Now, I'm not a trainer so I can only speak from my experience, but I do lease an absentminded Thoroughbred who, if you let him, will go along gazing at the sky…the grass…the woods AND THEN OMG THERE'S LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS IN THERE!
What can you do about your spooky horse's phobias?
My best piece of advice is to demand that your horse's focus is on you at all times–keep his little brain engaged so he just doesn't have room to freak out. On the ground, I do this by making sure my horse stays out of my space. If I halt, he's not allowed to move past me. If we're walking on the lead, he needs to match my pace. Under saddle I usually put him to work right away if I feel him getting tense, bending him toward the center of the ring, or using lateral work like shoulder-fore or leg yields to get that brain working.
What's your horse afraid of?
Ablutophobia – Fear of bathing
Ailurophobia – Fear of cats
Alektorophobia – Fear of chickens
Algophobia – Fear of pain
Anthophobia – Fear of flowers
Aquaphobia – Fear of water
[photo from Clevergrrl, Flickr]
Bovinophobia – Fear of cattle
Brontophobia – Fear of thunder and lightning
Catapedaphobia – Fear of jumping from high and low places
Claustrophobia – Fear of confined spaces
Coulrophobia – Fear of clowns (according to Wikipedia, this is not restricted to evil clowns. This is equal-opportunity clown fear.)
Cyclophobia – Fear of bicycles
Dextrophobia – Fear of objects at the right side of the body
Globophobia – Fear of balloons
Herpetophobia – Fear of reptiles or creepy, crawly things
Insectophobia – Fear of insects
Isolophobia – Fear of being alone
Ligyrophobia – Fear of loud noises
Musophobia – Fear of mice
Neophobia –Fear of anything new
Olfactophobia – Fear of smells
Ophidiophobia – Fear of snakes
Panophobia – Fear of everything
Pogonophobia – Fear of beards
Topophobia – Stage fright
Xylophobia – Fear of trees, forests or wood