View Full Version : traffic training of the young horse
12th Nov 2005, 07:21 PM
Does anyone have any ideas which may help us with a 3 year old who has obviously never seen a car before. Win arrived on Monday and after gradual introduction to the horses on the yard it was decided today that he should go out in the field with them as he is meant to be a grass livery anyway. However I decided to play it safe and lead him in a pressure halter just in case which turned out just as well because we had to lead him the 200 yards along the road to the field. He was rather scared and on his toes which I expected as he has been in since Monday after all. However just as we got to the field gateway a car came zooming along and made no attempt to slow down whatsoever, Winston was terrified, He reared up and made an attempt to bolt.(thankgod for the halter) I managed to stop him and asked him to stand quietly,which once he had done so I then patted him and told him what a good lad he was.Then almost immediately another car came along going twice as fast as the first with a noisy exhaust to boot :mad: and Winston went up again and again tried to bolt. However when this didn't work he tried to kick me in an attempt to break free. I shouted at him and he immediately stopped and stood calmly as I had asked. However I am now concerned as obviously he will have to be brought in from the field and we are bound to meet more traffic. His field is next to the road so he will at least now see traffic coming past but did I handle this correctly as I'm not experienced with this kind of training and what can we do that will safely ensure he gets used to traffic without putting him or me or any other road user in danger. He is due to be backed soon and I'm the person who will be riding him to prepare him for his owner(my friend that owns him)and obviously don't want him to be scared of anything on the road for her sake.
12th Nov 2005, 09:44 PM
Probably not an answer to your question. When I was getting Girlie used to traffic I'd just stand her outside on the small triangle of land out side of where we keep her and just watch rush hour go by, usually she'd just put her head down and eat, but it just got her used to the sound and sight of the traffic.
When I went out on her I attached an 'L' plate to the back of her fluorescent quarter sheet. I know it sounds silly but I think it did make people slow down a bit more. And at least you're giving them warning.
12th Nov 2005, 10:04 PM
I compliment you on your patience, but on thing you've gotta ask yourself is... when a car comes do I myself miss a couple heartbeats??? Ignore the cars. I know that its hard to do. The first time I took my horse near cars he was actually really great. So I never had problems with that. One thing I would advise is maybe to drive a car to your fence take Winston to the car and just walk him around it until he realizes that a simple car won't hurt him. Then stand back with him (incase he kicks the car) and get someone to start the car. Once he is familiar with it and is standing politely ask someone to move the car slowly and gradually he might get use to this. A good thing for him to recognize is the horn too. After he is quite comfortable let him loose in the pasture with maybe a flake of hay as close as you get him to the car and then beep the horn. Maybe people treat horses on the road the same as bicycles and beep when they are coming behind them.
Best of luck. Just keep calm and stay safe!
Hope I helped a bit!
12th Nov 2005, 10:36 PM
13th Nov 2005, 08:20 PM
Would it be possible for you or someone else to bring a car to the yard or into the field? That way you could turn the engine on and let him have a good sniff, then drive past him slowly a few times. Once he seems alright you could try again another day driving a little bit faster before finally taking him back to the road. :)
14th Nov 2005, 05:08 PM
Clinton Anderson has a good exercise to do that will help with this. I have used it for motorcycles and things such as blowing tarps;
Place the car (without car running at first) in the middle of a field or other work area. lunge the horse back and forth (rather than in a circle) in front of the car until there is absolutely no reaction. When he gets to that point, go to a different part of the car (the front, back, both sides) and do it again. The trick is to keep it up until you have no reaction at all. Once you start, don't stop until he is perfectly OK with the car. If he will not get close to it at first, start where he IS comfortable, and then get closer and closer until he is going between you and the car at a point where you can almost touch the car. It is important to do all 4 sides of the car.
When he is OK with the car, take a break ( I give it a day), and then review. If he is OK, start the car and do it all over again. Step 3 is move the car back and forth, then go to a different area (like a road) and do it again. I agree with the previous poster- be sure you desensitize to horns. There are some real idiots behind wheels. The last thing would be to walk on the road again, having a friend drive by slowly a few times, then picking up speed as your horse shows it is OK with it.
You are certainly right that this is an important issue to deal with before backing!! Good luck and let us know how you get along!
14th Nov 2005, 05:47 PM
the field by the road is an excellent start to traffic proofing-that is such a plus point in your favour. :D .Holding the horse in a space far enough from the road and large enough for him to feel secure in is also a brill way of starting.When you start riding on the road (after you are happy that his initial nerves are conquered by him getting accustomed to traffic)an L sign and florescents are also really really helpful,though they won't stop the odd nutter from behaving like an ignoramous.Also go in the company of a traffic proof bomb proof saint of a horse, then he can learn from example that traffic is ok.Horses can also spook at bicycles so i feed mine using a bike and generally trundle around them as much as i can. You handled a very very tricky and scary incident brilliantly btw.You can't force the horse to be good in traffic you can only get him used to it in as safe and calm a way as possible, and it can't be rushed. I'm sure you know all this, so sorry if it's patronising,but i live in a very quiet area and my horses see very little traffic and i know how bloomin hard it is to traffic proof them.Good luck :)
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