Category Archives: Equine Behavior & Problems

Which Jumper should I choose: a green horse or a seasoned but sour horse?

Good Front Leg Form Over Fence

Good Front Leg Form Over Fence

Question: I have just had two horses pass a vet check and now I’m more confused than ever as to which one to buy as a potential hunter. They are both geldings, 16.3HH, both 5 years old. The green horse has a good mind, great legs, and is gorgeous, but very, very green! He went over a small grid we set up, but he has very little of any training other than walk trot and halt. He has no papers. The other gelding is also 5 with lots of experience over fences, but he refuses, runs out and seems very sour of the whole thing. He seems hotter than the green horse. When he does jump, he’s amazing. He has Canadian WB papers. What would you do in this situation? How do I choose wisely?

Answer from April Reeves: A few more questions need answering before you bring all the facts in to make your decision.

I would look at the conformation and way of going on both horses. There will be something that will tip you one way or another. My gut instinct is to lean towards the green horse. If he is built properly, and moves long and low (daisy clipper) I would take a few more free jumps with him if the owners will let you.

Continue reading

My horse always wants to be the leader. How can I stop her?

Herd bound or separation anxiety in the horse is tough to breakQuestion: I have a 14 yr old QH mare who when my daughter and I go on trail rides panics if she is not the lead horse. It is difficult because my daughter likes to ride ahead sometimes but my horse gets real speedy and bouncy trying to catch up with the other horse. If I hold her back it is difficult and i do alot of circles to get her to stay slow. I have also noticed that when we are in the show ring she tries to catch up with the horse in front of us and then when and if we pass she is fine. Is there any way to make her feel more comfortable without being in the lead? I do trail ride her alone a lot also and she is fine. Just when there is another horse in front of her.

Answer from April Reeves: You could work on this problem a number of ways. What I will try to do is set up a training method that you can accomplish.

This is a tough habit to break. Your mare is likely the dominant in this herd of 2 (herd of 4 when humans show up), so she will demand that her role be acknowledged on the trail or arena.

Or she may be suffering separation anxiety (herd bound). If this is the case, you may have a horse that you will never be able to break from this habit entirely. In all honesty, I have worked with these horses and although I can ride them safely, when they go back to the owners it starts up all over again.

Continue reading

My TB mare won’t go over poles. Do you have any advice?

Rearing horse won't go over poles on a trail rideQuestion: Today I took my 4-year-old thoroughbred out on a hack with the girls down the yard, and we had to go over raised metal poles and she just wouldn’t go over them. She was a complete nightmare – we tried everything – she was having none of it! I’m wondering if you have any advice?

Answer from April Reeves: Your mare just hasn’t had enough work doing ‘other’ things. We tend to keep doing the same things over and over again, usually simple riding and arena work, and forget that we need to give our horses continual desensitizing.

Continue reading

My horse pushes the fence, trying to get out. How can I stop this behavior?

Horse behind electric wire fenceQuestion: I have a 4 year old Belgian/quarter horse cross that insists on going through the fence. We have both field fence and barbed wire fences on our place and he doesn’t care which one he tears up. He just walks up to the fence and starts pushing and walking up the wire until he pushes in over. He is built like a tank and doesn’t mind cutting himself in the process. There is nothing for him to get into on the other side of the fence, all the feed is in bins. He just gets out and stands on the other side. Any advice. We tried popping him in the behind with a bb gun when we see him pushing but it doesn’t seem to phase him.

Answer from April Reeves: Your horse does not see the fence as a barrier, and it’s likely because it’s not strung tight enough. Once a horse feels any give, it’s in their nature to resist it. Remember, horses are nomadic, and have an instinct to walk. Humans put them in unnatural confinement and expect them to act according to OUR rules – which rarely happens.

Continue reading

Help – my horse won’t trailer! How can I get him into our trailer?

Horse loading into angle haul trailerQuestion: We have been having some MAJOR PROBLEMS trailering my horse preacher. He is an x-racehorse and hates to load on a trailer. We’ve tried everything people told us to try. He got on there a couple of times but thats all. Tuesday my mom went over there and fed him in the trailer and when we got there a friend (Jason) went into the trailer nervous and scared. When he started to tie him up Preacher went BAZERK and Jason started to freak and get loud with him. I know you’re probably not supposed to get loud. So how can you get him from being non trailer shy and get that horse onto the trailer so I can go to my lessons and shows? He’s a real sweet boy.

Answer from April Reeves: Your problem is serious and difficult to fix unless you are skilled in groundwork. Your friend Jason did not help either. There is no excuse to raise your voice to a horse, and doing so just set you back. I’m always the type of person to tell it truthfully – loading a difficult horse is a dangerous thing to attempt without experience.

Continue reading

Our mare is sensitive to the touch and grouchy. Is there hope for her? How can we fix this?

Question: We’ve had our 7 year old QH mare for 5 years. I love her, but she is stubborn, grouchy, and very over sensitive to touch. I have to use a soft rubber brush on her, and a brush with very soft bristles. She doesn’t like to be pet or even lightly rubbed for that matter anywhere on her body (though I have to admit, I do it anyways. My thought is if I don’t touch her, she will never get accustomed to it). She tends to threaten more than actually ever do anything about it. She will pretend to bite, or swoosh her head at you with ears flat on her head. When you tack her up, she is soooo grouchy (pretends to bite with ears back.) We’ve had her back checked by the vet, as well as an equine massage therapist. We’re told she is fine. Her tack fits well, but I’ve had that checked as well to see if I’m missing anything, but, nope, it’s fine. She’s very green, and we are not trainers ourselves, we’ve had a trainer come in to work with her, and, they GAVE UP!! She couldn’t get a response from her.

Continue reading

Why do horses crib, and can you eliminate it?

A SPECIAL POST BY MARIJKE VAN DE WATER, B.Sc., DHMS, Equine Health & Nutrition Specialist

Cribbing horseCribbing – Vice or Pain?

Cribbing is the term we use to describe the behavior wherein horses grasp stationary objects with their upper teeth, arch their necks and swallow or suck in air. Cribbing, although on occasion is habitual and/or behavioral, is almost always a sign of stomach distress.

Horses most often begin to crib in an effort to alleviate stomach discomfort from indigestion, nausea and/or burning. These symptoms are frequently caused by the overfeeding of starches and/or proteins which, over time, creates excess gastric (stomach) fermentation. This hampers both the digestive and buffering capabilities of the stomach and increases levels of unfriendly bacteria and acids damaging the interior of the stomach, resulting in gastritis, gas, acid, nausea and feelings of premature fullness.

Continue reading

My jumper surges and falls on his forehand after a fence. Can I use special equipment like a Kineton noseband?

Kineton nosebandQuestion: My coach and I have been working on retraining my horse (an Oldenburg/TB cross), for the most part he’s been coming along nicely, but he really LOVES jumping and has the tendency to take the easy out and surge to jumps and fall on the forehand afterward and is hard to pull up. I’m hesitant to go to a harsher bit as I’d rather use mild means and go only as fast in his training than he is ready. We have him in a french-link eggbutt snaffle. Some have suggested a pelham, but I while was browsing the world of bits and equipment I found something called a Kineton noseband. I’ve read so many varied opinions on this piece of equipment that I’m left wondering what to believe. Is this piece of equipment harsh when used properly? (I know that anything including a snaffle can be harsh if used incorrectly). I’m wondering if this type of noseband could be a mild addition to my corrections when he goes to surge onto his forehand and pull?

Answer from April Reeves: Your problem is common, and one that I see in almost any training level. That being said, it does not need to exist, and will take time to work out. I encourage you to take that time for several reasons: 1. It’s a natural evolution on your path to becoming a better horseman, 2. Taking the time will give you a fresh insight into training methods you will use again with another horse 3. Your horse will be the winner here, as you will not have to resort to harsher equipment.

Continue reading

My horse is stumbling. What could be the cause?

horse falling from stumblingQuestion: I have a mare I have been riding since July. She was out of shape when I started riding her and I built her up by riding just a little bit more each time. In the past couple months she keeps falling on her knees at a walk for no reason. What would cause a horse to do this? It’s very dangerous so I am not riding her any more until I find out what is wrong with her. I don’t know much of her history but I really love this horse. What can I do for her?

Answer from April Reeves: Many things come to mind for this symptom.

Continue reading

Why do horses dunk their hay and can you teach them not to?

horse drinkingQuestion: My horse dunks his hay every time he takes a bite. It’s very annoying and I wish I could get him out of this habit but I’m not sure how to do this. Do you have any suggestions? His water bucket gets dirty and then he won’t drink from it.

Answer from April Reeves: Your horse is trying to tell you something, but you are not listening. No horse performs an action on his own without value and use.

Continue reading

My Barrel horse won’t enter the arena quietly! Help!

barrel horseQuestion: Hi, I have this dun 11 year old quarter horse gelding who won’t enter an arena. My sister barrel races him, and when we try to get him in the arena for a run in a show, he will refuse to go in. But once he is in, he takes off running, so I don’t think he hates barrel racing. It is getting frustrating because it takes us about 10 minutes to get him in. Last time it took 6 people to push him in. Do you know why he is doing this? Dusty is ridden sometimes in trail riding, cattle herding, and he used to do a lot of riding around for fun. Mostly though he is now just used for barrel racing. He wears most of the time a hackamore.

Answer from April Reeves: Your problem with your gelding is quite typical and fairly easy to fix. Let’s take a look at what causes your horse’s arena fright.

Many non-pro horses used in games and especially barrels are trained to achieve this level of skill set by focusing on this alone. While many owners believe the only way to get a really great barrel horse is to do nothing but barrels, this is not necessary nor the case, and can actually lead to escalating control problems and a dangerous horse that will require a great deal of re-training. It sounds like your horse needs a break from the barrels.

Continue reading

Will my new horse bond with the donkey next door?

donkey and mini horseQuestion: I was thinking about getting a horse but the person in the next field has got a donkey so I was thinking about my horse making friends with it but I don’t know if it will work?

Answer: from April Reeves: Yes, it’s very likely your horse will create some bond with the donkey, and give your horse the comfort of knowing there is another four-legged acquaintance around. Because they will not be in the same field together, it’s questionable whether they attach themselves to each other to the point where they become herd bound. Only time will tell. You may find it becomes the perfect situation, where the horse is happier but not attached to the point where it becomes a problem.

Continue reading

I just inherited a horse with my new farm. I know nothing about horses. Can you help me build trust with him?

71031734Question: I have just purchased a small gentleman’s farm that came with a horse. He is a 12-year-old gelding who has never been trained. From what I know he has had a saddle on in the past, but never has taken riders. He is very friendly, but loves to do what he wants to do. If he does not want me in the pen he is very quick to turn around. Although he has never kicked at me (I move out quick) he seems like he would. I have never owned a horse, let alone trained one. I am not looking to train him on my own but for now I would like to learn how to at least build a trust between us, as-well as have him obey at least a little any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer from April Reeves: I’m glad you have not been kicked yet, but it is a matter of time. Let me give you some insight into how horses think and behave.

Everything you do with a horse is training. You can train a horse to be good or really bad. Horses do not have a sense of reasoning like a human has, so the horse just goes along with what is in front of him or being offered. They do not know what is right or wrong; that is a human trait only (ego). Horses have distinct herd behaviors such as dominance, leader and follower. The majority of them are followers, and they prefer to be, as horses do not handle stress well and prefer to give it to someone else (horses, humans).

Continue reading

My horse brings his head up when leading – and now riding.

High headed horseQuestion: My horse always has his head up in the air when I lead him. I try to bring it down by giving consistent tugs on the lead but it seems to just make it worse. This has happened within a short period of time, about a month or two, before that he was fine. I have also tried to shank him and put a chain on his nose, but this does not help either. Sometimes he really throws his head up especially now when I try to bridle him. How can I get his head down? It’s beginning to affect his riding also.

Answer from April Reeves: I use the expression all the time: “Everything you do teaches”. This is a perfect example of a horse that has unknowingly (by the owner) been taught to raise his head. The owner has not done it with purpose. Most owners don’t work at making their horses worse. But we fail to realize that every move we make, every thing we do is training.

The other thing that you will see here is that the horse has begun to bring his head up during riding. This is a powerful statement for groundwork. While you may not think that what you do on the ground has any relationship to what you do in the saddle, this is evidence that it does. Groundwork done properly provides leadership in every other thing you do with your horse, especially riding.

Continue reading

Basic Groundwork and Saddle work for the Herd Bound Horse


Clinician, Instructor, Trainer

By April Reeves: I get this question all the time so I thought I would address it here. Herd bound horses can become dangerous if the problem is not nipped in the bud right away. However, it’s one of those problems that many people are unable to deal with as it takes a certain level of skill.

This article is for those who are baffled and need a solution that they can accomplish. It is the longest one I have written to date, and covers some very extensive ground and riding exercises. It won’t be easy, and does require patience and dedication, but the techniques are easier to follow than some others and the results are good.

This is for the horse that is strongly bonded with a single buddy or herd, and those horses at the point of showing aggressive behavior and lack of respect for the handler/rider through rearing, kicking and biting.

Continue reading

My horse is stuck in her training schedule. What is wrong?

horseQuestion: My horse was doing really well with her training for the first 4 months, but seems to have lost it. We have come to a roadblock in our training and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. What should I be looking for? Is my horse maybe not able to learn any more?

Answer from April Reeves: Often when people are training their horses, there is a tendency to speed through the ‘boring’ stuff and get into the fun stuff. Unfortunately, it is the boring work that allows the horse to take in the fun stuff easily. Again, it’s about foundation work, and I harp on this subject a lot, but it’s important enough to keep repeating. I can guesstimate (from experience) that 90% of all horses are missing this (sure would like to know what other trainers think about this).

Continue reading

My horse jigs on a trail ride coming home. How can I stop this?

Jigging HorseQuestion: My horse starts to jig (short trot strides) coming home on a trail ride. She gets excited about going home I guess, but it’s annoying as she is always out in front of the other horses. How can I get her to stop this? She’s not bad anywhere else. She doesn’t rear or buck or become worse; she just jigs. I’m tired of always pulling her back. She even jigs coming home by herself. I use a snaffle bit, should I change it? Help me please.

Answer from April Reeves: Jigging is an annoying habit and one that can lead to more dangerous behavior if not stopped as soon as possible. Many ex-track horses jig as it is an overlooked habit from their track days. They learn it while being ponied.

While you can use traditional methods such as constantly pulling them back or turning them, these methods often just make the horse more anxious and keep jigging. Pulling them back all the time just encourages the horse to become tougher in the face and resistant, and using a harder bit is only a temporary solution. Keep the snaffle – I’m glad you are using a mild bit (there is only one reason to move into a stronger bit: you have moved up to a higher level of training with your soft mouthed horse).

Continue reading

My horse bolts and runs. How can I stop him from doing this?

Bolting HorseQuestion: My horse often bolts in the arena for no reason. We will be working quietly for days and then one day he will just go and run. How can I stop him from doing this? He doesn’t do it on the trail. He doesn’t buck when he bolts, just runs. I use the pulley rein to get him to stop eventually. At first I was scared, but now it’s just annoying. I don’t want him to do this at shows next year.

Answer from April Reeves: Be thankful your horse is only bolting in an enclosed area right now, as it is just a matter of time that you experience this somewhere else. It’s also a matter of time when he adds bucking to the mix. I assume he does not have a favorite spot to start this, and will bolt anywhere in the arena.

Continue reading

My horse tries to kick me when I longe him. Help!

Horse kicks on longe lineQuestion: My gelding tried to kick at me on the lunge line yesterday. He postured and turned his back end to me. He is always good. Would the wind have anything to do with it? I tried to hit him but he just got mad and tried it again, then moved in to me. I went after him with the dressage whip and he pulled and ran away. What could be causing this?

Answer from April Reeves:

The Change of Seasons
My first thought is that it’s fall, and horses often tend to do mysterious things like act up and get spooky or excited for no apparent reason. At least to a human there seems to be no reason. With horses, everything they do has reason because they live in the moment, not the future or the past like humans do. So their reaction is always about what is happing here and now. If your gelding has NEVER been aggressive to you in the past, this behavior is a bit odd. If he is boarded out and you are not the primary caregiver, then there may be history you are unaware of. If he was allowed to get aggressive with another handler, it may spill over to you.

Continue reading

My horse runs continuously when let out. Should I be concerned?

Girl and HorseQuestion: I have a 18 month old Percheron/Thoroughbred cross and she is in a paddock (rather large) most of the time. When I let her out she runs and runs and runs just appears to be playing and never trying to run over any humans. When she is done and I say “come” she will always walk to me. Should I be concerned of this behavior?

From April Reeves: Your filly sounds quite normal to me. All horses display exuberance and love to self-exercise especially when freed from confining pens and paddocks. If she does not get out every day, then running for quite a long time can be normal.

Continue reading

How can my Arabian re-learn how to tie and bridle again?

Pretty ArabianQuestion: I have a 13 year old Arab gelding, which my daughter raised from a baby. (We owned and bred the mother) was my daughters teenage project.. he was not used much and spent a lot of time in the pasture, and was sort of a pet. My daughter moved so I let a friend of hers use him and he picked up some bad habits. I can no longer get his bridle on. He just clenches his teeth and will not let me put the bit in his mouth. I have a hold of the headstall over the top and between his ears with my right hand and raise the bit into his mouth with my left hand and gently encourage him to open his mouth with my thumb. He has his teeth clenched tight and just throws his head around until I loose my grip. I do this patiently, over and over until I want to scream (which I don’t, I give up and try again later with the same results.) It is very frustrating because I have always been able to put a bit in his mouth before he spent a year with another person. He is also pulling back on his halter.

Answer from April Reeves: Assuming your Arab had good manners from the start, he may not be as difficult as some horses can be.

Let’s start with the tying problem, assuming the horse use to tie before. Purchase a rope halter if you don’t have one, as they will increase the sensitivity and teach the horse to come off pressure faster. Traditional web halters teach horses to lean and resist, as their pressure points are wider. Make sure your lead rope is at least 12 feet long.

Continue reading

Spooky Appaloosa gelding too tough to train?

Appaloosa tough to trainQuestion: I have been training my friends Appaloosa gelding, but I am having a very hard time getting anywhere with him.

I have noticed that he is head shy, and although he will eventually let me rub his head and ears it seems he doesn’t improve over time, in fact everything I try to do with him he doesn’t ever seem to improve on (except letting me catch him, even after he panics I can catch him easily now. I am guessing it’s cause he does have some light of trust in me, but not a whole lot).

This is the least of my problems though. Sometimes when I do something to help build his confidence he will do REALLY well, but then when I try to come back to it another day he acts as if I am asking him to do something he has never done before. And he reacts badly. As soon as he feels pressured or confined he spins away and slightly rears as he flings his head in the air. He has never kicked at me or tried to hurt me intentionally, but one of these days he is going to hurt someone or even worse, because of how badly he reacts.

Continue reading

Can a Standardbred pacer learn to trot?



Question: I have a 18 year old Standardbred who raced most of his life. I have him feeling comfortable enough to trot when I longe him but as soon as I get on all he does is pace. I understand that he is 18 and is going to be hard to get out of pacing. Is there any ideas though of how I might try?

Answer from April Reeves: Unfortunately your older boy will be a pacer for his entire life.

There are two predominant lines of Standardbred breeding: trotter and pacer. The pacer is bred to pace: it is inherent in his birthright. There are some trotters who show a degree of aptitude to pace and are often encouraged (mechanically) to do so.

Continue reading

My spooky horse won’t pay attention to me and freezes!

Adiva Murphy enjoying a ride on Morgan mare

Adiva Murphy enjoying a ride on Morgan mare

Question: I have a 6 year old Morgan gelding that I got last January. I ride him English and I jump him.
Ok, so here’s the problem. Every time I go out to ride him, he always has his ears and eyes on EVERYTHING around him. He rarely pays any attention to me. He practically jumps out of his skin if he sees a tree, a piece of trash, a leaf, or something that he didn’t see the day before. If I take him somewhere new, he gets soooo pushy and freezes up. I just don’t know what to do! I’ve tried taking him up to whatever it is that he seems to be afraid of. I’ve tried just riding on past it like it wasn’t there. I’ve tried turning him in tight circles, backing him, side passing, figure eights, etc to keep his mind on me instead of everything else. How do I make him relax? The only way I can get him to put his ears on me is by yanking on his mouth really hard. And then I end up losing me temper and smacking him. I feel soo bad. I feel like he doesn’t like me anymore. How can I earn his trust back? I know I’m not supposed to yank on his mouth but he makes me so mad sometimes I wanna cry!

Please help me.

Answer from April Reeves: Morgans are one of my favorite breeds, and the first one I ever owned when I was little. They can do everything. Even things you don’t want them to do. It looks as though this is where you are right now.

Continue reading

My horse gets nervous when left alone.

trakehnerstallionQuestion: I have a 7 year old Trakehner mare that gets very anxious whenever another horse leaves the stable, even if there were still other horses there to keep her company. She starts jumping about and it is safer just to leave her alone for a while to calm down rather than get trampled on in her stable. But this makes my life pretty difficult because I have to organize that there is another horse and as little traffic as possible in the stable when grooming and handling her. I cannot get any contact to her when she gets nervous. She is virtually impossible to bring to the stable alone. But she behaves completely differently when ridden, I have no problems hacking alone, and in general she is much more calm when ridden that when handled from the ground. That is why I am hoping that this habit could somehow be pruned. How could I teach her to keep calm in the stable when other horses leave, or perhaps even to stay alone in the stable?

Answer from April Reeves: You have a long road ahead of you, and one that will be time consuming. However, being a 7 year old mare, you may have no choice. If she was never bred, this behavior could develop into something more serious. The herd instincts of mares are strong.

Continue reading

My horse spooks. I speak nice, but it’s not working. What should I be doing?

Horses ask us to step up and lead with confidence

Horses ask us to step up and lead with confidence

Question: I have a mare she gets spooky when leading sometimes. My friend told me to speak softly and quietly and pat her when she is like this but she is just getting worse. Should I be nice to her, speak nice? It seems to make her worse. Why is this happening? Does she not like me anymore?

Answer from April Reeves: Here is a classic example of humans expecting the horse to react and think the way we do. Let’s break this scenario down into how each is thinking at the point where your mare spooks:

Continue reading

My horse rears when I lead her? Why does she do this?

Horse rearingQuestion: I moved my two year old mare a month ago. She was really behaved for the first three weeks but now when I lead her she keeps rearing. Why would this be and would it help to use a pressure halter or would it make her worse?

Answer from April Reeves: By a pressure halter, are you referring to a rope halter? If so, I would strongly suggest it. If you are referring to nose chains or other methods, then I strongly argue against it.

Continue reading

My horse won’t lift his back feet to clean. Help!

Horse cow-kicking

Get ready for a cow kick!

Question: I recently bought a 7 year old gelding home and the only problem I’m having is that he doesn’t want to pick up his back feet to be cleaned. He shifts his weight and when he finally lifts it he fires and cow kicks. Not sure how to break him of this or if I can. I’m guessing he’s been spoiled and has gotten away with it for a long time.

Answer from April Reeves: This question has a happy ending and easy answer.

I never fool around with a kicking horse, but you can get him to accept that he has to deal with having his feet worked on.

Continue reading

My Appaloosa is too energetic! She trots and canters all the time!

Happy Appy

Energetic Appaloosa

Question: I have a small Appaloosa that was trained as a hunter. She has done novice hunter pony/horse competitions in the past. She was sold to the lady whom I bought her from 4 years ago when she was 4. They didn’t ride her much except for light trail riding. They wanted a pony for her girls. They quickly lost interest in horses and she didn’t get ridden much at all for the last 2 years they owned her. Now I have her and she is 8. I’m in the process of training her to do more Western riding rather than English. My question to you is, she has so much energy! I longe her every time before I ride her, and I longe her a good amount of time till she looks like she’s getting tired and sweaty. But then 5 minutes later once she’s tacked up, all her energy is back and all she wants to do is walk or trot or canter as fast as she can, and never settle down. She’s in a stall all night, but out for a good 8-10 hours in the paddock everyday. All she has to eat is grass and hay, I don’t give her grain or oats, so I don’t think that is where she is getting all her energy from. What do you think? I have a few parades coming up and I’m hoping that she will calm down before then. I will probably have to drug her for them. But just riding in the arena she is like crazy! She has no mean bone in her body, she isn’t trying to throw me off or bucking or rearing or anything like that. She is just so excited when I ride her. Do you have any advice?

Answer from April Reeves: This is quite typical of the Appaloosa breed. They often have a wonderful sense of ‘exuberance’ which can often last longer than you need it to.

Longing a horse like this is not the answer, since all you will be doing is making her more fit and energetic. The other problem with longing is that it really has no deep training level to it. Most people use it to burn off steam with their horses.

Continue reading

Horse gets spooky during trail rides. How can I fix this?

Spooky Trail Horse

Spooky Trail Horse

Question: My 5yr old has a very bad problem with things jumping out at him. The only thing is there is nothing there. He thinks the trees are going to get him. He just started doing this, every time we go up the road, he keeps his attention on the trees or the ditches. Cars don’t bother him and deer don’t one bit. I don’t know what his problem is and would like to know how to fix it. I’ve had him since he was 3; he is an excellent horse, great with cattle, barrels and responds well to leg pressure and reins.

Answer from April Reeves: This is so typical of horses right when the leaves begin to fall off the trees. Although we can’t ‘see’ anything, there are changes in the way everything smells, especially to the horse. Since we keep our horses in an environment that’s fairly sterile, in the sense that the horse does not have the ability to learn about these situations for himself in the wild, he resorts to snorting, stopping and refusing to move quietly past these things.

So what can you do?

Continue reading