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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2009

    Default Ideas for a very worried horse ?

    About 2 months ago I was riding in the WMA near my barn and we came across a hunter (not in huntin season) who was shooting targets in the woods. I typically put large, loud bells on my horse if its hunting season but since it wasn't I didn't have them on her this time out. I saw him before he saw me, not 20 yards away, and just as I was asking him not to shoot, he did. My mare has never been very happy about the shooting and she wigged out and bolted. I got her stopped halfway across the soybean field but she was so upset about it that she was trembling all over. He saw me at this point and apologized for shooting - he honestly didn't see me.

    Every Saturday through the end of the year, the state releases farmed quail and pheasant for the hunters. They usually only do this 2 or 3 times during season but for some reason this year it's every Saturday (they put the release dates on the website so everyone knows). This area is only about 50 acres, and there will easily be 50 or 60 cars along the road and in the parking area. So it's nuts and someone gets accidentally shot almost every year. This year seems to be worse than ever because of the more frequent bird drops. (If you ask me, that's about as sporting as someone throwing a frozen turkey across the parking lot and having people shoot it). I've called the police 2x so far this year because of hunters shooting in the safety zones, which you can easily see from the road. And I've called the state asking for more rangers to patrol the area to keep everyone out of the safety zones. I realize that the hunters license fees help keep up this property, and they have as much right to hunt there as I have to ride. But please respect the safety zones, people live right across the street !

    I will not ride out there if there is more than 2 cars in the parking lot, but my farm is directly across the street so I can't avoid the noise.

    So my problem is that my horse is seriously freaked out on Saturdays with all the shooting. It's never been this bad over there, and she's more freaked out than normal because of running into that hunter 2 months ago that discharged his weapon so close.

    I called the vet but she's out of town (another vet is on call for emergencies) - will connect with her on Monday. I was thinking of giving my mare some happy drugs on Saturdays to help calm her down. I'm using ear plugs and she's in her stall Saturdays, but neither seems to help much. Usually by mid-January everything calms down over there. I could move her to another farm but I think that will upset her a lot worse than what goes on over there 1 day a week. So I really just want to try and get her through the next few Saturdays.

    Any other suggestions ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2003


    Time and exposure, and make sure that you're not reacting to the stimulus. We have hunters all around us and my guys generally look up at the first shot, then go back to eating their hay.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2009


    I agree that she will probably get better with time, but in the meantime I'm trying to deal with a horse that is trembling and won't eat while the guns are going off.

    It will only be this bad for a few more weeks = it's not the occasional gunshot here and there, but a pretty steady birage of gunfire, pretty close to the farm. Sounds like 10 hunters are shooting at the same bird at the same time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
    down south


    Time is really the best thing but also try some ear plugs on Saturday's to muffle the noise possibly and see I'df that helps
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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