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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There was a commotion at the place next to where my horses board this morning (looks like they got a herd of brush clearing goats!) and all of my horses were up, even Moonshine (who HAS seen a goat before, although you would not have known it). When it was time to get Pony ready to ride, he was super jumpy. I mean he was literally jumping around his stall. I tried the stall that had the view of the neighboring property, and another stall that had a different view, but he was really borderline freaking out.

What I ended up doing was haltering him and taking him out, just walking him for a few minutes and then asking him to do some easy work on the lead rope, just doing circles around me at a walk, yielding his hindquarters. I let him nibble some grass, and we’d change directions. I was thinking that would get him focused on me rather than on the goats (which by this time had disappeared, which is maybe even more scary than them running around – INVISIBLE goats!). Then I let him graze and tacked him up while he was doing that.

He was a bit jumpy in the lesson as well, but I got him focused by doing circles and leg yields, and he was fine.

My question is, what would you guys have done in the situation? My three are overall pretty calm and I’ve never really had to deal with something like this before. I’d like to know what to do if it happens again.
 

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I would have done what you did. what else can you do? I guess you can 'do' nothing, but that's a case of NOT doing. Yeah, you could just ignore their behavior and go on about your routine. But letting them see the place, and having them move around, letting them nibble grass. All good, as far as I can tell.
 

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I think you did a good thing. Don't discount the fact that once scared, always scared!

My mare was scared of the Black Demon Cows when they got out of the neighbor's pasture and ran up and down the road. Then, horror of horrors, she saw them in the pasture at the end of our road as we were heading up into the timberland. Those cows have been gone for over a year and she is still on high alert every time we pass that pasture. She won't relax until we get up the hill and out of sight of the pasture, and the return trip is no different. Evidently, Sassy never forgets!

Hope Pony gets over it.
 

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I think what you did was great. Instead of just leaving him to freak out, you re-focused his attention & got him focused on something else. Totally fine how you handled that. :) Keep their brain busy, that's the key.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think what you did was great. Instead of just leaving him to freak out, you re-focused his attention & got him focused on something else. Totally fine how you handled that. :) Keep their brain busy, that's the key.
Thanks. I actually did consider leaving him to freak out, because I was a little, well, I was a little scared to be honest (it's times like this when you realize just how big even a pony is). But then I thought, if I can't deal with this now, then I'll never be able to deal with it. So I thought of a plan an implemented it. I'm glad it seems like people agree it was a good plan.
@Dustbunny. He usually relaxes pretty quickly, and once he's seen something (and ideally smelled and even nibbled it) he's OK with it. I hope they leave those goats running around for at least a few days. Then they can all relax about it.
 

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I think you did really well! I agree, if they leave the goats out, hopefully Pony will get over it. Some people are of the "the horse has to respect YOU at all times!" mindset, and I get where they're coming from, but there is also a trust issue. You were there to help Pony get over his fear. Nothing bad happened. The goats didn't eat him. His human showed understanding and gave him time to refocus. Win-win!
 

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There are goats next to where I board my horse. You can hear them but not see them. Every single time she hears a goat she stops, stares, and then tries to wheel and run. I have been doing what you did basically by distracting her. I am hopeful that eventually those invisible goats will stop threatening to eat her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am hopeful that eventually those invisible goats will stop threatening to eat her.
It's the invisible ones that are the worst. Because you can't see them! Then they sneak up behind you and eat your tail...
 
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