Scary Object on the Trail
Every rider wonders what will I do if my horse spooks at something on the trail? It can be scary and sometimes dangerous when your horse decides a tree stump, rock or bush is a threat to his well being. Always remember heels down & toes up have a good seat so when they do spook you are ready for it. Stay calm and confident so your horse has reason to believe he has a great leader in you.
What to do next is this or something similar should happen. Make him think with drills and work your horse by focusing his mind. The more you move his feet left and right, forwards, and backwards, the more you get his mind focused on the task at hand instead of the spooky object on trail and the more his emotions stop running away with him. So, by the time you get all that accomplished the stump, rock or bush is not so scary any more because it was only scary when he had nothing to do with all that energy and no focus.
Two things are going on here. One, giving the horse something else to think about gets his one-track mind off what is scaring him. Second, by causing him to move, you're reinforcing your role as leader and showing him he can trust you for his safety. He needs to be able to trust you as much as you trust him. You two are a team.
Added: August 28th 2005