Ugly judges, scary potplants, strange sand and unexpected sunrays. We all have experience with spooking horses that won’t go past something scary.
But what can you do best when your horse keeps spooking in that one scary corner?
A member of Rien van der Schaft’s online training had the same question and Rien let his experience speak for itself.
Rien noticed that many people have tension themselves in the spot where their horse is spooking.
That makes riders trying to force their horse past the scary spot with a lot of pressure, which creates more tension in the horse.
This eventually leads to a vicious circle of tension; your horse thinks the corner is scary, you force him past it, he builds more tension, you hold your breath while riding towards the corner, he keeps spooking, etc.
Break the vicious circle of tension
Try to break this circle by giving your horse relaxation instead of tension in that scary spot.
This is a process that you can’t speed. It will take some time and effort.
Rien thinks that you can better ride the horse relaxed towards the corner, let him look for a little while and then walk away.
You then ride towards the corner again, let the horse look again, maybe even smell something and then walk away from the corner. Once your horse dares to smell the spot or object or even tries to touch it, most tension is gone and your horse won’t spook anymore.
Just make sure that you don’t get tense yourself in that situation and that you don’t force your horse to ride past the scary corner.
What many riders often do, is bending their horse inside, so the horse can’t see the scary corner.
I don’t believe that. A horse can see a lot around him, so even when you bend him inside, he will still be able to see the scary corner.
Besides that, it’s still a form of coercion.
Make sure your horse finds relaxation in the place where he has tension and that you are also very relaxed when you’re in that spot.
It’s also that your horse will get more focus on you and your aids once you progress in your training.
You will see that scary corners will come by less often and might eventually be forgotten at all.