Thank you guys for all the thoughtful responses! To answer some of the questions he is not able to turn out with other horses, he has a stall with a run next to another horse so its pretty uneventful for him. And being the smart busy guy he is its probably very frustrating for him. Ive put in a giant ball, toy treat dispenser among many other things to no help. He sees a Chiropractic about every six months or so and he gets a clear bill of health despite his history of Ulcers each time. I don’t get the opportunity to ride with others very often but I do trail ride every weekend or so with other brave horses which helps him relax so much(he does occasionally get ornery).
Here’s what I’ve learned by taking him to a couple lessons. Its not that he’s “scared” of whats out there, its that he has a busy mind and is incredibly smart. Anytime I let my guard down or drop my hands etc. he will take advantage of that and conveniently spook at or near the gate. I am working my outside rein more and moving him around more but quite honestly his spooks are mostly hard to see coming. He will give no indication before he does it. Sometimes bending him around my leg or moving him forward or taking his head away will work or even side reins. I have to do a combination of all of these things to help keep him busy. If i have a set of jumps, he will be a perfect gentleman…..so long as he has something to do.
Max is such a smart horse, i believe he can do anything he puts his mind to, he just needs to know its ok to do it. And believe me he only gets me more confident every time he spooks, I’m not by any means afraid or hesitant to get on him. I just don’t want to spoil him by pushing him to do the wrong thing. BTW i do have a trailer now so I have been taking him out which he seems to enjoy(because he never wants to get back in the trailer to leave) 🙂
amazonafun, I am in Kitsap County! I would love to make new horsey friends! 🙂
Challenge me, dare me, or even defy me. But do not underestimate me. For on the back of my horse, anything is possible.