The Horse Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow horse people...I'm new to this. I just need HELP!! A little over a year ago I was given a paint gelding (10 yrs old) that has had a bad past. Since I've gotten him he will actually come to me (although not fond of others..especially men). We always had great rides even up town around traffic! Then one morning we rode uptown with his pasture mate and he spooked at a car passing, threw me off, and ran through town back towards the barn (he wasn't hurt or harmed at all!...we live in a VERY small town). Ever since that incident he spooks constantly...most of the time I don't even see what he's spooking about. This has been going on for months now. I'm just at my witts end...completely lost as to what to do next. I've worked with him on the ground with different de-spook exercises as well as having him pull a post behind him with the saddle on and he does great, but when we go riding (even on the land he is VERY familiar with) he spooks! I can't afford a trainer. Is he actually scared or is he trying to act out? Should I do a particular despook exercise? How about trying Natural Horsemanship? ANYTHING WILL HELP...but PLEASE BE NICE!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,176 Posts
Anytime I hear that a horse used to be fine, but suddenly started spooking, I think eyes. I would get his eyes checked. There may be something going on that's making him see shadows and things that aren't there.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,901 Posts
I second the checking of his eyes, but also consider the fact that he might not really be spooking at all....he may have just learned that if he does it, you magically come off and they hey, he can go home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
That's exactly what I've been starting to think. I've even had a very good horseman tell me the same thing. If that's the case....what do I do to make him stop and realize he still has to go? Just ride everything out?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
I agree you may be anticipating the spook in the saddle and he is reacting to you, or it could be his eyes. Have you had anyone else ride him? I would ride him in a small familiar area. How is he spooking is it just a jump to the side, or is he running off, or bucking?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,901 Posts
Yep, basically. You should know your horse better than we do, so if you honestly think he's spooking, look on the internet for some desensitizing excersises you can do. But you think he's playing around with you, you have to push him forward every time he spooks. Just act like nothings going on and cue him forward.

^^Excellent point made also! I have been a victim of this. Have someone else ride him, and if he still has the problem, then I'd say check his eyes or push him through. If he doesn't, maybe take a break from riding him, do some ground work and build back your confidence in him as a mount.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Based on his personality I think he's doing this as a new way to test me because we've had issues of stubborness before. He's been ridden by someone else and still spooks but that COULD be because the rider was a male. He's never dangerous when he spooks. Just like he's jumping out his skin. Anytime he tries to run I'll turn him in circles to disengage his hindquarters.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,901 Posts
^^Hmm.....if he's anything like my guy, that might just become his new way of spooking (yielding his hindquarters/turning in circles). I got advice from someone that instead of doing lots of repetive tight circles, just give him a big "HEY i'm still here!" nudge to keep his mind on you. If the circling has worked for you before, then completely ignore me, lol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
I would deal with the respect issues on the ground first. I would set up some obstacles that were very spooky (tarps, flags, get creative). I would first lead him over them, until he was calm about them. Then I would ride him at a walk over the obstacles. Then increase speed as he became more comfortable. Another thing I do is when I'm leading my horse I will sometimes jump in the air suddenly and try to spook him on purpose. He was harder to spook the more I did it. These are both ways of dealing with the spook when you are in control of it. It's Okay to spook as long as the recovery is fast.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,022 Posts
IMHO, vision problems affect a horse all the time, not just when you are riding. If he seems fine when he's not being ridden, then it's probably not his vision. My suggestion would be when you feel him tensing up, thinking about "spooking", get his attention back on you - ask him to do something for you, then go on with the ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
It does happen where a calm horse will get too scared and seemingly lose his training.

John Lyons horse Zip had the same thing happen to him. He will tell the story of a photo shoot they did involving a helicopter, bear, and a tarp that shot up into the air. During the shoot Zip was fine, but the next day he was really spooky. John had to take him back to the round pen and work on spook work.

I too have had this experienced with a Mustang and a PMU rescue mare. In both cases the horses were 'fine' until one day the horse jumped and the rider came off. Both horses were fearful after that day and had to go through retraining to get them thinking again. Both horses were also very fearful of the area where the accident took place.

My suggestion is that you go through spook work with your horse and reteach the horse how to control it's fear. BTW both of the horses are doing super on trail and the owner of the mustang says he is so calm now that he goes a bit too slow. : )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
A couple of things.

One: since you really don't know his history it could be that he has been doing this for a long time.

Two: It sounds to me like he is either loosing his focus or he is deciding that he is done with whatever he is doing and wants to do something else.

Keeping his focus is more about constand redirection of his feet than it is a certain pattern or excercise. Keep changing the direction of his feet so that he knows that your are in control of each footfall. That will solve the focus issue.

If it is truly a fear thing then you need to re assure him that all is well by controling your emotions and redirecting his thoughts to his feet. You have about 1 second to get him focused on you. If he goes "holy SH__!!" and you second the emotion he will think he is right and BOOM. If you stay calm and redirect him he will come around.

Remember beng a good leader is the key. Just because he has had some tough times does not change the fact that you are the leader and he follows. Its the way horses think and he will be more comfortable once you earn his respect as the leader. Either you are the leader or he is--there is no other way that they understand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
If you have changed any of your tack (and I mean any of it) you might change back to your old tack because my horse did the same thing and changed back to my old saddle and she stopped acting up. But anytime she did something, I rode it out. Just hold on to anything but if you do fall off, climb right back on if yall arent seriously hurt. Hope this helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Maybe something spooked him without you knowing and it's "stuck" with him. I don't know if you get what I'm saying. Lol - but this happened to me with my TB. He got spooked when he was in tight spaces and he wouldn't stand for me. So I ended slowly leading him into the barn and things ended coming along after about 1 1/2 month.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
Could be eyes but I think its more likely he has learned if he acts up enough he can unseat you and go home. Work him at home, make sure he understands that you are not coming off and he better behave. He has to know he cant get you unseated and take off and if he tries it at home you better have a HUGE converstation with him about who is the boss. Sounds like fun....:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
sorry hit enter before finished post above...
of course above post is if the horse is just being spoiled, if he truly is afraid and as the handler you should know I would simply suggest riding him a bit further from home every day. If he spooks work him for a while till he relaxes again and the next time you ride him ride him a bit further the key being to get a few rides no matter how short in with no incident.. I think the more you do it without incident the better he will get..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,766 Posts
My horse was handled pretty rough in his formerlife and was extremely spooky at everything. The the point of riolling his eyes and rearing up when he saw a saddle or western hat, basic exposure training and being nice to him help, but you cant think of everything, I have done some trining drills that dont keep him from getting scared, but have changed his reaction, In the round pen on a 12 foot lead line, I intentionally scare him, wave hats, rocks in a beer can, plastic bags, I change all the time. As soon as his feet stop moving I stop waving item. Then do it again, each time as soon as his feet stop I stop. Basically I have taught him to freeze when he sees something spooky instead of rearing and spinning 180 unexpectadly, On the trail he will now freeze, I can collect him encourage him a bit and usually get him to go on by without incident.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top