Common Things That Frighten Horses and How to Handle Them Safely

It’s October, and that means it’s time to talk about all things scary. For horse owners, that means talking about the things that frighten horses and what you can do to safely address the problem of having a horse that spooks too easily.

10 Common Things That Scare Horses

Just about anything can frighten a horse, but the following are some of the most common:

1. Anything New

Any object that your horse has never seen before or that has been newly introduced to your horse’s environment is liable to give your horse a fright.

2. Invasive Veterinary Care, Grooming, and Shoeing

Any new treatment or procedure can make a horse wary.

3. Riding in a Trailer

Horses need to be slowly introduced to these confined spaces.

4. Plastic Bags

They’re noisy, unusual, and move in unpredictable ways.

5. Feeding From a Bucket

When feeding from a bucket, horses lose part of their vision.

6. Spray Bottles

Whether you’re spraying your horse with a fly spray or cleaning the stall, spray bottles can frighten even calm horses.

7. Barking Dogs

Loud and unpredictable, barking dogs often spook horses.

8. Water Hose

Water hoses look like snakes, and we all know that snakes easily frighten horses.

9. Puddles

Horses can’t see the bottom, so they don’t know that puddles are just puddles and not bottomless pits in the ground.

10. Flapping Fabric

Whether on a tent or part of your riding clothes, flapping fabric can frighten horses that aren’t used to it. Wear proper riding clothes and avoid campgrounds with your horse.

How to Prevent Your Horse From Spooking

While some horses are just born jumpier than others, there can be other reasons why a horse might spook more easily such as health issues, pain, vision loss or impairment, a lack of exercise, isolation, and improper socialization or desensitization. These issues can be addressed in a variety of ways such as:

Schedule a Horse Checkup With Our Tucson Equine Veterinarians

If your horse spooks easily or has been more anxious or easily frightened than normal, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with an equine veterinary specialist at Adobe Veterinary Center in Tucson. We are highly experienced in examining and evaluating horses. We can talk with you about the issues you’ve been experiencing with your horse and work with you to determine the most appropriate course of action that will be safe and effective for your horse.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact our Tucson veterinary center today.


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