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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I took my new 5 yr old QH gelding out into the outdoor arena yesturday and he was just nervous and sppoking at everything (esp. the corn field on far side of arena) . It was a windy day, but the day before he was out there and was still quite nervous. He was sold to me as a "fearless" trail horse and now I am concerned that if he is this scared of an outdoor arena how will he be out on trails!? I am a fairly new rider so I took him into the indoor arena and he did settle down (although at first he was still worked up). After I worked him in the indoor and he was good and calm I did take him back out to the outdoor and I just mounted and sat on him out there next to my friend and her horse and he did seem fine. How can I get him used (desensitize) to the the outdoor arena? Lead him around by hand a lot out there? Turn him loose in the outdoor to let him see that it is okay? Get my trainer to ride him out in the outdoor? He has only been at this barn about three weeks. Thanks!
 

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IMO, horses are naturally spooky when its windy, the wind faeries might get them lol!

What I do with my 4 year old mare when she is being especially witchy and spooky, is make her work. I ride her through it, passing ALLLL the scary objects, and if I feel her even twitch to spook, I apply some leg and get her butt moving, laugh at her and tell her she's being silly.

Remember if they are moving forward and you are keeping their mind engaged, they have no time to even think to spook. They get better the more and more you desensitize them to the outdoor and spooky wind faerie eating horses :wink:

Your boy is only 5, try hand walking him, do you do a lot of groundwork with him? Also it takes awhile to build trust, don't expect miracles even though he's supposedly "bombproof". Do you have a trainer you trust to help you work through your issues?
 

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The first thing that comes to mind is did you change his feed and stabling situation when you bought him? Was he used to being stalled before you bought him?

If you change a horse's feed and you pen up a horse that is used to running out, you can turn a quiet and easy going horse into a nut-case. We've had it happen.

And 'Yes' -- it would help to turn your horse out in the outdoor arena. I would turn him out with another horse in it or near it because he could just 'bail out' if you put him out there all by himself. They can talk themselves into some pretty bizarre behavior and then instantly turn it into a habit.
 

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No matter how "bombproof" a horse is, there will always be things they act silly about, sometimes things they have seen a thousand times before. I agree with making him work, and keeping his mind and body busy. You really have to pay attention to him, watch his reactions, and be ready, but ride through it. It may help you to do some lunging out there......gradually getting him to go closer to the goblins. I will also remind you to work both ways, as they have 2 sides to their brains, and sometimes the "left" horse is different than the "right". I have one who is pretty fearless on trails.....totally beginner safe, but when the wind is blowing outside, it is a but cooler, and the corn is making scary noises beyond the hedgerow-he definitely acts a bit like he would spook......EVERY time he is out there.
 

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It takes work to get a horse to not get a fired up when it is windy, I dont think they ever lose their nature to get a bit 'fresh' on a cool windy day.
The best thing I can say is you learn to harness their energy into a task, work on it in a controlled environment and then move to the trails. There is no shame in being safe.

When my mare was 3 she would get right fired up on the trails on the windy days, even the outdoor arena...so I would take the things I practice in the indoor arena and use them outside...Serpentine, back up, collect... whatever y ou have that you can do to make them pay attention to what you are asking rather than the freaky wind. :)

Eventually they get so that they might be a little fresh, but they arent stupid and you can enjoy their energy rather than worry that you might be out of control...which you really never want to be.
 

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It could definitely be the wind. Take him out on a nice calm day. At my barn the first time I took her out - and the second and third - it was windy, and she was all sorts of spooky. Snorting, head up, fidgeting.

The next day it was calm and I was able to work with her no problem. So try to bring her there on a nice, calm day and see if she acts any different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank You all for your replies! I feel better about him being so worked up on a windy day, seems like it is pretty common. I will try working him in the outdoor on calm days and see how he does : )
 

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boy if we had to wait for a not so windy day here we wouldn't get much riding done LOL
Your horse is new to you, only 5 so still young.......probably new place. I don't arena ride but we can ride our horses out on new trails whether there is wind or not, yes sometimes when it's extremely windy my mare will be jumpy if we are by ourselves.
Turn him loose in the outdoor arena by himself and let him get it figured out on his own, usually keeping their feet and minds busy doesn't give them time to worry about scarey things.....
 
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