Trail horse in progress - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Crescent
  • 2 Post By QOS
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-06-2012, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: virgina
Posts: 335
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Trail horse in progress

this is my 16.1 QH/TB/Saddlebred mix who is 14 years old and I am trying to get him to were he doesn't spook at his shadow etc
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Last edited by Crescent; 09-06-2012 at 01:16 PM. Reason: wrong pic
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-06-2012, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Washington State
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I love his face markings. He looks so calm in that picture. Tell us what you are doing to help him over his fears. I'm always interested in seeing how other people are attempting to bomb proof their horses... even though we all know there's no such thing. :)
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-06-2012, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
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It looks like you guys must have a lot of fun out there.

Promoting the beautiful Canadian Horse
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-06-2012, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: virgina
Posts: 335
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yeah. Right now the issue is that he spooks by small things. Last week we had a deer go under his neck and he was like oh its a dear and was his lazy old self but when you wave your hand or a piece of grass waves with the wind then he FREAKS out soo silly hes not really afraid its just that he thinks its fun! haha and making him work doesn't work because he seriously thinks working is fun! hes funny somtimes. My riding instructor is in amazement! she had me running at him with my arms waving the air and screaming my lungs off and he just stood their like "mommy why are you doing that...its stupid!" hes a funny guy
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-06-2012, 11:57 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 3,391
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It is funny what will and won't spook horses!! Biscuit is pretty laid back but he always gives small chunks of wood on the trail a look like "omg it is an alien!!" look. Hogs have literally exploded from under his feet and he is like ok....that was a bit of surprise - but good GOD did you SEE that HUGE LOG trying to bite my ankles?

I am participating in a bomb proofing clinic next month. Can't wait to go!!
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Enjoying my Garmin and mapping trails
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-07-2012, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: virgina
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sounds fun you have to make a post on what you learned so that we can try it with our guys!
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-07-2012, 10:39 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 3,391
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I will Celeste. The group doing it is a mounted police company! It was a little pricey - $150 to participate or $20 to audit. I think Barry is going to audit but my cousin Kellie and I will be on our horses. Biscuit isn't spooky per se, but any horse can have a melt down or freak out and we just thought this would be a terrific clinic to attend. It is October 6th so it is right around the corner.

Enjoying my Garmin and mapping trails
Visit my trail riding blog at
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-09-2012, 10:16 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Stafford, Va
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Put him on a long lead, maybe 20 feet. Take a training staff or longeing whip and tie a plastic bag to the tip, like a plastic sac from Walmart. Start moving it around near him and see how he reacts. Once he starts reacting, keep moving it around, but don't get it closer to him. Once he decides it won't hurt him and he starts to relax (he'll probably lower his head a little and lick his lips and stop moving his feet), the pull the bag away from him. This rewards him for relaxing. He begins to learn that the way to get bad things to leave him alone is to relax. Progress little by little until you can run that bag on the staff all over his body and he remains completely relaxed, even bored. Up around his withers, over his head and face, etc. Like I said, progress little by little. Do it in stages. Once he relaxes with the bag touching him in one place, pull it away and remove the stimulus. Do each stage until he doesn't react at all. After that, start doing it with other things. Eventually he'll begin to react less strongly to things that scare him. Some horses have a stronger flight response than others, but you can minimize it and make him a much safer horse like this.

When I'm in the saddle and my horse spooks at something, I speak to her in a gentle tone, sort of like speaking to a child, and urge her toward the "monster". I say, "What is that?" and repeat it over and over, while urging her forward with my heels and keeping her head pointed at it with the reins. Once she gets close to the "monster", I let her sniff it and look at it until she relaxes. She has developed a trust in me, to the degree that now when she spooks at something she tends to automatically start making her way carefully toward it with very little urging from me. Ears pricked and cautious, but moving toward it. Her fear has become more curiosity than fear now. She has a strong flight response, though, and I still get a surprise once in a while, although she no longer runs. She just jumps a little.

Good luck.
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