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Spooking at machinery that is turned on behind us...

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  • Spooking at machinery that is turned on behind us...

    So my rarely-spooky, calm and steady-eddy App has now done this 3 times so wondering what you all do in these situations. Scenario is: walking calmly along dirt road or farm. We come upon a guy or two on a tractor for example....mowing road perimeters (VDOT guys I think). They kindly STOP their engine while we pass, wave nicely. Horsie was fine with engine on to begin with. We pass, round a corner or get 20 yards past, and they TURN ON engine and my guy jumps out of his skin - spooks in place. Further down road, UPS truck comes up gravel road. He's seen it 100 times. He is FINE if it just continues along. But nice driver slows WAY down....quiets engine. Waits 20 yards and BAM - guns it/accelerates, horsie spooks in place again. This is now the 3rd incident in a few months. He doesn't bolt but he lurches forward as though he is afraid he'll get bitten in the butt - he feels like a ball of rubber bands that just got unwound under me - I had to grab mane both times but he is quite sensible and do feel he waits on me to tell him "Okay...WHAT do I do next??" He calms right down but tends to walk faster after these incidents.

    I know people mean well turning off engines, etc. but he would be fine with it if they would just continue on. Should I just wave them on? Move up to trot and keep going? It's nothing major but since it has happened a few times now in our neighborhood I thought I'd ask. The first time was a few months back - guys working on mailboxes...waited until we went by to turn on their CHAINSAW.

    I guess I could ask our barn mgr to help me practice these incidents. I think it's the "eery silence" when they shut the stuff off, and then the surprise when they turn it on.

    Later in our ride, 3 cars went down road - two toward us, one behind - we kept on walking and he was completely fine.

    I should also add that I haven't hacked him out this far in a few months - we had been doing a smaller loop near our barn but decided to take him on an old loop that goes for about an hour today...he was a tiny bit barn sour losing sight of the barn but only tried to turn back once - nothing major but it has been a while since we did this longer trail ride alone.

  • #2
    I've had the same types of things happen to me and my horse reacts in the exact same way. Although annoying, I won't complain when someone is trying to be considerate. I much prefer well meaning considerate people to the ones that wait until they pull along side me and then gun their engines or the ones who speed by within a hair's breadth of me with their rattling trailer and loud engines....or the ones that throw beer bottles out the window while yelling "yee haw!" as loud as they can or the ones that honk their horn as they approach from behind or the ones that....oh, heck you get the idea.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


    • #3
      well, if the horse didn't run away with you, I wouldn't worry about it. Its quiet and then something loud happens behind. Its instinct, they are flight animals, also prooves you horse isn't dead . the fact the horse doesn't spook when he sees where the noise is coming from is great.

      I'd say that if YOU dont spook (tighten or jump at the noise) then your horse will either not spook or calm down right away. My horses event and foxhunt, they are not spooky, but if something comes up from behind from out of the blue, they usually want to take a look, or might jump. but then if I'm still sitting like nothing happens, they drop their heads and go on before I even have a chance to say whoa.

      sounds like you have a nice horse though!
      I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


      • #4
        Yes, why do they have to (at absolute minimum) shift gears just when they're passing you? My theory is they're all deaf from driving that stuff and they don't realise how friggin loud the %$@#* things are.

        Or do they just not know what a corn chopper sounds like to a Saddlebred when it's going 48 mph?