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Horse Problem Questions & Answers

Spooking


" I really want to keep this horse, but I can't get hurt..."

Hi Frank,

Love your web site, a lot of good information. I have a problem with a coming 12 year old TB/annex quarter horse gelding. He comes from a long line of racing stock - Easy Jet, Jet Deck, Lena's Bar. He was never raced but used as a trail horse. I've worked with him a year now, and he is explosive when he spooks. He doesn't just jump back, he wants to spin, run sideways and crouch down jumping at the same time. I took him on a cattle drive, just to get some riding in. I've rode for years, but always on a calm horse. We were staying back from the rest of the 'real cowboys' when a fighting bull jumped up in front of us. Another man was trying to head the bull off while riding a grey horse. Instantly, my horse bolted backwards, spinning, jumping and moving so fast I could not get him under control. When I 'could' see his head he was SO terrified, as was I.

I'm not sure now if the bull scared him or the grey horse (he has ran around the pasture when a grey horse was in the next pasture before). I tried to calm him down but finally he stood still long enough for me to step off and I was right in front of the bull. My horse ran in front of me, then jerked the reins out of my hands and loped off, but ran a little ways, and came right back to me. I was really shaken up! I then let one of the 'real cowboys' work cows on him the rest of the morning. I am not strong enough to handle him when he explodes like that, plus he could have really hurt me.

The next day I saddled up at my house and worked him in the round pen and pasture, he was around other cows and was ok. He always seems to be looking for something to spook at. If I ride him off from my house, I'm really uneasy while watching him. He is a big chicken -1200 lbs, 16 hands tall. I am considering selling him, but I truly love this horse. I have had and loved horses since I was 5 years old. Even last night in the round pen, with reins laying on his neck, he followed me all over the pen just like a puppy. When I call him, he comes straight to me and puts his head in the halter, like 'what do you want my human'. Any suggestions? I really want to keep this horse, but I can't get hurt. We will not be working cows like that again, but I do ride in that pasture around cows. Or maybe it was the grey 'ghost of a horse" Any help would be appreciated.

Cyndi C.
Simms, TX

 

Dear Cyndi:

I can make a couple of suggestions. Spooking is quite common and very dangerous, hence the reason for making my 'Spooking & Shying' video. There are actually a lot of things you can do to boost your horse's confidence and exposure to new spooky things. It also has a lot to do with your own level of confidence and riding ability. Your horse will look to you for help when afraid, so you have to transfer confidence to him as well as change his mind and pull his fear away from the object. My 'spooking' video is about building confidence on the ground first and deliberately finding things that he fears and helping him through these issues and situations until he gets solid on the ground. The cattle situation is the same. Exposure and support on the ground first, then in the saddle. If he can live exposed to cattle on a regular basis, he'll get over it and may even begin to like pushing them around as many horses do.

Order my 'Getting Started Package,' along with the 'Spooking' video. These two products should give you the information and tools to be effective and hopefully succeed. You must completely understand the Three T's - Theory, Technique and Timing. Applying these concepts have helped thousands of riders and their horses, so this is not a new situation by any means.

Good luck and Safe Riding,

Frank Bell

 

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