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"Rear Fear" in horses


My horse has "rear fear". She is scared of objects coming up behind her and will try to bolt. I notice that cars are very scary to her and with every passing car she tries to bolt each time! Help!


HI Nancy,

Well, you have coined a new term, "rear fear". I wonder if 'butt phobia' is the same. I don't think so though. Anyway, to help your horse come to trust that he'll be OK when things come up behind him, is a process over time. There is no quick fix hit. First thing is to have a well established, trusting relationship on the ground. This is where your bond of trust is formed first and foremost. You cannot skip this step and expect the rest to go well. Once your 'on the ground' relationship is really solid (and I do mean SOLID), you begin to school your horse under saddle and include in your schooling lessons desensitization of the horse to various stimulus (such as things coming up from behind). In a safe familiar place, you school your horse and after 20 minutes or so of light work, you begin to introduce your horse to things he may be afraid of, including things coming up from behind him (bikes, motorized vehicles, tarps, rain gear flapping, wooden bridges to cross, wierd things to step over, things hanging over his head, loud noises (gunfire or cars backfiring). You do the desensitizing in a safe area after some schooling. Expect this process to take a couple of weeks of consistent training. It does work. Most humans who only ride do not want to take the time to help their horse overcome its fear. They want things instantly to be as they want without any effort on their part. They are not taking responsibility for the relationship they have with their horse. I hope you are willing to step up to the plate and train your horse. You will become a better and more skilled horseperson if you do. If you do not understand the process, tell me and I shall elaborate more. Please keep me posted and the best of luck to you.

Sincerely, Franklin

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