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Spooking - Spook and Spin

Ruth Abair in NE Texas wrote:
>It's me again - the one with the 6yo Arabian gelding that spooks - and ever
>once in a while, spooks and spins so hard it leaves me in the dirt.

You really haven't helped anyone figure out who you are with this
description, I'm afraid. :-)

>I recently decided that he needs to go to a trainer. I "may" have found one and
>currently am waiting to talk to him prior to turning my little steed over  to

I become very afraid when I hear/read something like this, no matter if it's
an unbroke horse or one that appears to have a problem. I'm not a big
believer in "sending the animal away for training." So the animal comes back
trained. But the training deteriorates over time when it's not being
constantly reinforced correctly by the rider. (I'm assuming that you know
that the trainer would only use just, fair and non-fearful means and so
won't comment on that.)

>Problem. Another Arabian trainer, judge, etc. I know just happened to be at the
>local store last night. ... She .... basically said my horse would always be
>spooky - to a degree - and I might not be a good enough rider
>to detect his spooks in time.

Sounds like she knows what she's talking about. It does take practice. And
sometimes the rider is the cause of the spooks.

>And she said I might be better off with an older/settled Arabian or another
>breed. ..... Am I throwing good money after bad? Can a good/reputable trainer
>correct this problem? And/or do I need training if I am determined to keep this

You essentially answered your own question right there at the end (riding
lessons for you). And I'm thinking that a good, reputable trainer would be
one who would want you to be involved in the training.

Consider this: the spooking might just get worse the more wet saddle pads
you create, even if the best rider is riding the horse. Covering the same
turf over and over only causes them to become more aware of the smallest
changes we humans tend to dismiss. (And don't discount boredom. I'm
convinced that some of them need to create some drama when they're bored.)
Then consider that the spooking maneuvers will become even more athletic as
the fitness level increases.

I'm very familiar with the spook and spin you describe. (I've ridden lots of
young and not-so-young Arabians, including training my own -- with trainer
help! -- from a yearling.) While riding a few days ago, I was comfortably
trotting a mowed strip about 8 feet wide when FOOM, pinball to the left,
BAM, pinball to the right; now comfortably trotting again, then WHAMMO,
sliding stop then 180 the other way. The really "fun" spooks happen at the

Riding lessons help immensely. I suggest dressage. if you can, find a
trainer who will ride trail with you.

Deanna (Ohio)


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