12 Techniques to Calm Down a Spooking Horse Using Positive Reinforcement

This video follows one session with India where she was very reactive and spooky to some noises and movements outside of our arena. I demonstrate a wide range of positive reinforcement training techniques that I use to help when the horse is anxious and spooking.

Depending on your situation, your goal for these exercises vary:

You could use them if your horse has seen a scary object and wants to flee – you can use these techniques to help them calm down and stay connected before asking them to approach it.

Or, perhaps you meet an unexpected situation when out on the trail which frightens your horse – you can use these techniques to relax your horse enough to either pass it safely or be able to turn and quietly walk away from it.

If your horse is generally anxious and reactive, these techniques will really help them to learn to relax if you use them regularly. If this is the case, try to set up your training situations to keep your horse under threshold as much as possible, introducing new challenges gradually.

These reward-based training techniques are very effective but they are not magic! All horses can have big reactions when over-faced and we want to teach our horses the ability to calm down and tune into us when worried. So, practice these techniques as much as possible in small moments of anxiety so they are stronger if you need them in more challenging moments.

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