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Re: RC: Spooking - Spook and Spin

In a message dated 10/03/2001 1:18:09 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
>>>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. I
>>>recently decided that he needs to go to a trainer

At 08:43 PM 10/3/2001 -0400, wrote:
>>I had the same problem with our 6 year old stallion, he is now excelling in
>>Working Cow Horse.
>Well, would you mind explaining how you accomplished this?  The lady who wrote
>about the spooking is a friend of mine and I'd like her to have the help she
>needs.  Thanks.

I'm not the intended "addressee" of this question, but I'm putting my 2
cents in (again) anyway.

How is this accomplished? Probably by introducing the horse to all sorts of
new things every time he was worked with, letting the horse investigate,
praising or rewarding for appropriate responses (like spooking in place or a
mere one-eye oggle) and, in general, lots and lots of time and patience with
the goal of building confidence. When you can identify what the horse has
spooked at, you encourage him to touch it with his nose, getting off and
leading him up to it if you have to. If it's a new flower that has sprung up
since the last time you passed through, pluck it and touch him all over with
it. And develop a sense of humor about the whole thing. If you are laughing,
you're relaxed. If you're relaxed, you're telling the horse there's nothing
to worry about. 

That's why I don't think the spooking is going to go away just because the
horse is "sent away" to the trainer.

Personally, I'm very entertained by the once-in-a-while spook (I have a
tendency to collapse in giggles). I think it's a rather endearing quality in
Arabs, especially young ones. Of course, maybe I react this way now that I
come off less often (knocking furiously on wood) and because I accept that
the occasional dirt dive goes with the territory. And I just love riding my
friends "oldsters" (18+ years) on a crisp autumn day or after the winter
lay-off when they act like kids again.

Deanna (Ohio)
AERC # M30478

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