Shying horse

What is spooking or shying?

This is when a horse is afraid of an object or sound.

It affects many horses, young or older.

Most horses get frightened if taken by surprise, the same way as you would if someone jumped out on you.

A horse that settles down quickly after a fright, is far easier to manage, than a horse that is totally freaked out and will not relax.

This is the closest you will get to a perfect horse, as they are unpredictable animals with minds of their own.

Many horses live in quiet environments, with not many people or movement around.

They hack out on bridle paths or quiet country lanes and therefore don’t experience enough “scary” objects.

The environment that your horse lives in now has changed, there is much more to see when you take him for a hack.

Give him time and be consistent while he familiarises himself with his new surroundings.

I would begin by hacking out with another horse, one that can give the other confidence.

Pent up energy

A horse that is stabled for a long period without exercise but still receiving hard feed might make a big issue out of a small one.

Yes, I have seen this so often. The horse will spook, just because another horse has reacted to something.

The horse will lack concentration, will not stand still and prance sideways.

Highly strung

Some horses are on their toes and quite sharp to ride.

This is down to the breeding of the animal.

These horses are not necessarily afraid but they use the disturbance as an excuse to misbehave.

A Thoroughbred in training, would be a classic example.

Like a “bottle of pop” when you ride him. You feel as if the horse is going to explode any minute.


If you are an inexperienced rider lacking in confidence, some horses will take advantage and pick up on your body language.

Yes, an intelligent horse will test you out.

If he gets away with something, he will continue to do it, every time you hack out.

Therefore, you must ride positively at all times, or the horse will pick up on any fear and react to the situation.

Scroll down from shying horse for more horse and pony problems.

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Horse Problems

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