After Bad Fall, Horse Terrified of Concrete Floor
I have an eight-year-old thoroughbred whom I just brought back home from college. He was shod at school with probably a different type of shoe than he got at home, and the day he came back home he slipped really badly on the concrete aisle and fell several times. Since then we have re-shod him with aluminum shoes with borium coating, so he should really have no problems slipping anymore. However, he is now terrified of walking on concrete, even small patches of it. We moved him into a barn with a dirt aisle, but there is still a small area of concrete that leads to the arena and if he goes on the concrete to go in he gets tense and tries to run through the door into the arena, and he refuses to walk back out the door onto the concrete and rears. He does the same type of thing when I attempt to lead him back into the other barn with concrete aisles. How can I help him get over his fear and get his confidence back?
Liane, I am glad your horse fully recovered physically from his fall! To teach him to walk on concrete again, I would slowly work with him near a concrete area. One easy way to build his confidence is to feed him his grain in a bucket that is placed closer and closer to the concrete each day, until it sits on it, and finally in the center of the concrete area. By slowly getting him used to concrete by pairing it with something that feels good, you will likely quickly help him become more comfortable.
Another option would be to target train him: Visit this page to find the ASPCA’s target training how-to. Good luck!
- Dr. Weiss