Does your equine buddy feel danger to other horses going to the warm-up arena during the race? Does he
jump sideways when the horse is too close, or threaten his butt, and even succeed like mine? Maybe it
starts to show or you feel overwhelmed by the crowd because you are used to working alone? Maybe he’s
just claustrophobic. Whatever triggers your horse’s fear, overcoming it begins with patience.
Step One: Work with one other horse
Begin his rehabilitation by presenting him to others in a familiar environment where he feels safe. Ask a
friend with a quiet horse to ride the arena with you.
- Walk side by side on foot and in the same direction as your horse will allow. Do this with both kidneys.
- Switch sides every so often. Some horses feel tethered to the outside fence and need to make sure they
are secure when placed between the horse and the edge of the arena.
- Then let the other rider go behind you.
4, When your horse is happy with it, the other animal should walk towards you – just as close as you like.
Do not move it too far out of your comfort zone at this time.
- Gradually reduce the gap between the two animals until you relax by going to either side of the
oncoming horse and leaving very little space between them.
This can be all your equine friend can take in the first few classes. Be patient and avoid disappointment.
Your goal is for the horse to trust you. To push it a little Outside of his comfort zone, progress is needed
and he understands he will not get sick. But if you do too much, it will ruin his already fragile confidence
and put him in a worse position than before.
Slow and easy is the key. When your horse is relaxed and satisfied with steps 1-5, do the same exercise on
the trajectory and then on the scarp. Do not move upward until it is completely relaxed with your current
Step Two: Introduce yourself to the second horse
You are now ready to ride with two others. The second horse should also be a trusted animal to increase
your horse’s self-confidence.
- Walk on foot between the two in the same direction.
- Leave enough space between the animals to avoid feeling claustrophobic.
- If he is initially uncomfortable, walk into him on either side of the duo, then let him in the middle
- When he’s with that O.K., go in the opposite direction.
- The other two horses should now walk toward their own, with a wide the space between you to get
past. If your horse is worried, skim the other two away from him. Then repeat the process until he is not
afraid and can walk quietly between them.
- Your horse will give you self-confidence: Ride steadily on approaching animals so that he learns that
he will disobey you if you obey.
As he focuses on you, start working on the hut, and then cliffs, switch between the other two horses as
they approach you again. Only go up when your horse is fully satisfied with the current. It is very
important to take it slowly! Your horse will probably take longer to get used to working with two horses
than he did with one.
Congratulations You have overcome a huge obstacle. Continue your workout with the same horses, then
add others or change your riding buddies. Your horse may even begin to enjoy riding in the company.
Step Three: Change riding locations
Before entering the showroom, test your horse’s confidence by riding in an unfamiliar place where you
will not show other horses. By placing him in a less stressful situation than he will face at the show, you
will also be calm and give your horse the best chance of passing the test of self-confidence with flying
colors. Ride it in indoor and outdoor arenas. (My horse was more excited about the outdoor arena, so I
focused his rehab there.) Doing so will ensure that your horse is comfortable in both outdoor and outdoor
Step Four: Be uncompetitive
If you are not an extremely cool type whose nerves will not hurt your horse’s self-confidence, you may
consider accepting him as a non-competitor on your first rehab run. Choose a location where he is not
responsible for re-introducing the terms of competition. This will allow you to spend as much time as you
like in the warm-up arena without any pressure to compete. You will be more relaxed and give your horse
a good experience around strange horses. Then point him to the real thing – when he proves he’s ready.
Every horse is different. Yours may be the type to quickly overcome your fears, or it may be like mine, it
takes a lot of time and persuasion! You have no tight schedule for his rehabilitation. If you act like you
are forever solving a problem, it will be solved much faster than trying to force it to a specific deadline.
You can skip the show season, but you would still have missed it until the horse was scared to warm up.
Stick to your goal, but be flexible with your time. Patience is paramount.