Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Fearful about other horses and arenas

I have a horse, an 8 yr old palomino, who is afraid when a horse is coming towards him. He pins his ears back and tries to go after that horse. How do I get him to stop that behavior and teach him that it is ok for a horse to come by him? I own another horse and he doesn’t do that. He also gets freaked out when you walk him up to the gate to go into the arena for western pleasure. He starts doing one of those back up routines and won't quite. I have tired to get him in circles but he stills backs up.

If you have any suggestions about anything I can do. I would like to hear from you.

Thank you a lot, Cassondra

Hi Cassondra,

What I would do in your situation is to first do a lot of ground work with your horse with other horses in his vicinity. In other words, lung your horse, ground drive him, short line him (maneuvers on the lead rope) all with other horses moving around him. Once he is comfortable with this while you are on the ground and he responds well to you while you are on the ground, then climb on board and school him with other horses moving around him. This will let him know he is to keep his attention on you when you are with him and that you are leading the dance and he need not worry about the other horses. Horses need strong leadership, not control from their riders and handlers. Your horse is only fending for himself because of a gap in the leadership he is receiving. He does not need discipline, or correction, or punishment. He needs strong leadership and you need to be willing to give that to him by going back to the basics of ground handling and then under saddle schooling him while around other horses.

He is afraid to go into the arena because something in there is scary or he has had too many negative experiences around going in there. Again no punishment and stop trying to control him. That makes things worse. Go back to the basics of good training. Re-introduce the arena to him on a day when there is no show. Let him know it is not such a bad place by leading him in and doing some light riding and some ground work in the arena. Then take him out. Do this a few times or as many as it takes for him to begin to get his confidence back.

There is no quick, easy fix to issues like these. They take good leadership, good training skills and patience to be resolved. Are you willing to put the time in? Thanks for your question.

Aloha, Franklin

Look for: