Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
I haven't read all the responses here, so maybe someone's already mentioned this, but Cherie has a sticky thread "How We Train Fearless Trail Horses" or something like that with her methods that are proven and work. Look at the top of the main forum threads and you'll see it there as a permanent post.
For me, I do let my horse look sometimes because it's in her nature to be curious. But if I sense she's being overly cautious, like spooky just because she's had too much grain, then no, I push her on.
Just like I parent my kids: if they're having a bad day because they don't feel well, I let their antics slide, but if they're being buttheads because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed, they don't get a free pass. I can usually tell when it's my horse being overly sensitive or if she has a legit question about what's going on in the bushes or ahead or whatever.
The problem with letting them look at everything is you can end up taking forever to go anywhere, so you do have to draw the line somewhere.
As Cherie recommends, when my horse does spook, I make her walk back and forth in front of the spooky spot several times until she can walk by without reacting. Sometimes it takes a long time, other times just a few passes. The more times you do that, the less often they will spook. They start to learn that they have way too many false alarms or they start ignoring the things that turned out to be false alarms in the past.
“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare