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Does it ever get any better?!?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post

    --The worst type is the one who spooks when working hard and gets himself all cranked up. These spooks come from pure adrenalin and anything sudden can set it off. The only solution is to not get the horse that amped up--which can be a bummer when you are going for more impulsion and expression.

    There are those horses that spook in hand, in their stalls and in their paddocks. Some grow out of it, some do not. They may just have more highly tuned "flight instincts." While diet and exercise can clearly make a spooker worse if he gets too much of one and not enough of another, I don't think that it causes spooking. It is just genetic--like why some cats are all over you and some don't like to be touched.
    I have a friend with a PSG Arabian who is just a fruit bat. She calls it "getting lit" when the Arab show horses get all wonky, high, etc. I believe in many Arabian disciplines it is called "snort and blow" and it is a desired thing!

    I have know 'flight instinct' spookers, and your analogy of cats is a pretty good one. My favorite flight instinct spooker was very polite about it. "Pardon me Mam, but I just need to be on the other end of the ring right now." Whoosh..... Like a jet fighter taking off from an aircraft carrier!! Poor fellow never meant anything by it. He just just felt, often, that his life depended on being someplace else.
    "Friend" me !



    • #62
      Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
      Here are some cheap ideas.

      Blinders/blinkers. The kind they use for racing. I have never used them but that have made all the world of difference for a few acquaintances of mine over the years.
      Don't forget earplugs! They can be really helpful with auditory spookers. Hunter/jumpers use them a lot to avoid distracting sounds. They work best when held in with a fly bonnet.

      Last edited by Eclectic Horseman; Dec. 19, 2012, 02:56 PM. Reason: add link
      "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


      • #63
        Obviously a horse is predisposed to be what it is. Other posters have made valid recommendations regarding chiro, ulcers, feed, turn-out, etc. I have only personal experiences to share, and emphathy.

        My first horse was an 8yo arab cross. Big Spook. After years of lessons and local shows, he was still a hot mess, though well-broke hot mess, when I sold him at 12. Bought him back to be a school horse at age 16 and after a year in a lesson program, he mellowed out. A LOT. The last ten years of his life he was cantering around the X-rail divisions at the local shows with beginners and flapping reins, and he was a perfect saint.

        Hot horse #2: Got taken advantage of on my first Germany Horse Buying Experience. Grossly overpaid for an 8yo-Trakhaner cross mare. Spooky, stupid, no sense of self-preservation when she was having a 'moment'. Barn 1 was a quiet backyard place where she was on 10-18 hrs of turnout daily. Due to psycho BO, moved mare to barn 2. Lovely, high-end place, but limited turnout. Hot horsie only got 1-2 hrs a day of turnut. She want from hot and spooky to downright dangerous! Tried diet changes, lunging, additional pro rides, etc. but things did not improve. Eventually sold her (with great difficulty and at a huge loss).

        Current mare - oldenburg. I rode her as a green broke 5yo at the breeders. She was good, but had a big look and a quick spook. I found she was particularly sound-sensitive. I'd sing to her softly during our rides and when I identified something that might set her off, I increased my volume to keep her attention on me. That actually worked surprisingly well. Fast forward to a year ago. Bought the mare (who'd pretty much sat in a field, completely unworked, for the past 4 years) and put her back into a program. She started out a bit hot and spooky, and some days I despaired. But after 6 mos or so of a regular program (to include earplugs) this mare is dead quiet, happy hunter type. She trail rides, hacks along on the buckle in a happy mouth snaffle and spurs, and while she's still got a "look", in that she's easily distracted, the spook is virtually gone, and even if it occurs, it's a minor thing, quickly overcome. She's the consumate show horse now, and I get offers on her at a lot of shows.

        So I guess my bottom line is that It Depends. Some horses outgrow the hot/spookiness. Some outgrow it at 6 others at 8 others at 18. How long do you want to wait? And some never do, or won't in an environment that's feasible for you. I wish you the best of luck. If you're not scared, and the horse is your heart horse, by all means, stick with it. But if you find your riding and confidence deteriorating (for me, horse #2 above) then get out of that relationship before you get hurt, physically or psychologically. It took me *years* to recover from what that mare did to me....
        A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...



        • Original Poster

          ElementFarm - It's funny that you mention singing to your horse, I have done this, a lot. And I frequently ride to music on my phone (not ear phones of course), so that both of us have something else to focus on. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. It really just depends on the day and her moods.

          As far as type of spooker, she's one that spooks at noises and things that are "different" in the arena from day to day. She also finds mystery monsters, but it is typically an auditory spook.


          • #65
            Buy a pair of Pomms from SmartPak. Worth the 10 bucks to see if it helps. We use them at shows on my hunter and it has helped her not be distracted. She wasn't a big spooker, per se, but did get distracted with all the hub-bub at shows. The ear plugs helped her tune out some of the distractions.



            • #66
              Originally posted by inca View Post
              Buy a pair of Pomms from SmartPak. Worth the 10 bucks to see if it helps. We use them at shows on my hunter and it has helped her not be distracted. She wasn't a big spooker, per se, but did get distracted with all the hub-bub at shows. The ear plugs helped her tune out some of the distractions.

              Too bad it's illegal in dressage.
              If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


              • #67
                My only problem with ear plugs is it can make the horses crazy ear shy. Now thats probably because most people just jam them into the ear and don't spend the time to teach the horses to calmly accept them, like clippers. But still, ear shyness is very often the result of using the ear poms.
                "Friend" me !



                • #68
                  Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                  My only problem with ear plugs is it can make the horses crazy ear shy. Now thats probably because most people just jam them into the ear and don't spend the time to teach the horses to calmly accept them, like clippers. But still, ear shyness is very often the result of using the ear poms.
                  Huh. I thought ear shyness was the result of rude, short sighted veterinarians grabbing and twisting an ear to get the job done.

                  Seriously, I wouldn't attempt to use ear plugs on a horse unless the horse is thoroughly used to having his ears handled.
                  "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


                  • #69

                    When a horse is not just hot, but spooky, around a person that only means 1 thing. . . . the horse is not getting the right kind of leadership/training. Usually groundwork is the best place to start because it is safer for everyone involved. Whoever suggested John Lyons is right. But John Lyons program is not a clear to follow for someone new to the ideas as CAndersons. Watch some RFDTV, read some John Lyons, but best find a knowledgeable NH person who can help you TRAIN your horse to act nicely.

                    WORD OF WARNING: Just because someone claims to be a NH trainer doesn't mean they know what they are doing. And sitting in a lawn chair motioning my horse into the trailer is NOT my idea of NH.



                    • #70
                      Not illegal to try them at home and see if they help you have more productive schooling sessions!

                      I guess it depends on the horse and frequency of use. My mare is not the least bit ear shy due to the ear plugs. But, she was fine with them the first time we used them. We put them in one day in her stall so she could get used to them and it was no big deal. Another horse in the barn freaked about them so definitely does depend on the horse.