It’s happened to every rider hasn’t it? A nice quiet ride and then suddenly from nowhere, monsters appear to us horses and hang on, here comes the spook. It’s me again, “Of Horse” audience, Leggs (Pony Blogger). You may recall my other posts on Sarcoids and Fire Safety. Today I am blogging about spooking since I am such an expert at this very thing. Let's first get one thing straight, horses are horses, and we all spook.
I will admit some of us more than others and that would be me. There are many levels and reasons why horses spook. Fear, insecurity, noises, and objects are some of the stimuli. I believe that because we run for our lives in the wild our senses are very aware to what is happening around us; after all, our survival depended on it. So I am going to give advice to all you riders out there, horses need to feel trust in you for starters.
We need confidence in ourselves and in you as our leader to get us through the rough moments. Anger cannot and should not play a role in any efforts to so call de-spook us. Instead, ride through it. Sometimes it is best to ignore us spooking and ride on. If we are bucking and leaping (which I admit as a four year old I sometimes do) turn us in circles and keep us forward (hint we can’t buck so well moving forward). The more confident our rider is the more confidence we gain in ourselves.
Also, prepare us for things. Show us everything. Desensitize us to all sorts of objects and situations. Arrive at horse shows early and expose us to everything there or at any different location. Attend many schooling shows, ride outside of the ring, trail ride, attend clinics, and expose us to everything you can. Keep us focused on the task at hand and you as riders, the more curious we get the more likely an affliction will occur.
Young horses like myself require time spent in the saddle! Miles, miles, miles are what we need. Change our routine. Give us something to put our attention into like a trail ride, obstacles, jumping, barrels, cones, dressage, cross country, swimming in the river, etc. Help us spend our energy in working with you not against you. And being versatile is one of the greatest gifts you can give us. Never think or believe we can’t do something; think and believe we can. Ride on everyone and teach us to enjoy what we do!!!
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