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Car phobia

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  • Car phobia

    I purchased a young filly a while back, and as part of our weekly regime I thought it would be nice to take her for walks up the road (hand walking at first)...we live on a quiet country road, with safe grassy verges

    Anyway, all was good, didnt bat an eyelid at cows, sheep, alpacas, flapping bags caught in fences, anything

    Until a car approached us head on, she stopped, propped and then ran backwards to the end of the lead

    I spoke to her quietly while the car passed, and we went on our way

    Everytime a car goes past she completely loses it...moreso if the approach us front on, rather than from behind her.

    Hence I kept at it a while, and then she injured herself so I havent been back out, and certainly wouldnt go out under saddle until such behaviour was under control

    Is it just a matter of keeping at it to desensitise her?

    She is find with the feed bike to speed past her as I feed out...but its just cars


  • #2
    Take her somewhere and board her for a month where she is next to a road. Once she sees the other horses not care, she won't either. Especially great to expose them to trucks, trucks pulling trailers, bikes pulling Burleys, and the most dreaded of all traffic....the Harley......

    It will be so worth it. A car slowing down to pass you on a quiet country road is nothing compared to what she will have to possibly endure!


    • #3
      Find a field next to a busy road and turn her out there.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks very much you guys

        She is typically such a "dull" filly, that it really surprises me that she acts like this

        Ill find the busiest road/place I can for get (securely of course) and try that

        Thanks again


        • #5
          echo thomas 1
          matey my horses boundary fence line is on the motorway i can tell you right now
          it works within a day or so lol
          neddies dont have a choice i have lorries that go up and down on lane side
          and i mean huge lorries and stuff and scaffolding things and machinery then on the other side its a motorway- and i am 5miles from an major airport lol
          so have things that come very low at times or if an accident actually land in the field
          neddies just eat and munch
          mine are 99% traffic proof could say they 100 % but i dont trust horses 100% as they have a brain lol and so do I when it works


          • #6
            Things coming at a horse are scary.

            Things going away from a horse stimulate curiosity, and a desire to follow.


            Find a good open place and a friend driving a car and willing to help you out. At first, lead the horse behind the car as it slowly moves forward. You could try this at some point having the car back up away from the horse with the horse following (in case the horse recognizes the difference between the ends of a car!) Then once all that is looking calm & the curiosity is nicely brewing, have the car stay parked and bring the horse to it. Then try having the car come slowly toward the horse while the horse stays standing. And so on -- you see how this works? Take your time, no deadlines; or else break it down into small components each of which you are confident you will be able to achieve with success, then take it up again on another day after a brief reprise of what went before, to make sure that has all stayed in place. Then try it with different types of vehicles.


            • Original Poster

              Thats a fabulous idea also JeanM, thank you


              • #8
                Stand with your horse out near the road, say in your driveway. Fill your pockets with treats, and every time a car goes by, give her a treat. Start as far back as you think she will be comfortable. Gradually work your way closer to the road, but keep her calm. When you can stand pretty close to the road with her being calm, then take your show on the road and continue to give the treats when a car goes by. When she is OK most of the time with the cars, start to phase out the treats. Perhaps occasionally give her a treat just to reinforce the behavior. You need her thinking cars are a good thing.


                • #9
                  Do all of the above but before you start riding her on the road, pony her from another horse (who is very traffic proof) and then ride her beside the other horse on a lead, then without a lead and so on.

                  I have no real idea how to traffic proof a horse that is already worried because I do this right at the beginning and mine all turn out really well. I have a little pony that I am driving. He is 5 years and I started him under saddle and in harness in Jan / Feb. The first time he went on the road, I took he came on the lead off a very steady pony who doesn't care about anything on the road. Now the little fellow doesn't care either.