A spooky story


I have a question for all the other horse people here on the site.

We'll begin with a bit of a back story. I'm mostly looking for opinions.

Last summer a very good friend of mine bought her second horse. Her first was an old ranch horse who was bomb proof. This mare was great, she didn't spook and she was exactly what my friend needed after her dad's "Ol' Reliable" gelding passed away and she'd spent a little over a year being dumped repeatedly by her sisters Arab. However being an older Mare she had a tendency to go lame a lot and after a few good years and many more tears my friend decided to sell her to a home where there were younger kids who needed to learn how to ride and where her old girl would be babied. This lead to a search for another horse, and where the current story really begins.

The new mare they purchased was a gorgeous black three-year dold from a trainer that they knew and who was rock solid and eager to please. For the first few months everything was fine. My friend rode the mare all over the country-side, and I went along with her a few different times. The mare never took a wrong step. However near the end of the summer when moving cows my friend was riding through some tall grass and some birds flushed out under her horse. And completely understandably the mare spooked and my friend ended up eating dust, and later a trip to the hospital then home in a neck brace.

I was talking to her the other day and apparently things with the mare have been a down hill slide ever since. The mare spooks at anything and everything now to the point where nobody can stay on her. Not my friend, not her dad, and not her brother's significant other who trains, rodeo's and does barrel races for a living.

They're talking about sending the mare to a trainer now and then selling her. I was curious if any of you had any idea what could have happened to make the mare so spooky?



Return question: is she 'just' spooking or is she actively trying to get rid of people?


Sometimes, people just lose it for little or no reason. A chemical imbalance in the brain, for example, can cause someone to become paranoid. Perhaps something similar is happening with the mare.
It could be medical. Low or high blood sugar can cause irrationality. Any number of illnesses can cause pain, which will make any animal irritable. A tumor (God forbid) could mess with the brain.
It could be environmental. As an example; living next to a construction site could drive the poor thing to distraction (I know, it's not the case... just offering an extreme example).
Purposeful harm/torment could do it. Not accusing your friends of anything. Hired help, even a kid who makes a game of sneaking into the barn at night, could be messing with the horse. Likewise, if there's a grumpy dog in the area, that could create problems. My parents had a dog that was an absolute pain (because he was almost always in pain). They got another dog, and just thought that the second dog was a huge scaredy-cat. When the first dog passed away, the second became an entirely different creature.

In other words, without personally knowing the situation, I have no idea what could be the problem.


I'd say either she has learned that this behavior gets her out of working or her riders are not confident. It takes a lot of trust for a prey animal like a horse to let a predator on her back. A very young horse like that needs a strong leader. What breed is the mare? How experienced is your friend? Going from "Old Reliable" to a mere baby takes a major adjustment.

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