Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Little Spook that Worried Everyone Else Way More Than Me

First of all, everyone should check of Equine Guelph's Lameness Lab! It's very cool.

I've had Scarface since he was three, making it a total of about 8.5 years (he is officially 12 now) and in that time we've definitely gotten to know each other fairly well. He still surprises me sometimes (like how much he loves being my niece's walk-trot horse or when he is abnormally calm), but all-in-all, I usually know what to expect.

My dad and I trailered over to the neighbour's arena the night before New Year's to go for a little ride (Friday night). Another family was riding as well, so altogether there were 4 riders and 1 man lunging a young horse (I think it was a 2009 baby). The arena owner was sitting in the viewing area at the end of the arena watching. I was warming Scarface up and just working on getting him back into shape after his time off. I didn't notice, but while I was at the far end of the arena, the owner let in a dog and was playing with it quietly in the viewing area. Apparently Scarface didn't notice either because when as we came cantering down the long wall toward the viewing area, he saw the dog that wasn't there before and came to a dead stop. He stared at it for a minute and then I thought he was fine and asked him forward again. Instead, he started motoring backwards at high speed, convinced that there was some kind of monster in the viewing area. I let him look for another moment, then asked him forward again, but he was having no part of it. By this time, everyone was watching us and the man lunging (also one of the dog's owners) was asking if everything was ok and called the dog over so Scarface could see it and see that it was in fact a dog and not a monster. That helped and a bit later Scarface didn't mind going to that end of the arena.

But the moral of the story is that everyone made a bit of a big deal about it and I was kind of embarrassed. Everyone at home and at and barns I've boarded at have known Scarface well enough to not be the least surprised when he spooks, but I don't know the people around this arena that well, so they aren't used to it yet, even though I'm sure I've told everyone how big of a chicken Scarface is.

Do your horses have any weird quirks that other people don't quite know how to react to?


  1. For some reason my comments do not appear to be working on your blog...they tell me they're posted but next time I come here, I can't see them. Hopefully this one works.

    Honestly I hate when people make a big deal out of horses spooking. They're horses...they're known to be afraid of their own shadows, it's really not that amazing.

    Socks is just one big mess of quirks. She hates apples, is terrified of measuring tape and the one that always seems to surprise people although I have no idea why, she's a (recovering) chronic bolter. People never seem to expect that from her, so when she does bolt they make a big deal out of it.

    Glad to hear you and Scarface are able to get some quality riding time in!

  2. Bonnie is scared to death of paper. Anything paper including feed bags. When I say scared, I mean bucking, twisting, rearing, running backwards scared.

    I didn't know about this phobia until a barn manager handed me a receipt while I was riding. I stayed on through the most violent spook I've ever ridden through (and my first horse was an Egyptian Arab) but Bonnie didn't stop with the hysterics until I dropped the paper.

    Obviously to her paper is horse eating monster that must be avoided at costs.

  3. Cjay - I don't know what's up with blogger. I did read your last comment because it came to my email, but I have no idea why it didn't show up on the blog. I wish people wouldn't make such a fuss. When I used to compete in bigger shows, no one cared (as long as I didn't run them over), but at smaller arenas or riding events, people make a fuss. I'm lucky Scarface doesn't bolt, he just shys or backs up, then stares at the monster and trembles.

    Jeni: Haha, I love the paper monster story! Horses are so quirky like that!

  4. It's good that you know your horse well enough not to get worked up about spooks. Daisy's spooks are generally not dramatic; she just gets 'up' and prances a little, and I sometimes literally laugh it off because it's so silly.
    People often misjudge her because she pins her ears, *ALL* the time. As soon as I'm off her back, she pins her ears for 95% of the time that you're around her. People worry that she's going to bite or kick, but she rarely does neither.

    I don't feel like signing out of this account... :P

  5. Wow my grammer is just great. *rarely does*

  6. India used do i say this?.....bolt....into large solid a fence or side of a barn or tree.
    now she's training third level dressage and spooks at everything!! her spooks usually include dropping her shoulder, taking off and spinning

  7. Thanks for that lameness lab link, that was super cool!! I was in LOVE w/ that gray and was going crazy like "He is 0 lame!!!!" and phew indeed he was. I thought I was going crazy for a second.
    Btw; I love Scarfaces white spot on his eye!!

  8. Abby: My old horse used to pin his ear when he didn't know other horses. He never kicked but he was grouchy, so we always tied a red ribbon in his tail at shows, just so other people wouldn't worry.

    Paige: That is funny! I don't think Scarfie every ran into anything solid. He probably learned his lesson from when he race through a cable fence when he was a baby (that's where the scar came from).

    Kristen: I'm glad you liked the link. When I found the site, I just had to share!!