If a horse wants to look at something it's scared of, do you let him? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 82 Old 03-14-2015, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Question If a horse wants to look at something it's scared of, do you let him?

If a horse wants to look at something it's scared of, should I let him or should I keep him moving? Thanks!
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post #2 of 82 Old 03-14-2015, 06:18 PM
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I would.
I would also be happy that my horse is brave enough to want to investigate - that's a good thing!
Usually, as soon as they touch whatever it is with their nose, the "scared" goes away.
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post #3 of 82 Old 03-14-2015, 06:20 PM
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That's the time to get his mind busy by keeping his feet moving. Small circles and figure 8s for about 10 min will get the horse's mind of whatever it was. A big mistake riders make is to look where the horse is looking. That confirms in the horse's mind there's something to be concerned about. Look the other way and get his feet busy.



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post #4 of 82 Old 03-14-2015, 06:55 PM
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I'm going to have to agree with Dapples123, I actually encourage my horses to investigate, smell, whatever is scaring them and as soon as they realize it's not going to kill them they relax.
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post #5 of 82 Old 03-14-2015, 07:48 PM
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Depends. I let Mia look for about 5 seconds, then insist on getting back to work. If I don't let her look (and look too), she thinks I don't know about "The Threat" and it is up to her to save us both. If we both look, and then I tell her to turn away and get to work, she accepts I saw it and have rejected it as a threat.

If I let her keep looking, she seems to assume I'm worried about it too, and that I don't know how to handle it. Then her nerves go to all heck.

For less scary things, this advice has worked well for me. It is from Tom Roberts set of books on "Horse Control":



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post #6 of 82 Old 03-14-2015, 08:35 PM
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My riding instructor always tells me to let the horse investigate something it was previously scared of but to make sure I'm not on the horse as I let him/her do it in case they spook again and bolt! :) I'd say yes
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post #7 of 82 Old 03-14-2015, 10:00 PM
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I will let the horse inspect it once, then continue working. After they have seen that there's really nothing there to be afraid off, they won't spook at it.
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post #8 of 82 Old 03-14-2015, 10:14 PM
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For me if there's something they're scared of I'll ask them to go in and out of the "zone" they're concerned about repeatedly until they decide that it's not a threat.

There's one corner in our arena that gets wet when it rains - the resulting stain that happens in the corner always gets the attention of a few of the usual scaredy cats even though they've been seeing the same thing for years and years. Often they'll shy away so we'll just circle in that end of the arena going nearer to and then further from the wet spot. Eventually they figure out it's not actually a cougar waiting to jump out and eat them and they get over it.

Their instinct is to go the opposite direction from whatever might be scaring them, but when YOU know it's harmless just letting them have their way whenever there's something of concern is likely to be counterproductive in the long run.
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post #9 of 82 Old 03-14-2015, 10:48 PM
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I am going to disagree. I want me horse to go foward with no balking. I think a horse that has a need to stop and look and smell results in a balky horse. I do not want a balky horse. A balky horse has the ability to turn into a bolter in a blink of an eye.

If I let my horse stop, look, and smell, everything the caused him the slightest concern out on a trail, we would not get very far. He needs to trust me and move on from the fear.

Keep those feet moving.
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post #10 of 82 Old 03-14-2015, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahfromsc View Post
I am going to disagree. I want me horse to go foward with no balking.
Despite what I posted above, I'd also agree with that tactic, but in retrospect I guess it depends on the situation.

In my arena situation above just stopping and driving forward isn't a great option as it'll often create a traffic jam of other riders behind the problem horse. That's especially problematic if it's a mixed lesson with some less experienced riders. Circling into and away from the concern is compromise that allows traffic flow to continue.

On a trail ride I'd do the "Cut this crap out and get your butt in a forward gear" approach, however.

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