Afraid of shadows. Eye issue? - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-20-2009, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Afraid of shadows. Eye issue?

For another owner at our barn I ride her horse a few times a week as she doesn't have enough time for him.
He is a Swedish warmblood, 13 years old and has cushings.
When we ride he spooks at shadows and different colors on the arena floor.
As it is getting dark earlier we've started turning on the arena lights and it is fun! Before he used to spook at puddles and stuff, but now with the lights (and thus shadows) it is a whole different story.
He always did it with his owner as well and he has a pretty good spook.
Every time he spooks I take him by the same spot a few more times and he never spooks again like he does the first time, I am expecting it at that time so it is easier to handle.
I believe he is testing me and should be disciplined, but before I blame him for something that is not his fault, could there be an eye issue that is causing this?
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-20-2009, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knaskedov View Post
I believe he is testing me and should be disciplined, but before I blame him for something that is not his fault, could there be an eye issue that is causing this?
why would he be scared of something to test you? and why would you discipline him for being scared?

many horses are scared of shadows. a lot of our racehorses wear something called a "shadow roll" because when they race they will actually jump shadows or try to run around them, and that can be really dangerous in a race.

remember, horses are scared of two things, things that move, and things that dont move.
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-20-2009, 07:41 PM
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It might be an eye problem. Have your vet check it out because he could be going blind. Or it could be that those scary shadows are going to eat him.

"And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is: Don't go out at night..."
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-21-2009, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlmagroN View Post
why would he be scared of something to test you? and why would you discipline him for being scared?
What I mean with him testing me is that he is faking it. He's looking for an excuse to act up and/or is checking if I am paying attention. With his owner if he acts up, he is done for the day. That kind of thing I will not put up with.

But, since with behaviour issues it can always have a physical cause, I was wondering if someone has experience with a horse with eye problems that is causing him/her to spook. We tried waving our hand in front of his eyes and he does close them, but it's not like we can set up a board with letters in front of him and ask if he can read the third line from the top. (how nice would that be?)
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-21-2009, 01:22 AM
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I've known a lot of young horses to be afraid of their own shadow, and even more afraid of their shadow with a rider. Some horses are afraid of rocks, some are afraid of the wind, and some, apparently, are afraid of shadows. You may try working with him while either on the ground or riding, and introduce him to all sorts of shadows. You can even get a flashlight and make shadow puppets on the wall. =]

It may be an eye issue, I'm not sure if cushings affects the eyes or not, but it might. The only way to know for sure if have a vet check.

I also wouldn't discipline a spook, whether he is faking it or not. What you are doing, by bringing him back and forth a few times is all you need to do. Try and keep him really busy while you're riding him. Lots of circles and transitions and leg yields so he has to use his brain, and therefore can't concentrate on things to "spook" at. While you are riding, don't expect him to spook, but be ready for it in case he does. When he does spook, try your best to ignore him. He needs to know that by faking a spook, it doesn't change anything.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

Last edited by riccil0ve; 08-21-2009 at 01:25 AM.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-21-2009, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riccil0ve View Post
I've known a lot of young horses to be afraid of their own shadow, and even more afraid of their shadow with a rider.
lol that reminds me, my mare, Prairie Debutante... she walks turned sideways staring at her shadow when you walk her somewhere and its sunny. just incase it makes a sudden move on her!
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-21-2009, 07:37 PM
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Horses eyes take longer to adjust to changes in light than ours do, and it is not unusual for them to be cautious as they go (or look) from a brighter to darker area like a shadow.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-22-2009, 03:00 AM
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Don't discipline them for spooking. but try to turn it into "I ment to do that" training manuever.. He looks in and down and jumps... act like it didn't happen and go into a figure 8. Try to get the focus back on you. Try lunging or long reining before riding... could be too much energy!

~ Starline Stables ~
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