I just recently adopted an OTTB, he's sweet, a great trail horse, and I love him. But about 2 weeks before I got him, he was nipped on the nose by a dog, and now is terrified of them! I can bring my dogs up to him and he snorts a little but isnt phased. But if a dog is barking or runs up to us on the trail, he does a roll back and bolts! Nothing to bad, he never runs more than a few strides, but how can I desensitize him to this? Dogs are going to be a part of trail riding, and he needs to get used to it and trust me as the rider around them. Its the only issue we have.
He's never been attacked that I know of. Dogs barking around him dont bother him to much, he doesnt get a little tense at first. But the trails I ride sometimes go behind peoples properties and their dogs will be running up to us at the fence barking and such and he panics. At first he'll tense up and freeze, then spins and runs a stride or two before I can slow him down. Then we can walk past them, but he has his head tipped toward them and hurries past.
You've had this horse all of two weeks? What you describe sounds like a horse that proabably isn't too keen on dogs in the first place and is still settling in. Give him some time and get him to trust you overall. Then work on the dog thing.
__________________________ "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
the best day in ten years,
you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."
Yes, i've had him for about 2 weeks. He's a sweetheart and rarely spooks. He's young, but a been there done that kind of horse since he was hauled and such extensively in his first 3 years of life. I've been taking my dogs up to the barn every time I go and he worries about them less and less, but he still spooks at the dogs on the trail running up at us. Small improvements have been made, he doesnt bolt really now. He spins around and snorts some, and once he gets himself together, we can prance by them lol.