Silly things that scare your horse

Often you can predict what will scare your horse when you are out riding. But sometimes, it’s a surprise — and provides some insight into how your horse perceives its surroundings.

Last fall I had finished schooling and was cooling my quiet older horse out on a loose rein, with no stirrups while talking on my cell phone to a client. We were walking in our own field which borders a walking trail.

As we crested the hill, a jogger came by. No bid deal. Then she stopped and did a handstand against a tree. HUGE deal! My horse, who had seen hundreds of hikers and joggers flipped out. Apparently people just look different when they are upside down. He gave a huge spook and then stood trembling and snorting as he faced down the headless monster.

Thank goodness I stayed on. I would have hated to explain the crash, thump, and subsequent swear words to my client. It’s bad enough when I’m on my cell phone at the barn and a horse whinneys. It really blows my cover!

And yes, talking on a cell phone when mounted certainly is a bad idea!

2 thoughts on “Silly things that scare your horse

  1. Oddly enough, my horse has no problem with moving vehicles. It’s when they’re sitting still that he gets suspicious!

  2. I once read an article in a horse magazine about a woman who always wanted to own a camel, ever since she was a kid. So she bought a camel and kept it with her horses. She trained the camel using techniques the East Indian people use, such as “kush” to tell them to lay down. She taught it to be ridden as well. The camel was never a problem, just very curious and would get into stuff.

    The lady would go riding with her friends, on either camel or horse. All her friends’ horses never really had a problem with the camel. Then one day, she and one of her friends came upon a very large group of people riding horses. Well, the horses were definitely nervous upon seeing the camel. Snorting and stomping abounded. So the lady decided to get off her camel and have it lay down, because then it would be less threatening. BIG MISTAKE. Apparently, half the group’s horses reared, spun, and/or bolted when the camel started to lay down. The other half seemed frozen in terror. Oops.

    Our gelding is also terrified of non-moving vehicles, but they have to be large ones, like tractors or bulldozers, especially flatbed trailers parked on the side of the road. However, we just ask him to walk up to it and touch it. As soon as he does, he’s okay. He’ll walk past it with no problem. One time he walked up to a flatbed trailer that had large sewage pipes that were going to be installed in an area where houses were going in. He snorted, but my husband made him walk up to the flatbed trailer. He reached out and LICKED one of the pipes, and was satisfied. He also can get uppity about the electrical boxes on the side of the road, but not everytime he sees them, which we still can’t figure out.

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