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24 weird things our horses are scared of

Posted on: October 29, 2013 by Sarah Paull

The jack-o-lanterns are carved, the fake corpse is propped up in the lawn chair, and we’ve eaten more candy corn than we’d care to admit – it’s official, the spooky season is upon us! After chatting with the riders in the SmartPak Forum about the weirdest things that spook their horses, we SmartPakers decided to illustrate a few of our favorites. Enjoy (and please don’t judge our drawing skills)!

DapperEquine: “My OTTB isn’t phased by many of the things that I would expect him to spook at (weed whackers, atvs, flapping caution tape, dogs running out and barking at him, deer jumping out of the brush on trails, etc). But we were in the warm-up arena at a show one time and a rider fell off her horse — he spooked SO BAD!”
“Also, my friend has a horse that has the strangest affinity to donkeys. He’s never lived with or been around donkeys in his life. Kind of the opposite of a spook, he bolts uncontrollably TOWARD any donkey he sees.”

pj_sedgwick: “My pony is usually pretty rock steady but once we were riding past a port-a-potty at a trail head and the door swung open. Scary! Ever since I have to sing to him as we pass the box to keep him mind occupied.”

SmartPaker Sarah: “A showmanship judge…well… ‘passed gas’ while inspecting my horse and my horse jumped out of his skin. In fairness, it was pretty loud, and a bit startling…and totally awkward.”

stockshowkid’97: “My donkey normally isn’t scared of anything. Little dare-devil, but she totally flips when a jolly ball, or any ordinary ball comes her way. Shoot, we could win the Kentucky Derby if you just had a ball chasing her.”

Annamgus: “What scares my chestnut mare (and now me) the most are butterflies. Especially when they dare to fly into our route to a jump. She almost sat on the ground 3 strides before a 3′ oxer at a recent show. Imagine a big orange cat crouching down…”

tricia_brown: “Velcro. My Joe is the most calm settled horse ever. But the sound of Velcro sends him over the moon.”

Jon: “My old OTTB mare spooked over baby rabbits. Nothing else. In her mind a baby rabbit was the end of the world. Of course this did lead to me being used as a human lawn dart on several occasions.”

Barrelracer612: “A horse I used to ride was spooked at mini paint ponies, not solid…..just paint.”
“My current horse spooks at ground poles, he has to leap over them…can’t step over them.”

SmartPaker Lucy: “The weirdest thing my horse has ever spooked at is…a nun.”

Gaited Girl: “When I was in 4-H, I showed my gelding at the state show. Our showmanship class was in a covered arena that doubled as a birthing barn/petting zoo during the regular state fair, so it was decorated, including a large sheep painted on the exit door. Well, that sheep was the most terrifying thing ever, and my horse thought he would rather just stay in the ring, thank you very much. Five years we showed down there, and it was always the same reaction. And the year after I finished, they repainted the barn to plain red!”

Liz: “A baby. He was cool with it until it made a noise, then he shied away about 10 feet.”

Karis: “My sweet little OTTB gelding is pretty anti-spook… EXCEPT for logs. Ground poles are fine, flower boxes are fine, but God forbid there’s a LOG on the ground, it’s all over. Shaking and using every ounce of his mental strength to not fly sideways.”

EquineMelody: “One time, there was this wheelbarrow sitting to the side of the barn that he flipped out about. It had never been there before, but he could see it from a mile away, and he’s seen and been around wheelbarrows plenty of times before, but holy crap it was in a different spot! Scary stuff man, scary stuff. Anything, no matter if he’s seen it and been around it a hundred times before, if it’s in a different spot, it’s clearly moving closer so it can eat him.”

emmaeclipselucylove: “One time my sister was running around bent over touching her toes like a hunch back and my boy Eclipse started freaking out and tried to kick her!”

~Fjord~: “My horse is scared of little candy wrappers on a trail. I can swing a tarp all over him and he doesn’t mind, but candy wrappers are going to eat him.”

SmartPaker Casey: “My horse was terrified of a kid pretending to be a monkey in a tree!”

Tiggy212: “My Appendix saw a red canoe being dragged across the ground almost 1/4 mile away from within the barn while having his feet trimmed. Took 15 minutes for him to calm down enough to finish his feet!!”

Sarah_Zeid: “I have a solid, seasoned gelding that is only really afraid of two things: tree stumps and boulders!”

cq_tipy: “My boy now is scared to death of cows. He hears a “moo” and his eyes roll and he has a high speed come apart. Needless to say, he is not a roping horse.”

Leslie: “One day when all the horse were turned out, the workers power washed the inside of the barn. When it was time to bring them back in, my horse REFUSED to go in his stall. Nothing could get him in! He was snorting and totally terrified of it. I ended up having to switch stalls with another horse. He’d go in any of the other stalls in the entire barn but not his because it looked slightly different…”
“Another time, I bought him a new halter because his had broke. I went in his stall to put it on, and he ran to the back of his stall, avoiding me. I went up to him, he went to the front, snorting at it and refused to look at it. Unlike most horses who realize something’s not going to eat them if you show it to them first – showing him only reaffirms his suspicions that yes indeed it WILL eat him.”