Fear of a Spooking Horse

Horse spooks spooking
from Cherry Hill

How To Think
Like A Horse
Becoming An Effective Rider
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How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill
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Horse Health Care by Cherry Hill
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Fear of Spooking

    2006 Cherry Hill      www.horsekeeping.com

Dear Cherry,

    What is your advice on getting over fear,  I ride my 4 yr. old that I ride on trial, around other horses, covered wagons and such he does great except first thing in the mornings, I have my husband pony him because "Taz my horse" gets a little excited. and after he has calmed down a little-- he does not really spoke much and he does really good for me.  But I do know that I have raised him since he was 2 and he has only bucked with me once that is when I was being ponied by my husband and his horse spooked at a Surrey or little one horse cart,  I think Taz did not know what to do so he just threw a little fit (great news- I didn't get thrown and I pulled him out of it) the problem is I don't know how or when I did it.  My problem is that at home I haven't really ridden him out of the round pen.  My security I guess-- ANY HELP for a 42 year young lady who loves her horse and would not get rid of him for NO amount of money he is my best friend, and my child "baby". So the answer is my unsureness of myself I think.   Cathy

Dear Cathy, 

    The best way to overcome fear is to have a very solid knowledge and skills in the "basics".  The basics are the "how-to" of handling horses from the ground and riding.  It includes everything from how to tie, how to use your aids, how various tack is fitted and used, how horses see, why they flee when they perceive danger, how to stop a runaway, and so on.  The more experience you have and the more skills you develop, the more secure you (and your horse!) will be.  The more you have learned, have experienced, and know how to do, the more confident you will be, even in the face of real danger.

    One way to get this mental and physical security is to just ride all day every day!  However, most people, if they tried to learn that way, would make lots of mistakes which could result in injury or the development of bad habits - and here I am talking about both horses and people.

    That's why I encourage everyone to take formal riding lessons of some kind where you can learn the techniques of Becoming an Effective Rider (which also happens to be the title of one of the books I have written!).  Working with a qualified instructor on a regular basis will help you identify areas that need work and will give you specific goals so that you can gradually become a better and more confident rider.  You can start your search for an instructor by visiting the website of the American Riding Instructor's Association at http://www.riding-instructor.com/ to see if an ARIA instructor lives near you or can recommend someone near you.  Ideally, you could trailer your horse to your lessons so you both could learn together.  If that is not an option, you will still learn many valuable things taking lessons on a school horse.

    You definitely need to ride your horse out of the round pen at home.  Even if you just mosey around your property, you are accomplishing mini-goals and building a rapport with your horse as you encounter things around your farm.  Then when you are ready to graduate even further, be sure that you partner up with a very calm, experienced horse to go along with you.  It sounds like your husband's horse might not be the best role model for your horse  - young horses are very impressionable and will "model" after other horses. 

       Cherry Hill

  2004 Cherry Hill



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