Horse & Rider Weekly #5: Horses that spook on outrides

If you frequently go on outrides or trail rides, this is an important skill to have handy. Anytime in your riding life, you’re bound to bump into a horse that’ll spook and buck and rear the moment you go out on an outride. Vanja, for example, spooks of something, I don’t know what, but something at the gate of the yard. He just raises his head up and nearly rears and turns around. You gotta steer him around again for at least 3 times before he goes out. The only exception was on an outride on 26 Apr, probably due there were horses all around him. Front, back, probably even on the side because when we were going through the gate all lines were disassembled. Then after we went out everybody assembled the lines again. So during that outride I didn’t deal with Vanja being his usual self; he was quite calm. He even stood at the mounting block, which indeed, is a very big accomplishment with Vanja. Then, he didn’t spook at the gate. Neither did he do anything funny on the outride. So I have no experiences from that outride although that was the most fun outride I’ve ever been on. So, instead, I’ll share with you my experiences on an outride which had only me and my sister, but Vanja was a complete jerk.

  1. Relax
    Most important factor in outrides. In fact in everything related to horse riding, you need to stay relaxed. And that’s one of the things I lack. Never tense up, because your horse is already nervous. On top of that you’re tensing up and stressing, so that makes the horse more nervous and he’ll be a complete jerk.
  2. Talk to your horse
    Comfort your horse. Tell him/her that there’s nothing to be afraid of. You might think it’s pretty lame but your horse actually understands your tone. Trust me, it really helps.
  3. Keep away from the road
    Vanja hates cars. Especially around Linbro Park, because the speed limit is something around 40-60 kmph, but the drivers there are swishing past at around 100-120 kmph. And especially if you have a bakkie (Afrikaans for what you American folks call pick-ups) that is speeding past, it definitely makes quite a bit of noise. On top of that, it can really spook a horse if this giant monster comes screeching past. So make sure you’re at a distance from the road, else your horse can spook and you can fall on the road, which indeed is very dangerous. Also, keeping away from the road gives your horse a little comfort like “They’re far from me. I think I’ll be okay”. Remember, horses are extremely intelligent creatures, so little things do make a difference to them.
  4. Don’t punish your horse for spooking or bolting
    If your horse is afraid of something, it’ll naturally spook and bolt away from it. Don’t punish your horse for doing so. That’ll make your horse scared of you and will also develop a hatred inside of him for you. He’ll associate you with danger. If he bolts away from something, keep calm, pat him, and talk to him. Comfort him. He’ll then understand that you do care about him and you will not purposefully take him into doom. Then eventually he’ll get over the fear.
  5. Take him on outrides more frequently
    If he sees something more and more frequently, he’ll learn to get over the fear. If you keep repeating the thing excessively, he will soon get used to it. Don’t be one of those people that will keep the horse from getting near that fear if he is afraid of it.

So those are some tips from my side about spooky horses on outrides! If you have any additional tips, write ’em in the comments below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Also, what do you think about the updated blog theme? It looks much better than the previous one right?

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One thought on “Horse & Rider Weekly #5: Horses that spook on outrides

  1. Pingback: Horse & Rider Weekly #5: Horses that spook on outrides | HORSE COMPANION

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