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Re: [RC] horse shopping and the spookiness scale - Kathy Mayeda

To me, spookiness is one of the easiest things to resolve.  Even with my ding-dong Bey Shah bred horse, I've been able to manage his spookiness.  He has other quirks that I'm trying to work with, but he's done well with all the scary green balls, Arab eating rocks and mice in the bushes.  However, it did take a lot more work to get him there, and I still work on it. Lot of desensitization on the ground, then in saddle.  That's the reason why I joined the local Parelli group so I could work on these issues in mayhem group settings - and I didn't have to do it with the other two. He spooks by grabbing the ground, no 180s and I've never been dumped off of him but I have bailed off of him on his bucking uphill sprees (not spooking - just sheer exuberance).  I did better with him by letting him look at stuff after he spooks so that it can get his brain back.  I have had him for several years and we are still learning to trust each other - it's hard work for and with him.
My most trustworthy horse - coincidently the one I have the endurance miles on -  has a scar in his left eye from a corneal ulcer, so he tends to shy and do a very quick 180.  Since he's normally such a good boy I ride him with totally loose reins so I'm usually un prepared to prevent the turn, and he dumps his shoulder on the 180 and I'm on the ground.  (I'm usually white knuckling on the other guy)  Two times to the ER with minor injuries from that guy.   He is a quiet inward worrier and sometimes I don't pay attention that he's concerned about something until I'm on the ground.  He hasn't done that for years though, a nd he did it so infrequently anyway.  I never reprimand him because he always has a "omigawd I blew it Mom, so sorry" look on his face after he turns around and sees me on the ground.  Honest spooks.
My mare - that we both went through our green on green means black and blue times together - spooks at things on the ground, so when she's wound up I have her on the bit and with leg pressure on if she shows sign of putting her head down to have a drama queen moment.   Dishonest spooks. She used to trot fast and then slam on the brakes, so this cured her of doing that.  She's great on the trail now and is everyone's favorite horse to ride. 
That's my three horse study.  I know of others that never felt comfortable with their new horses and then moved them on to other homes.  There's a pretty good chance that other people would have given up on a horse like Drako, or they would have welcomed the challenge of having a difficult horse.  To me, he's been a valuable learning experience - I'm a better rider and horsewoman because of him even if he's taking a long time to get on the endurance trail.  (He rather be an arena horse so he doesn't get sweaty.)
I also think that some Arabs are pretty darn good at testing their riders by spooking to see what they would do, if they can intimidate the rider into getting off, so they can go back to the barn to socialize with their buds! 

On Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 9:39 AM, Cindy Stafford <cjstaf@xxxxxxx> wrote:
once again, i'm going to have to beg your collective advice.
I've been casually horse shopping for a while for a new LD horse.  One of the qualities I'm looking for is a horse that is low on the spookiness scale, lol.
But here's where i'm perplexed.  How do you judge a horse that may shy a lot just due to being green, but may grow out of it with additional miles?  Versus one that will always be a 'spooker'?
Or should I pay more attention to how the horse reacts when it spooks?  Like a stop, stare and blow is a lot more easier to handle for me than one that might react with the spin and bolt, or worse, rearing/bucking (gasp!).
I"m not a green rider, but am seeing the results of my limited experience of too many miles on only one horse, and one that became relatively bombproof fairly quickly LOL.  I don't mind getting one that is green and spooky and working iwth it slowly (i'm in continuous lessons with a trainer, so have others more experienced to work with me).  But am wanting to avoid the one that may never grow out of having extreme meltdowns versus the casual sidestep.
comments?  thanks again as always for your opinions.

[RC] horse shopping and the spookiness scale, Cindy Stafford