Preventing Spooks with Steve Rother

A horse’s focus can shift in a heartbeat – transforming him from a willing, on-task partner to one who is concerned only with self-preservation. At times, his flight instinct can override his training. The moment your horse becomes scared or herd bound, for instance, you have probably noticed your ability to manage him becomes compromised. When your horse is distracted or distressed, he may spook, jig or bolt. It is a horse’s natural instinct, as a prey animal, to move away from perceived threats. Keeping that in mind, it is helpful to simply allow your horse to move a little when he becomes scared. It often seems logical, by human standards, to stop and regroup. However, allowing your horse to move will allow him to investigate his options, expend nervous energy and refocus on his task. Many times, we overlook the value of allowing a horse to search and learn.…

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