02-23-2014, 11:53 PM
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In addition to desensitizing and going out with another calm horse (and read the great sticky by Cherie), something that can keep your horse more relaxed and using her mind on the trail is to keep her busy. Work on sidepassing, leg yields, etc. Backing, circling, or anything you're working on, just keep stopping and doing little exercises - often. This especially works when your horse is a little tense or in the spring when they seem to have pent up energy. When I first get a horse, I develop all these little exercises at home, and then just keep doing them all along the trail. After a while, it really does relax them. I think it keeps bringing their mind back to you and teaches them to trust you. It boils down to a leadership thing -- if they really trust that you can take care of them out in the big world, they won't run, they'll trust you...even though they may give a little jump/spook. But I think once a horse starts bolting in fear it can become a habit really fast, so you are wise to make a strategy to deal with this.