Your horse and your safety: When spooking - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 50 Old 10-26-2015, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Wink Your horse and your safety: When spooking

Hello everyone, I'm a horse lover myself and I wanted to share a few tips on how to stay safe when your horse spooks. Spooking is quite natural, and don't feel dumb when it happens. Horses are constantly wondering, "Hmmm, what is my owners motive?" If they see you have good intentions, they will trust you more and be less spooky with you. If you have purchased a calm, gentle, older horse, it should be easier for them to catch your good motives. On the other hand, if you purchased a young, spooky, near wild horse, it will need some great convincing to see your good motives. Be easy and gentle with younger horses, because {from prior experince} they tend to be the spookiest horses. take it slow, and you and your horse will be safe as can be. myponyisChance
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post #2 of 50 Old 10-26-2015, 10:21 PM
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Totally, 100% disagree. I owned a very spooky horse who adored me as much as I did her...but she was a spook-monster. And since I owned her for 7 years, I think I know.

I've got a horse who loathes me, but who is calm and sane and obedient when I ride him.

Got another who is in between...likes me alright, but spooks in neighborhoods. Doesn't spook in the wilds. Jumped out of his skin when I sneezed while standing on the ground next to him.
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #3 of 50 Old 10-26-2015, 10:33 PM
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Yeah....not so much.

Too much anthropomorphizing and tween horse movie reasoning there.

Horses spook because of A) their nature, some horses are just more nervous about stimuli than others and B) their training, their prior training will dictate how they respond in a situation they consider scary.

How they feel about you means almost nothing. I've ridden bombproof horses that didn't like me much and spooky horses that LOVED being with me.
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post #4 of 50 Old 10-26-2015, 10:40 PM
Join Date: May 2011
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I've met older "bombproof" horses who are a ton of snort and blow and spook. My friend's endurance-trained Arab gelding was like that. We were on a trail ride once and a bird flew out of a bush about 50 feet ahead of us. Siege spooked HARD, jumping sideways about five feet with his head up in the air. He was a very well-trained 10yo at the time. On the other hand, my green-as-grass 2yo who had been on a trail once before and who hadn't been off the property before that since he was a weanling just looked at it like "Oh look. A bird. *yawn*"

I'm with smrobs. It had more to do with personality and training than anything else.
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post #5 of 50 Old 10-27-2015, 12:09 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
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I'm not an anxious rider by nature, and do have the good fortune to have a pretty much bomb proof horse. But still, he's a horse.

We were on the trails yesterday when I noticed a couple ahead of me, and they were calling their dog. They were looking UP. Their dog was on a high ridge, behind some bushes, and I knew immediately this was good potential for a spook. I tried to put in some distance so my horse had a better chance of seeing what it was that was crashing down the hill from above him.

Luckily he only spun as the dog came through the bushes toward his owners. They thought their yelling made my horse spook but I didn't have the time to explain it to them. I'm just saying you can make most situations safer but you can't always control those spooks. Being aware but not anxious helps.
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post #6 of 50 Old 10-27-2015, 12:49 AM
Join Date: Jun 2014
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In addition to the balanced riding advice given routinely by forum member TXhorseman, this post in the training section is about the best I've ever seen on the subject.
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post #7 of 50 Old 10-27-2015, 12:51 AM
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Spooking happens. Mona should be bomb proof at 19 with all the training and exposure she has had, but she spooks at butterflies. She is really reactive and can spin on a dime. Her daughter, Lilly could care less about anything. Havok is naturally curious, and Willow likes to go out.
All of them have different personalties and respond to situations differently.

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
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post #8 of 50 Old 10-27-2015, 09:05 AM
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I too cannot agree!

I have started a lot of horses and they are not allowed to spook. They learn to ride out on their own from the outset, they learn to go where I ask, when I ask and without question.

Some horses are far spookier than others and even the steadiest might spook at something really sudden happening but generally they can all be trained out of it.

Horse spooks, spins around, rider manages to stay on and stop it from tanking off. Turns to try again patting the horse and talking to it nicely thus rewarding the spook leading to further reaction.
The horse that spooks, spins and is pulled up hard, booted in the ribs and made to go forward unceremoniously is going to learn that spook and spin is not a pleasant experience and the rider is going to be in charge.
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post #9 of 50 Old 10-27-2015, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: wisconsin
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I disagree fox hunter, I think if you get after the spook too harshly you will cause the horse to think there is something to spook over. I would rather just move on like nothing happened.
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post #10 of 50 Old 10-27-2015, 10:32 AM
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Indiana
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I think I would rather train my horse instead of rely on my "good vibes."
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