Dismiss Notice

Hi, we hope you enjoy looking around New Rider. We are a very friendly board so don't feel afraid to ask your questions. Register now, say 'Hello' and join in the conversations.

Dealing with spooking!

Discussion in 'Competing' started by Ale, Apr 11, 2015.

  1. Ale

    Ale Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    7,145
    Likes Received:
    5,441
    And horses having a good look at things. Any advice, Ale isnt overly spooky but he can be in new places and gets very looky (he swings his head about having a look around)

    I've been told if he starts spooking at dressage next Sunday to just give him a little tap on his shoulder to get his attention back, but I'm not sure about this. Are there any other techniques you use?

    I rode him today and the grass has just started coming through. He was a bit whizzy and thought about spooking bit I just told him not to be silly and asked him to trot on and he was fine. But at a
    cocompetition there is no way I will be as confident.

    HELP
     
  2. Trewsers

    Trewsers Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    47,342
    Likes Received:
    7,835
    Will you have company at the dressage comp? I always feel miles more confident if I have a person on the ground or nearby whom I know is supportive. It really does depend on what works for you and Ale and how he responds to a shoulder tap. It probably wouldn't work for Storm and myself but that's just us. I think personally I'd try and be confident in myself right from the word go - by that I mean before getting on board as for me and Storm that is a good 99% of how things will go and it sets us up properly. I don't go to competitions as you know, I can only draw on my hacking and schooling experience. Going out there in front of people of course is different. But if you feel good about yourself and your capability then dealing with spooks need not be such an issue.
    There have been times when spooking has occurred in front of an audience - one occasion now I look back I wonder how I stayed put! There was a school full of people watching and loads going on. But because I entered the school on that day (and that period of my life in general) full of good vibes and feeling confident it was not such a big issue. Sorry for the ramble!lol
     
    horseandgoatmom, Kite_Rider and Ale like this.
  3. OwnedbyChanter

    OwnedbyChanter With out my boys life would be bland

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,643
    Likes Received:
    1,507
    My advice is a) do not look at the arena and look for thing you think he will spook at as that will draw your eyes then his to them showing him what mum is scared off b) If you are riding forward and in a contact he should not be twist his head to look at things but if not if he does yes a tap on the shoulder works as does a sharp kick on.

    If he puts in a large spook that puts you off your marker just rejoin the track and carry on like nothing happened.

    Before you go down the centre like get his attention on you and as you enter trot down the line like your really mean it. start as you want to go on
     
  4. Advert Guest Advertisement



    to hide this advert.
  5. Ale

    Ale Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    7,145
    Likes Received:
    5,441
    Thankyou both of you, very helpful advice and I really appreciate it. My mum is walking with me and I think we are hacking there with one other lady and her horse. I think a few people from the yard will be going to. Its a week away but I am terrified! Simply because I don't know how ale is going to react! But I have my RR so will be using that on both of us and will have to try my best to just keep him focused on me and not let my nerves get the better of me. Thankyou again I will remember all your advice for the day!
     
    horseandgoatmom and squidsin like this.
  6. Ale

    Ale Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    7,145
    Likes Received:
    5,441
    I just found out that I can use a flash so that's good news! Although I currently school without one I think it will help on the day as I hack in one just to stop him resisting the bit. I will see how he goes in his flash bridle in the school on Monday. This will make me feel a little more confident on the day as was a bit worried about going out in just a snaffle incase he gets strong
     
  7. carthorse

    carthorse Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    5,719
    Likes Received:
    1,148
    My advice would be to keep him so occupied he doesn't have time to spook! It's a dressage test so he should be focussing on you, not his surroundings. If you feel his attention starting to wander do something - eg a half halt, alter the contact slightly, a little bit more power, a little more roundness & engagement - & get his mind back on his job. Actively ride him every step of the test, it'll help your nerves too.

    Good luck, and have fun x
     
    horseandgoatmom and Kite_Rider like this.
  8. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Messages:
    16,554
    Likes Received:
    7,379
    Jess was all full of it yesterday, spooking at things she's seen a million times and I wished I'd had a stick to give her a little reality check (shoulder tap) but I didn't so I stared doing some shoulder and hip control/lateral work and worked her into a contact for a few minutes which settled her right down, I would do the same with her in an arena or comp as I think switching their brain into work mode and getting their focus is vital in stopping anxiety spooks.
     
    horseandgoatmom and Kite_Rider like this.
  9. Flipo's Mum

    Flipo's Mum Heavy owner of a Heavy

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    9,434
    Likes Received:
    1,280
    I have this issue when I ride out into the town. Flipo does a banana impression walking past folks' houses, he loves to stare into their gardens, and has the odd jump out of his skin when they do something he's not expecting. I imagine you'd be dealing with the same thing going to this dressage event. I guess there are two options. You either turn up very early and hope that by the time he's due to do his test, he's calmed down and done all his looking enough to get on with the job, or you turn up just before, don't give him time to look and go straight in to work mode and hope he is too preoccupied to look or spook. Difficult one. Maybe the more you do this, the easier it will get? Flipo was nigh uncontrollably hyper at his first show with me. Now he is mildly interested for five minutes and then gets bored. Sadly I don't think that will happen with us walking through the town, so I just have to be consious of his butt sticking out in the middle of the road if a lorry wants past!
     
  10. horseandgoatmom

    horseandgoatmom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,149
    Likes Received:
    4,317
    Lots of good advice given--
    good luck and have a lot of fun!!!
    WE want to see PHOTOS!!!
     
  11. Ale

    Ale Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    7,145
    Likes Received:
    5,441
    Last night I couldn't get to sleep because I was worrying about it so much and its still a week away. But I have taken all the advice on board, Thankyou very much. I don't care if we do the worst test imaginable just so long as we try!
     
    squidsin likes this.
  12. OwnedbyChanter

    OwnedbyChanter With out my boys life would be bland

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,643
    Likes Received:
    1,507
    I use to lay in bed and worry about so much before a test so I know how you feel. Honestly you will love it and wonder why you worried so much once the 4.5 minutes are over.
     
    Ale likes this.
  13. joosie

    joosie horse slave

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Messages:
    6,278
    Likes Received:
    2,058
    Competing gets easier mentally the more you do it. But nerves are normal, and the run-up to a show is often the worst bit as you have plenty of time to think about the stuff that worries you! You'll probably start to feel better once you're there and start riding. I'd say try to forget that you're at a show and just ride like you're running through the test at home and there's nobody there watching you. And remember it doesn't matter if something goes wrong!
    If he does spook or shy at something, don't panic, just put your leg on send him forwards and then ride like nothing happened. As OBC says keep your eyes ahead of you and not outside the arena looking for potential problems - where the rider's looking has a big influence on where the horse will look and where his attention will be. If you fixate on something his attention will be drawn to it too. Think of it not as a competition but a training session, you will be fine!
     
    Ale likes this.
  14. MrC

    MrC https://m.facebook.com/MrKiasLife/

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    1,950
    Likes Received:
    1,455
    Engage him and let him think more about you and what you are asking him to do than what's going on about him, but as joosie says the more you do it the better you both will be as being out and about becomes the norm :)

    Will be good for you both. Have fun:)
     
    Ale likes this.
  15. Ale

    Ale Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    7,145
    Likes Received:
    5,441
    Thankyou for all the great advice everyone! I was hoping to ride tonight but I'm not feeling very well now but will definitely have a practise before the day!
     
    Jessey likes this.
  16. squidsin

    squidsin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Messages:
    5,087
    Likes Received:
    2,135
    You will be fine and have a great time. I can't wait to hear how you get on I will be in the same position soon, competing with Roxy for the first time. Exciting!
     
    Ale likes this.
The FREE site for selling smallholdings, farms and rural properties
Loading...

Share This Page