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Ironic Spooking

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  • #41
    My gelding is whacked out by the neighbor (big) dogs who come to bark at him in the tall paneled longe ring at his recent barn. Tail aflag, honking/snorting, wild eyed and completely convinced they are predators and he is trapped. Moved 30 feet right to the large dressage riing and he ignored them nicely. HOWEVER:

    The longe pen was knee deep in fall leaves. Longed there (wth no dogs) eight times peacefully, when the dogs weren't around. 9th time? Absolutely confounded by the tracks he was makinig n the leaves. Horrified at the darker color of the overturned leaves, which seemed to follow his feet whereever he moved them, like a...like a....SNAKE!! Was all I could think.

    Sheesh.

    He does get looky at different color footing. If he goes iinto the arena and the footing is newly raked with concentric lines all iin it and no horse prints yet, he's all about "Ah! Don't let my feet touch this!!" whereas cross country he doesn't bliink at ANY footing - riight through streams, bridges, rocks, deep woods with no path.

    Please.
    My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods

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    • #42
      Who knows where the REAL monsters are?????

      My mare is extremely level headed..(.will be 5 soon)..... no worries with the cows, ducks, geese, chickens, lammas(?), pigs, sheep, owners dog attacking her (seriously--they (pugs would come out of nowhere and leap on to her tail ) and she'd just take it w/o reacting.....you get the picture....

      But, one day I was hand grazing her--thinking she'd be sooooo happy for the lovely grass.....BUT-she had never seen the neighbors dog... (nor had I) (but she had seen MANY dogs) and she turned into into psycho mare.....she side swiped me (bashed) and stepped on my foot to get away the the evil pooch...

      REALLY-- at that point I had her for 2ish years and never once did she "get into my space"...........so I was dumbfounded....and sore.... by her reaction....I started rethinking having a youngster...........



      Bottom line.....we never know where the monsters are.............EEEEEKKKKK!

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      • #43
        There was a group of men raising a large (think three bay) tent for a large picnic next to the outdoor arena. Yep, the wind rose and they lost control. Picture a large bright blue tent rolling thru the arena. My gelding kept on working with nary a glance.

        Next week we were working in the indoor and a small paper lunch bag floated past the door. MELT DOWN! Dumped me and continued snorting and flagging for ten minutes.

        ARRRRGH
        www.headsupspecialriders.com

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        • #44
          My old mare is totally road safe, born-again Amish. Semis whizzing by at 55mph, no problem; Harleys rumbling by - not an ear up. What does bother her? bicycles! Freaks at a 10 speed. That and the yellow lines in the middle of the road, but only after at least 3/4 of a mile. The first 3/4 of a mile they don't bother her. Not a fan of yellow flowers in people's front yards either. Goofy horse.
          Visit my Spoonflower shop

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          • #45
            Awesome thread!

            My OTTB (now retired) was the absolute best trail horse. Despite missing one eye, he had almost zero spook. Crossed water/bridges, barking loose dogs, traffic, construction equipment, baby strollers - nothing fazed him.The trails we frequented were shared by mountain bikers and he never had an issue with them either, no matter if they were coming at us, passing us, or coming up behind us.

            Until the day he saw a bike parked at a trail intersection, motionless, sans its human counterpart. Freaked. Him. Out. My super-sensible boy transformed into a snorting, prancing, fire breather. I would have been mad, but I was too busy laughing myself to tears!
            "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy. My reality is just different from yours."
            ~Lewis Carroll

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            • #46
              Mine was a bit spooky about geese until I rode her into a flock of them and she realized she could make them move. Then they became toys! (I wonder what she'd do with cows... seems like she might be a bit "cowy" but cows are big!)
              You have to have experiences to gain experience.

              1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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              • #47
                My OTTB rarely spooks. Dogs running around, lawnmowers, empty feed bag blowing between his legs, people on roofs cleaning gutters - all okay. The one thing that spooked him? Made him stop and blow like a monster? A blanket drying on a fence. That blew his mind.

                Now my old Mustang mare would spook at everything. Wind, rabbits, weeds leaning gently in her path, donkeys, donkeys braying, and oh god, quacking ducks.
                "No, not anything goes, I said no rules!"

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                • #48
                  My old boy Jester (RIP) had two guaranteed spook objects - stationary red objects and donkeys. (The latter were petrifying.)

                  A red object as long as it was moving - say a fire truck moving at speed with beacons on - was perfectly fine and not spook-worthy. The same red object stationary was a DRAGON out to get him.

                  My main riding mare doesnt spook at much - not after she has met them for the first time anyway and often not then. She is more of a noise transition spooker.

                  She certainly had a good look at the walking effluent spreader when she first saw it (sort of expected that) but didnt care about the tankers, stock trucks etc on our roads.
                  Still Working_on_it - one day I will get it!

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                  • #49
                    Not scary describes almost everything. Not worried about a flock of geese taking off and flying so close it felt like (not really) I could reach up and touch them. Not worried about helicopter landing near by. Not worried about walking into a pond (and then splashing around).

                    Scariest thing ever - the water from the sprinkler hitting him.

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                    • #50
                      I just assume my mare will spook at most everything. When she doesn't I am pleasantly surprised.
                      The worst is my neighbor's combine. We can hear it way before we see it coming and for some reason she can watch the field bordering her pasture be combined but having it come down the road is another story.

                      My daughters horse spooks at nothing except rustling corn in the field bordering her pasture. The worst was when I was lunging her and my son came out of the corn field. I thought she would have a coronary.

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                      • #51
                        Lets see, my gelding spooks at many things. People clapping, my trainer moving, cars, trees blowing, and so on. He loves to spook and I brush them off.

                        The one surprise time that this horse should have run in the opposite direction and I would not have blamed him was when we were on a conditioning ride. There is a bunch of brush land and we take the four wheeler tracks that go for miles.

                        We are almost done with the ride and headed home when out of no where FOUR HOGS run out of the bushes about ten feet away from us. They are followed by about TWELVE BABY HOGS and the back of the pack is TWO more 350+ pounders. My gelding and I sat affixed at this scene, not moving a muscle, which might have saved our lives.

                        When they finished running away from our direction, we promptly got the F*** out of there at a nice easy canter. Guess who went hog hunting the next day.
                        I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.

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                        • #52
                          My horse is pretty level headed and doesn't spook at much. It's probably largely due to the fact that I boarded for many years at a barn whose outdoor arena bordered a major highway. Semis, motorcycles, firetrucks, police cars, ambulances, vehicles with loud flapping tarps, idiots laying on their horns - he saw it all. There was also a small airport down the street that put on an air show every summer. Planes overhead didn't bother him in the least.

                          My current barn has train tracks running alongside part of the property. Now I'll admit, I don't generally try to ride next to the train tracks when the freight train is coming, but I suspect he wouldn't care much.

                          Last summer me and a couple other people rode down the road (about a 30 minute ride, walking) to a new nature preserve with riding paths. The road is pretty quiet, and has a very wide grass shoulder, but at one point we could hear a very loud truck coming up behind us. We all moved as far into the grass as we could, but the jerk driver neither slowed down nor moved over. It was loud and my horse didn't so much as flick an ear. Good boy.

                          He's also good about various odd things like construction equipment, runaway plastic bags that aim for his head (I wouldn't have blamed him for spooking at that!), dogs and children running around screaming, strollers, bicycles, balloons, etc.

                          I can only think of one time that he spooked bad, where he had an "OMFG I'm gonna die" moment. What was the horse eating monster? A round bale. A freaking round bale sitting in the hay field. I never knew he could spin so fast!

                          The only other time he has potential to spook is walking past the petting zoo animals. My barn does mobile petting zoos and pony parties, so there are goats, sheep, llamas, ducks, etc on the farm. He gives the goats, sheep and llamas a very suspicious look if we walk by them, but hasn't had a meltdown over them yet.

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                          • #53
                            Originally posted by quietann View Post
                            Mine was a bit spooky about geese until I rode her into a flock of them and she realized she could make them move. Then they became toys! (I wonder what she'd do with cows... seems like she might be a bit "cowy" but cows are big!)
                            This fall a flock of geese landed in my mare's pasture - she proceed to herd them around the field! I was at work but the girls at the barn were in hysterics about that. Wished they had gotten pictures.

                            Seems like we all try to do our best and desensitize our beasts to what ever they might see in their travels. And often the smart ones are the ones that spook at the odd things. I do see that many of the ironically spooky things people are mentioning are the items that are 'out of place': a blanket on a fence ('what that thing belongs on a horse, not a fence!'), a bike on the side of the trail ('did a scary monster eat the human that is supposed to ride it??'), water from a sprinkler ('no! water comes from the sky, some metal twisty thing!'), a freshly harrowed ring (' but the BO never drags the ring - is hell freezing over?').

                            My mare happily goes to some big shows around here - 10 rings of pure excitement for most - tents, dogs, golf carts, loose horses, umbrellas, food vendors, water trucks you name it. What bothered her one day? We walked to the ring, going past a sign that notes the way to each ring. Going back to the stall, the sign had fallen over. You would have thought the grand canyon had opened up under her feet. Someone walked up to see if I was okay. Had to explain the tears were tears of laughter.....
                            “You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” - Wayne Gretsky

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                            • #54
                              My lovely girl is afraid of her own reflection.

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                These are great! My mare is 23 now and I can't think of anything she's really spooked at since she was about 5. When I was first staring her, she wasn't a fan of a newly sawed off log, crossing the solid white line on a newly paved road, or the ever scary and deadly stealth bicycles approaching from behind.

                                Her response at this point to offensive things is to get stiff legged, look, then go towards the object, so I'm not sure you can call it a spook to begin with.

                                For example, she hates sheep. When I moved her to a pasture that shared a fenceline with sheep, she would literally charge the fence to chase the sheep away from "her herd". It was HILARIOUS to watch her get all snorty, stare them down, then with tail flagging, charge the fence. Scared the crap out of the sheep too.

                                Things that don't seem to bother her at all:
                                -firecrackers
                                -guns
                                -T 37's and T-38's when we lived near base
                                -wildlife--including those that get underfoot like rabbits, turkeys, etc.
                                -trains
                                -traffic
                                -balloons including hot air balloons though my dog hates the latter
                                -flags
                                -mailboxes (admit it, some horses hate them!)
                                -things flapping in the wind
                                -jumpy hyper children running around
                                -large farm equipment (some of the stuff like the big sprayers scare ME!)
                                -bikes and strollers (silent but potentially deadly, no?)

                                She just doesn't seem to mind much anymore. Maybe because she's seen it all. Doesn't hurt that she grew up with a teenaged girl who had no fear and rode a lot. Poor girl. (it was me, so I can say that)
                                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Trail riding this weekend and my horse went thru mud, crossed bridges and encountered all kinds of wildlife....but the bear was his undoing. I have to admit I was quite happy to get out of there at warp speed as well

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    My horse is deathly afraid of - the closed door in the indoor arena. Seriously. It is al;ways there, it is always closed. I can calm him down, make him touch it, make him stand next to it, and finally get on with our ride.

                                    Next time it freaks him out all over again.
                                    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

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                                    • #58
                                      Originally posted by quarterhorse4me View Post
                                      Trail riding this weekend and my horse went thru mud, crossed bridges and encountered all kinds of wildlife....but the bear was his undoing. I have to admit I was quite happy to get out of there at warp speed as well
                                      I really can't blame them for being afraid of BEARS. Sheesh. (Bears have been spotted within 10-15 miles of the barn and we all just know that at some point, there will be one in the state forest next to the barn... ugh.)

                                      Mine used to be weird about bicycles. As long as they were being ridden, she'd only get a bit looky. But a person *pushing* a bicycle, that was frightening!
                                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by quietann View Post
                                        Mine was a bit spooky about geese until I rode her into a flock of them and she realized she could make them move. Then they became toys! (I wonder what she'd do with cows... seems like she might be a bit "cowy" but cows are big!)
                                        I did that with my horse--we'd ride to our lesson and had to go past a flock of geese in a pond; he was a little snorty at first and then we started playing the "herd them all into the pond game" and he loved it. But he is a QH and I have used him to help move calves for team ropers...
                                        "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                        Graphite/Pastel Portraits

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                                        • #60
                                          Not scary:
                                          traffic including semis, motorcycles, cars with no mufflers
                                          cattle, sheep, chickens
                                          fireworks
                                          firearms
                                          tractors and farm equipment
                                          chain saws and other logging equipment

                                          Terrifying:
                                          pigs especially if they were covered in mud.

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