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I just bought an 8 yr old appy mare 2 wks ago. Her new home is in the mountains. She is very well broke, very good natured. I've taken her on small rides around the place to get her used to her new area. She's done fine until today. I was riding along, slowly, and she spots another horse in a pasture!!! OH MY!!! I'm surprised I didn't get hurt or worse!

She started snorting and spinning around (you know), she tried backing into some real thick oak trees, I managed to get her out of that barely!! I kept trying to reassure her that it was ok! SHE WAS TERRIFIED and so was I.

I didn't know what else to do except to get off the horse. I know you'll probably really get me for this one, I WAS RIDING BAREBACK (STOOOOPID). It took all I had to hang on to her. I got off her for the fear that she was going to run off and being I was riding bareback, NO WAY I could have hung on to that!!!!!!! When I got off her I held her back with all I could and kept telling her whoa, whoa!! She snorted all the way home.

I got home safely by the grace of GOD, I'm telling YOU! I was so TERRIFIED! I know that horses are unpredictable. What do I do next?

Can it be that she's not used to the mountains? She was a flat lander, in fact, she was used for a kids lesson horse!!!! She was around a lot of horses!

Any advice would greatly be appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- L. P.


My first reaction is: are you sure it was the other horse that frightened her? When Willy acts terrified, it usually means there's a bear somewhere within a half-mile or so. Is it possible she scented a bear or other predator nearby?

When you also showed fear, you confirmed her in her belief that there was something to be afraid of. She couldn't know that it was her behavior that you were afraid of.

In addition to using a saddle, I'd look for a riding partner with a steady horse that's used to the area. Take it slow and steady, and force yourself to act calm and in control even when you are terrified within.

Happy Horse Care!

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