Why are horses so easily frightened?

Don't be afraid: How horses lose their fear of the horror corner

If you are afraid of or in a certain corner, you can often even assign where the stress is coming from: Perhaps there is a water tap or a horse kicking against the walls of its box or just a mouse's nest behind this part of the hall wall. A strong, accomplished rider can of course “push” his horse through the fearful corner. A method that the Australian horseman and dressage rider Tristan Tucker only recommends to a limited extent. “This can be quite successful in some situations, especially with horses that only need a little prompting. As soon as they have gone through the corner a few times, the subject is dealt with. In the case of sensitive horses, however, more pressure does not help. This tends to increase the problem, ”explains the Grand Prix rider, who has made his serenity training an international brand under the name“ TRT method ”.

Tucker takes a different approach to fine-nerved horse types: “My goal is to make the dreaded corner the greatest place in the world for the horse.” That is why there is only relaxation and praise waiting for a while in the unloved corner. Everything that is strenuous for the horse takes place in other parts of the hall or the riding arena. “In all the years that I've trained like this, I have never met a horse that hasn't lost its fear of corners in this way,” he explains. So the concept works.

The rule, however, is a different program. And that means extra work in the corner. This should give rise to a habituation effect and the horse should lose its fear. The intensive training is often accompanied by a lot of pressure, after all you have to keep the horse from withdrawing from the unpleasant situation. "The whole thing puts additional pressure in a situation in which the horse is already under a lot of stress," says Tucker. From his point of view, the fearful rabbit has good reasons for his behavior. And as a rider, you shouldn't ignore them lightly. “I don't believe in seeing a horse as stubborn or unwilling because it doesn't want to go somewhere or doesn't want to pass a certain object. A dreaded corner can make the horse feel really threatened. You shouldn't punish it just because it trusts its natural survival instincts, ”says the professional who is trusted by international dressage greats like Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Ashley Holzer.