Things To Spook At

I have gotten very lucky with my horses in that for the most part they are rather sensible – key word rather. Sure… Houston was a wild man for 2 years. Annie thinks the D word (dressage) is for summoning the devil himself… And Luna well I can’t even with her right now. Smart fillies are NOT always very fun. When it comes to the daily stuff or going to new places though both of my under saddle horses are pretty much rock stars. Annie is even younger than Houston was when she started wearing her thinking cap on the daily and I have to say that exposing her to anything and everything has definitely made a difference. catcucumber2

That said on Friday I was out for a hack by myself and Annie thought it would be fun to be a little bit of a kite. No rhyme or reason just up and levitated on me. The wind blew don’t you know? Mind also TOTALLY blown by the new skinny pallet jumps out in the field. Rock that is always in the same place (I am not even kidding) on the walk around the farm – clearly its horse eating. catcucumber1Thinking about her silly spook – if it can even be called that – got me to thinking about Houston in his younger days. Baby Huey (5-6y0) thought that it was a blast and a half to see ghosts in all corners of the arena, spook at a water trough, and one day spooked over his own blanket… that he had been wearing all winter. Luckily he wasn’t the most graceful creature around and his spooks were never that dramatic in the saddle or on the ground. Hairy eyeball, planted feet, and hyperventilation all in under 30 seconds before carrying on. catcucumber3

Annie had a similar moment on Monday when we were walking back in from our cool down hack. She noticed freshly washed blankets hanging on the fence to dry. WHO WOULD DO THIS TO HER?!?! Thankfully the most athletic horse I have ever ridden does not use that power for evil in these situations. Blankets of death got the hairy eyeball and she side stepped then went about her business.

It is easy to forget the silly stuff that horses might be concerned about (young and old) when your horses are usually so quiet. I am lucky I guess that my creatures usually don’t get to excited about new things or constantly seeing horse eating monsters around every corner. What are some ordinary things that your horses spook at?

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  1. Round bales. Trees, Bushes, Grass, Rocks. Horses. Donkeys, Trash cans. Jumps that aren’t currently being jumped. I could go on….

  2. Eli got a little airborne last night because a lesson horse in the other arena did a walk-to-canter transition … At least, I think that’s why? He is kind of a spook so I just ignore a lot of it 😛

  3. My horse is maybe the king of spooking at normal stuff. Like the trees in the pasture he’s lived in for literally years. And the person standing in the ring who has been giving the lesson for the last 30 minutes without moving. Or that chair that’s been there this whole time. Or a mounting block, that’s literally right next to where he ate breakfast.

    But, my dog bursting out the woods chasing a flock of wild turkeys? Nah. That’s just a normal Wednesday thing. Moving on…

  4. Haha well we had to run 50′ backwards and COMPLETELY LOSE OUR SHIT when someone hung saddle pads on the fence to dry the other day, though I think my recent favorite was running backwards and ripping a chunk of his own tail out because REINS.

    Yes the ones that were attached to the bridle that he wears every day.

  5. Phoenix loved to spook at the mounting block after I had already used it. Or the flowers on the flower boxes under the jumps he’d jumped a thousand times.

  6. Oh man, I have never ridden this spooky of a horse before. Took me over a year to figure him out.

    The short list: Pigeons in the arena; kids playing at the park next door; music on the radio; horses in the back field he sees every time we walk to the arena; closed arena doors; open arena doors; noises in the barn aisle; the tree in his own field when he is in crossties; and ESPECIALLY sunbeams on the arena sand.

  7. Shadows, invisible creatures in the trees, hay nets on the ground, the hose, a bluetooth speaker playing music, the fence. Lots and lots of stupid things. But the things I would think are actually scary, he usually doesn’t spook at. Horses.

  8. Haha we trail ride weekly and the recent torrential rains moved a rock like 2 feet across the trail — this was clearly a signal of impending doom for Ruby and she COULD NOT EVEN with the rock in it’s new location. Horses….. lol.

  9. I always find it funny when they decide something is scary after seeing it like a million times before. The camp near us put up scarecrows back in October. No one cared. 2 months later? OMG scarecrows, WTF, we have definitely not passed these like 20 times before! I just laugh.

  10. Q is the queen of dumb spooking. She’s spooked at: leaves bigger than other leaves, leaves smaller than other leaves, yellow flowers amidst purple flowers, purple flowers amidst yellow flowers, a flower that fell over and was lying down, grass that wasn’t the same green as other grass, her shadow, light colored tree bark, and butterflies. Stan’s spooking is almost always something acceptable that spikes my adrenaline for a moment, too. And Griffin? Well, he used to be unflappable like Stan, but lately any and all tiny birds (not the big ones!) are a great cause for concern.

  11. My rock solid babysitter of a quarter horse cannot handle upside down water troughs. She will snort and blow and balk and sidestep to the point that it feels like if I keep pushing, she will stand up. So we just avoid those. Deer crashing through the woods, wild pigs, hawks flying directly at her face, rustling dry palmetto fronds on a windy day? She has no care in the world.

    And there are squirrels. They are not to be trusted and always warrant the hairy eyeball while passing.

  12. A week or so ago, halfway through a lesson, Miles decided to spook at some boxes in a truck… that had been there the whole time. He hardly ever looks at anything, but he was so uptight about them, I actually had to get off and call it quits for the day, haha

  13. The answer to your question with my herd? Just you know… everything. Jamp is terrified of the far end of my ring. Won’t even go out there during turnout. Rio isn’t scared of much, but he absolutely hates when jumps are taken apart. Romey has a rough time with loudspeakers… Good thing he’ll never show I guess!