Training a Horse Not to Spook Around Tractors
Sometimes a horse can be a little apprehensive when a tractor crosses its path. It's important to curb this behaviour, as the advice below demonstrates
Wednesday 20 January 2010
Horse training is an essential part of country life. Sadly for nervous horses, so are tractor drivers going about their daily business. Therefore, if your horse continually spooks when he hears the farmer working the fields or out on the road, it’s essential to take steps to curb the problem
Horses and Tractors: Steps to Deal with Spooking
To tackle this difficult phobia, you will need access to a tractor. Of course, if you have your own tractor, this is no problem, but if not, you may have to enquire around the local area to find farmers happy to assist you in overcoming this problem. The menacing sound of a tractor’s engine can be extremely alarming for a horse riding a trail, and in extreme cases, it can cause a horse to bolt or canter away from the source of the noise.
Visual awareness is the most successful way of demonstrating to your horse that there is nothing to worry about. Park the tractor a safe distance from the horse’s stall - far enough for the horse not to be crippled with anxiety, but close enough to convince the horse the tractor offers no threat. Try and leave it in place for a couple of days, or at least regularly return in to this position in order to help familiarise the horse with this machine.
In the course of fighting this fear, make sure the horse is aware of tractor engine noises on a regular basis. When you are taking the horse to the paddock or arena for training, pass close by the tractor to further demonstrate the fact there is nothing to be frightened of; taking this method to train a horse will help calm nerves over time and boost rider safety. Of course, if the horse begins to feel uncomfortable, retreat and practice the task over the following days until it seems unconcerned about the tractor’s presence.
Finally, you’ll want to approach the tractor slowly while the engine is running. Make the situation seem insignificant, focusing on the walk to the paddock whilst edging your horse closer towards the source of the ‘spooky’ noise. Repeating this tactic and demonstrating to the horse that it remains safe in your company will help to encourage the animal to overcome its fear of tractors. Although horses and tractors are never a natural fit, putting the required horse training in is the best solution to quashing any fears.