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Do nutty horses ever get past it...and if so, how?

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  • Do nutty horses ever get past it...and if so, how?

    Has anyone had a young horse that comes unglued at very little things get better?

    Not thinking training issues really, but rather horses that seem to have high anxiety in general (with or without people involved), and that do things that show a lack of self preservation. A horse that really hasn't had anything traumatic happen to it (so no history of abuse or chaos).
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

  • #2
    I don't know as I never kept a young horse till the end of time. However, I can say these horses have been high maintenance for me and at my age, I don't want to deal with them.

    But, a worrier, seems like would pretty much always be a worrier, just like people. I think you can mitigate the 'unglueing' a bit but if it's ingrained...??
    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

    Comment


    • #3
      I have one. Got hhim at three and a half, he's now 7. He's better now than he was at first but it took a LOT of patience and time and there are still some things that he can't deal with. See my post "Oh, my poor Boy." He landed in the right place with me, a lot of people would not want to deal with these issues but I love him and he has a home foreverr with me.
      What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

      Comment


      • #4
        Embrace the spook. Seriously.

        Re-frame it as a sign of your horse's intelligence and fitness for survival in the wild. A placid horse will get eaten by a predator way before the reactive flighty horse will.

        An alert, intelligent horse will notice that Something Has Changed in their usual environment (e.g. the plastic lawn chair was moved three feet to the right).

        I've come to believe that my 8-year-old Arabian gelding enjoys a good spook the way some people enjoy bungee jumping or riding roller coasters.

        Vee is the most frighteningly intelligent horse that I've ever met. He gets bored very rapidly, likes testing his limits, and never ever gets tired. Boredom tends to be the trigger for his more enthusiastic spooks (snort-stop-whirl-run). Vee is the right horse for me, but he could become a "problem horse" very quickly for someone who doesn't "get" him.

        We spend a lot of time working on "spooking in place" with the clicker. Its amazing how quickly he can overcome his fear of the Scary Thing once he knows he can "make" me click by standing still and/or touching the Scary Thing with his nose. *rolls eyes*

        Hang in there. You are not alone. The threads on the endurance forum on COTH discuss this issue fairly frequently.

        Best Regards,
        Amber
        PA Hi-Ly Visible [PA Hi-Noon (by Magnum Psyche) x Takara Padrona (by *Padron)]

        Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

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        • #5
          Usually only with a drastic change of scenery. As in, stabled horse gets moved to where he can live out, outside horse gets taken to a place where he's stabled, all external parameters of living and work environment, including feeding, totally altered.

          If he's not working out in your situation, doesn't mean he won't work out elsewhere. I had a big WB who absolutely, positively, let me know his brain couldn't handle XC work--even for a hack!
          However, he was happy as a clam with a predictable routine in a dressage ring, and I sold him as a dressage horse. He wound up having a very long and happy life instead of driving me nuts.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by californianinkansas View Post
            We spend a lot of time working on "spooking in place" with the clicker. Its amazing how quickly he can overcome his fear of the Scary Thing once he knows he can "make" me click by standing still and/or touching the Scary Thing with his nose. *rolls eyes*
            This has worked for my horse as well. My trainer tells me we're never going to make him not spook, but we can hopefully ingrain a new habit so that his spooks are more manageable for his rider. So far, so good. In two years he's progressed from snorting and spinning to something that feels more like a giant full-body sneeze.
            I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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            • #7
              You can work with them, hoping a little age and exposure to new stuff will help. Some just have their mindset bred in, not going to change much. Though the spook will be "lesser" in reaction, they continue to be "wary" as they go thru life.

              Others just appear to be "born broke" with very little EVER making them open their eyes real wide, and I do think it is genetic. I knew such a mare, every one of her foals was like her, pretty fearless, born broke to all kinds of stimuli. I got one of her fillies, raised it and enjoyed her for years. I only can think of two times the filly gently moved sideways, looking at something hard. Never spooked enough to make you grab things.

              I want an intelligent horse, who will let me show them new things and work into accepting stuff instead of running the other way each time. I do want a horse who LIKES HIMSELF, has a sense of self-preservation so he won't kill the both of us. I don't mind them "looky", but not jumping out of his skin. One who would hurt himself AND ME in reaction to a new thing, probably isn't going to live here very long. Those kind DO hurt themselves often. No sense of self-preservation is the way Nature culls the stupid ones, doesn't matter about his beauty if he can't live long enough to be useful. Mine need to be both useful and functional in their beauty. No cute, baby-faced ones, but they ARE ENJOYABLE to use with their good brains, sound bodies.

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              • #8
                Yes, they can. I have a mare that I bred and raised that was borderline dangerous as a youngster. She is the MOST WONDERFUL horse now. Still a bit spooky in new places but very manageable. I can not ride this horse for a month or more and just hop on and she is exactly like she was last time I rode her. Super easy to train and very safe under saddle. I ignore the spooking at new places and go about our business. If I don't react, pretty soon she is fine. She lacks self-confidence and needs to get confidence from me. I LOVE this horse and just laugh at her quirkiness.

                I took my time under saddle. Had someone start her who was VERY good and then I took my time after that. No timetable, no pressure of getting ready to show, etc. I made sure NOT to overface this horse and I built a very strong bond with her. Her 3 and 4 year old years were not a lot of fun but I would do it all again knowing what I have ended up with.

                Consistent handling is the key. And of course not every horse will grow up and find that their brain CAN work even under stress. But, mine did.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                  I want an intelligent horse, who will let me show them new things and work into accepting stuff instead of running the other way each time. I do want a horse who LIKES HIMSELF, has a sense of self-preservation so he won't kill the both of us. I don't mind them "looky", but not jumping out of his skin. One who would hurt himself AND ME in reaction to a new thing, probably isn't going to live here very long. Those kind DO hurt themselves often. No sense of self-preservation is the way Nature culls the stupid ones, doesn't matter about his beauty if he can't live long enough to be useful. Mine need to be both useful and functional in their beauty. No cute, baby-faced ones, but they ARE ENJOYABLE to use with their good brains, sound bodies.
                  This is my Sammy. He's a spook-in-placer and then has a good look, then usually advances on whatever it is. That might not be a good idea facing down a bear but I know he won't spook and go over the cliff with me, should this situ ever happen.

                  I like a horse to be aware and have had looky ones, but, I'm just not into that anymore, they are for someone else.
                  GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    I wrote "Nutty" not "spooky"

                    Nutty as in horse runs through a fence because one of its field mates is turned out with a different blanket

                    Nutty as in horse throws itself against its stall wall because its friend walked by.

                    Nutty as in horse has a complete anxiety attack and locks up/rears just because something changed in the arena (jump turned into trot poles).

                    Nutty. not spooky.
                    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No, I've never had a truly nutty loopy horse come completely out of it. I've worked with a couple now...about three...and even over 2 years of trying, I never got one to stop bolting unpredictably (from the ground) at unpredictable invisible triggers. I gave him away.

                      I had another one in training for six months...went slow, built confidence, desensitized him over and over...and for example one day you could rub a saddle pad all over him, put in on his back and he was fine. The next day you set it on his back...the same exact pad..and he'd flip out...like run into the round pen walls flip out...a major reaction...like he'd never seen a saddle pad and it was a mountain lion on his back. I managed after six months to get on his back and my second ride with a header, he dropped, spun, got away from my header and tried to climb out of the round pen. I somehow stayed on but it was my last ride. I called his owner and told him I was done.

                      So, yes, I do think there are some horses that simply can't get over their boogers and they will hurt someone eventually.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow. This is a fascinating thread.
                        I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My horse could be pinned as nutty and spooky but she just turned 12 and wow she finally seems to have mellowed, no she is not super perfect but very different than a few years ago. NO bucks, no spooks and no completely dumb "nutty" moves, okay not none but much less. So yes it can happen

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            btw horse has flipped backwards out of a trailer, jumped over my head while I lead her, completely flipped out when her pasture mate was taken out, flipped out when she realized I had let her "free" after a hose off, gone into bucking fits because I asked her to turn the way she didn't want to go. She has also pulled back while tied up and fell back on her hind end many times, (always have her in breakaway)
                            She is always in the breakaway since she freaked, pulled crosstie pole out of ground and then dragged it around for a while as it banged against her. She has been a very "special" horse LOL Yet now she is pretty darn calm and I love her

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
                              This has worked for my horse as well. My trainer tells me we're never going to make him not spook, but we can hopefully ingrain a new habit so that his spooks are more manageable for his rider. So far, so good. In two years he's progressed from snorting and spinning to something that feels more like a giant full-body sneeze.
                              I have a friend with a BIG SPOOKER horse that I ride(rode). We did ground work, but I still don't trust him. Give me my reactive, looky Arabians who spook in place rather than placid Paint with giant sideways leap with no warning.

                              I don't understand how this clicker trains works...esp in this situation.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by CHT View Post
                                I wrote "Nutty" not "spooky"

                                Nutty as in horse runs through a fence because one of its field mates is turned out with a different blanket

                                Nutty as in horse throws itself against its stall wall because its friend walked by.

                                Nutty as in horse has a complete anxiety attack and locks up/rears just because something changed in the arena (jump turned into trot poles).

                                Nutty. not spooky.
                                This is a totally under exposed horse...did it get raised in a dark stall? I would change his feed first and let it be a horse turned out with a real quiet leader type horse so yours doesn't need to feel that everything is out to get him. I feel for you!! The other thing is to desensitize properly...and this may take a trainer. The other thing is look in the mirror...particularly if you raised this horse...they are the mirror of ourselves. I learned that I was type A and therefore my horse jigged!!! when I forced myself to be calm, relaxed my body and hold on the horse...miracle of miracles...he walked!!!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I'd probably get him tested for Lyme disease since that can make them more reactive, treat for a month for ulcers with Gastroguard, get vision checked, put on 24/7 turnout with a quiet/nonspooky gelding, and work 6 days a week. Include with work, desensitizing using groundwork. Do not try and sack out. It would probably make him even more fearful.

                                  Do things to build his confidence. Like walking through poles with a brightly colored bucket with treats in it at the other side, longing over small flowerboxes, etc. If you have a nonspooky horse that you can ride with or train with, it'll give him some confidence at first. You can't train a horse that is truly in a fearful state of mind, so he needs to be gradually exposed.

                                  If you have a horse you can pony him off of, he may benefit from that, if it can be done safely in an enclosed area until he learns how to pony.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Well, maybe look at the magnesium levels for nutty. Other than that, I don't deal with them. Not equipped any more for it.
                                    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I have a friend who has one. I absolutely respect her as a mature and patient horse trainer. She's had dozens of horses go through her training, never loses her temper, is a good and effective rider and I cannot fault her. I'm sure his feed has been altered ten times over.

                                      She's had this horse since purchased in Germany as, say, about a 4 y.o. He must be 10 or so now. He's never learned to give, never learned not to act up, still spooks, will not tie, leans into you instead of away when asked, and so on. If he is surprized, he freaks, and then, at the end of a ride, when he's warmed up, he can be as calm and sensible as one can imagine....finally...
                                      until the next time. I've seen him give double barrelled bucks, for no apparent reason...he seems autistic, or something. He is ridden regularly and consistently, has a varied life of work, jumping, trails, shows, clinics, events, etc.

                                      He might be gorgeous, fancy over a fence, but he seems incorrigible.
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                                        I'd probably get him tested for Lyme disease since that can make them more reactive, treat for a month for ulcers with Gastroguard, get vision checked, put on 24/7 turnout with a quiet/nonspooky gelding, and work 6 days a week. Include with work, desensitizing using groundwork. Do not try and sack out. It would probably make him even more fearful.

                                        Do things to build his confidence. Like walking through poles with a brightly colored bucket with treats in it at the other side, longing over small flowerboxes, etc. If you have a nonspooky horse that you can ride with or train with, it'll give him some confidence at first. You can't train a horse that is truly in a fearful state of mind, so he needs to be gradually exposed.

                                        If you have a horse you can pony him off of, he may benefit from that, if it can be done safely in an enclosed area until he learns how to pony.
                                        This.
                                        PA Hi-Ly Visible [PA Hi-Noon (by Magnum Psyche) x Takara Padrona (by *Padron)]

                                        Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

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