"

    That is my normal barrel speech for my horse when we race!
    Hang on Fi and dlady like this.
        07-26-2013, 05:37 PM
    I agree with amberly, it does not exist theory.

    Last weekend I was proven wrong though.
    1st river crossing we stalled, horse saw loose dog in the water.
    2nd river crossing we stalled, horse new people were at rope swing at swimming hole.
    3rd steep hill climb stall, horse new there were deer bedded down under brush.

    My horse sensed all these items before I noticed.
    Hang on Fi likes this.
        07-26-2013, 05:37 PM
    Green Broke
    My Arabian likes to look. At first, I let her look for as long as she wanted and move on when she was ready. That didn't work for her. She got even spookier and more inclined to look. Now, every time she rolls her head to the side, snorts, and starts to look, I ride her past whatever she's worried about hard. At the first sign of hesitation, I put her into a trot and retain forward motion past it. Because who is she to decide what's safe and what's not? That's my job as the rider. When I say it's safe, it's safe.

    This doesn't work for my SSH. If I try to ride her past something that scares her, she gets more paranoid and stays paranoid the whole ride. I let her look. I don't even ask her to go forward. She stops, I let her. She goes when she can handle it. She very rarely spooks, so when she's scared of something, I'm inclined to think it might be a legitimate threat. One time, she refused to cross a dam. I got off to lead her across. I stepped onto that dam and fell through that soft dirt. Smart horse. I've ridden my poor Arabian into soft spots before, but my SSH keeps me out of trouble.
    Hang on Fi likes this.
        07-27-2013, 08:40 PM
    I tend to fall mostly into the "ignore the nonsense" camp. My horses (Arabs, of course) have mastered the art of staring and snorting at things while moving along, and as long as they keep walking it doesn't bother me. If they stop and refuse to go forward, I usually make them face the way I want them to go until they decide it's not worth the trouble. Since they get bored easily and don't like standing still this usually works quickly. I generally won't push them to cross an obstacle before they're ready, because that usually leads to an "argument". Might not work for all horses, but works for us. :)
        07-27-2013, 09:27 PM
    Usually, I do the "ignore it and move on." But, if she is really wide-berthing it and I have time, I will walk back and forth past the "monster" as many times as it takes for her to settle down about it. I will not let her stop and investigate it. I ride probably 20 feet past in either direction each time.

    I also find that my horse is spookier on the side away from me if I am leading her. She seems to figure that I am her protecter between her and the monster, no matter which side I am leading from.
    thenrie and equine24 like this.
        07-31-2013, 03:29 PM
    My boy is six, and has been under saddle for about a year. From spending his first 5 years in a pasture, he definitely questions everything and it was very hard to break him out of the immediate 'run for my life!!!' Phase when the wind blew the wrong way.

    Whenever I notice my horse getting tense, I instantly start doing things to keep him busy. Side passing, gaiting to backing up back to gaiting, small circles, big circles, pivots, constant gait changes. I try to work him so hard he doesn't even notice that he is nervous.

    When he does spook at something, which used to mean a bolt, I would instantly start working him HARD. Lots of circles, backing up, gaiting him fast through the area that scared him multiple times. His long bolt turned into a short bolt, into bolting a few steps, into taking one scared step, into a big jump straight up, and now a nice flinch.

    If he does do his big flinch at something, I do make him walk past it (not up to it) multiple times, both ways, until he acts like its something he's seen his entire life. I'm sure there are tons of different methods for different horses from different backgrounds, but this has worked wonders for my spooky boy :) good luck!
        08-04-2013, 06:45 AM
    Last year when I bought my mare she would try to find things to "eat her"

    I've found that riding with more experienced horses, switching up which horses are going out on the trail with her, and just being calm are the biggest things that have helped.

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