Q&A Questions and Answers:
Corn in Indiana - my horse hates it!
I found your website today when I was trying to find out what the height of a hitching rail should be and I was floored when not only did I get what I was looking for but other helpful information as well.
I have a 16-year-old Tennessee Walker (gelding) who has a fear of the corn that is growing in the fields. I have read your questions on spooked horses, but this is something that is everywhere in Indiana and he can't even be ridden if the wind is moving the fields; I can't get his attention. I have walked him by the corn and though he seems to calm down, the moment the wind picks up it's back to square one.
What advice can you give to me to help my horse overcome his fear?
ANSWER:Try to understand the situation from your horse's point of view: Because of the way his eyes are designed, that moving corn looks like a mass of electrical sparks, and the sound of the rustling leaves tends to confirm that impression. To overcome that problem, I'd look at taking some cattle panels and erecting a temporary paddock right against a stand of corn. I suggest cattle panels because they are both portable and sturdy. You don't want something he can break out of, and you don't want an electric fence because coming in contact with it will just confirm his fear. After a while, he will become desensitized to the movement of the corn. Also, a bit of tasty corn stalk from time to time (just a taste, not enough to cause colic) may help to convince him that corn isn't all bad.
A series of sacking-out sessions will also make him less likely to spook at other sudden movements or sounds. You could even use a corn stalk as part of your sacking-out gear, along with things like a saddle blanket, a plastic bag filled with empty soda cans, a flag, etc.
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