So I was riding Sock out alongside the road yesterday, and by now he's pretty darned good about cars. This is a pretty easy area anyway being that there are usually 10+ feet of open space to ride on either side of the road and sometimes there is even a row of trees between the road and yet another 10' wide strip on the side opposite the road. Also it's flat and on a grid, so very non-threatening and easy in general. Most of the people who drive through the area are very courteous and slow down to pass. We were just past the end of the property and a few cars had passed us. Some slowed down, some didn't, but Sock didn't flinch or stop at any of them. We came up close to the end of the block and I saw/heard someone in a Cobra turning the corner coming toward us.
As soon as Sock heard the engine his head went up and his ears pricked. The guy in the car slowed, and I was extremely grateful considering the engine was still fairly loud and Sock seemed to be quite wary because of it. The @$$hole gets to about 10 yards in front of us, and FLOORS IT. Sock exploded and tried to turn tail and run. We're all lucky that he didn't jump out right in front of or on top of the car in fear/confusion!!!
If the guy had waited until after he was behind us, then maybe I could let it go with the idea that he maybe didn't know horses and didn't realize that he was still too close to be doing that, but this was obviously on purpose and it makes me SO mad that someone would willfully do something that could seriously injure a person or animal. Not to mention potentially his car!
It scared my dang horse so badly that on the way home (I felt he wasn't very safe to ride along the road anymore that day) we were passed by a slow-going USPS truck while we were on the other side of the trees (I was staying on those stretches as much as was available) and he tried to flip out again.
Honestly I felt bad for him, as I know he wasn't acting out of malice at all and was genuinely scared. He's only reacted any way akin to that when we were passed by a large truck and horse trailer, on a windy road, with less space between us and the road. That time he scrambled and turned around toward home, but was able to get his head together within half a second and calmed down.
Does anyone have any advice on how to better deal with this? I fear we have some "trust building boot camp" to go through before he'll be safe to ride out again. This feels like such a huge step backward. He's normally incredibly calm.