How to Spook Train a Horse

If your horse is skittish and spooky, try these methods to see if they help! Note that this will take time and you need to have patience. This could be a couple week long process (for a really spooky horse).


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    Get a halter and long lead on your horse. Tie a plastic bag on the end of a carrot stick. To be clear, a carrot stick is a training tool, not an actual carrot.
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    Stand in front of your horse wile doing this next step.
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    Gently rub the stick on your horse's body, all around. Do this one both sides.
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    If your horse gets scared and tries to run away, hold tight to your lead.
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    Hold your whip in the place that it was when your horse started to run. They probably ran because they didn't like that whip in that place. Keep your whip there until the horse settles down. If it seems like the horse REALLY isn't going to settle down, as soon as he hesitates to keep running, drop the whip and bow your head. This is a sign to the horse that to stop running is good.
    • You need to give your horse a rest. If you do this step a couple times and he hesitates to run or doesn't run right away, stop working with him. This will tell the horse what to do, and what not to do.
    • Only really work on this exercise for 10 min a day, if your horse is really spooky toward the whip. You can go longer for a not-so-spooky horse.
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    Repeat exposing your horse to the whip until the horse is completely relaxed with the whip being around his body. Once you get your horse calmed around the whip, you can move on to Step 7.
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    Instead of rubbing the stick and bag on your horse, try waving it in the air above your horse's head, behind his butt, to both his sides, and in-front of him. If your horse runs, repeat Steps 4 and 5.
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    Repeat the waving process until you can wave the bag everywhere around the horse with little reaction from him.
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    Work on these exercise only until you get a good reaction (not running at first, hesitating more) about 2 or 3 times. If you have been working with your horse for a wile but he still does run a lot, try being more open about rewarding him for the right stuff he does.
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    Praise your horse when he does something right.
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    Try these next couple games, follow the rules above. You don't have to follow the games in order, but they are assembled in a logical order.
    • So first you did the bag and stick now try tying soda cans to baler twine and tie that on to a carrot stick. Also, you can try tying other objects, that fly in the wind or make sound, to the stick.
    • Lay a tarp down. On the corners of the tarp, place heavy objects down so that the tarp doesn't fly away. Have your horse walk over it. You can also place a tarp over jumps and you jump over the jump (have your horse on a lead) and have your horse follow you over the tarp covered jump.
    • Lay the tarp over your horse. and have him walk around.
      • Your horse might get very nervous around the tarp. Be careful
      • You can also have your horse in an enclosed area and you stand a ways away and wave the tarp(you can do this with other objects to). If your horse runs, keep waving the tarp. But as soon as he even hesitates, stop immediately and praise him.
    • Use a beach ball. Throw the beach ball in front of the horse, under the horse, and behind the horse. When the horse really gets used to the beach ball, try throwing it over the horse. Even stand in front of the horse and roll it toward him.
    • Use an umbrella too. Stand in front of the horse and open the umbrella. The horse might jump at first, and when he does, just hold the umbrella. Don't move it, just keep it still. Open it a few more times. Then you can try waving it near the horses head, and body. Then try opining the umbrella when you are standing to the side of the horse.
    • Get lots balloons and toss them up in the air, in front of the horse. You might just want to start with just one balloon and work your way up to more.
    • You can also roll things toward the horse, wile you are standing in front of him.
    • Just use your imagination! Use anything that rolls, floats, flies in the wind, or makes noise.


  • Don't try to spook train when you are riding unless you have completely mastered the spook training on the ground.
  • This can be very dangerous. Make sure you have someone with you at all times when you are training.

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Categories: Horse Training