Are there many "gun-shy" horses out there???

Help Support Ruger Forum:

BearHawk 357

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
249
Location
Ohio
You might ask why this question would fit into the revolver section of this forum. I guess it's because I am thinking about getting into mounted shooting and would like to use my Vaqueros. In the movies (and real life) it seems that most people who have shot a handgun, while riding a horse, have been packing a revolver, for the most part.

Here is my question: If I buy a horse should I check to see if it will flip out, if near gunfire, before I buy one? Can a horse even be gun-shy? It seems as if though many horses don't mind gun fire all that much. I know that there are some dogs that can never be broken of this "condition" no matter how good the level of training is. It would really suck to pay for a horse just to find out that it won't allow you to use it for mounted CAS.

I know that I have tons of things to learn first before I buy a CAS horse. However, you have to start somewhere, right? This is just the first, of many questions, that has come to mind. Thanks in advance for what I see as being an interesting topic for learning/debate.
 

Elmer

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
30
Location
NE
I grew up riding and caring for horses. I would think that most horses would need to be "gun-broke" to be managable around gunfire just like they usually need to be "traffic-broke" before being ridden on or near public roads. They are naturally skittish animals and need to be trained properly for the environments they will operate in. If you are new to horses, you might want to get one already trained for CAS work, or hire someone to train it.
 

AzRebel

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
216
Location
Next to the creek, under a pine
On this issue, there are two kinds of horses; those that are "gun broke", and those that aren't.

If they haven't been broke to the sound of gunfire, then they're going to be gun shy. It's a natural thing, and you can break them from it with a bit of effort.

Start by having someone near them, while another goes off a ways with a light caliber rifle (.22 LR to start with). Get closer as they get use to it, and then move up to a louder firearm.

You'll want to do this very gradually, letting the person with them calm them back down before you shoot again. The person with the horse should show no detectable reaction to the shot.

Baby steps in progress are key, and work at it daily until they don't react to the shot. Always end the training session on a good note, with both horse and trainer on good terms. If necessary, take them out for a slow ride to calm their nerves before finishing. If they're jumpy, take 'em out for a ride beforehand, too.

Or, if you shoot just before feeding, they'll most-times learn to associate the shot with getting something to eat. Not a bad thing if you ever lose your horse out in the hills, BTW.

Daryl
 

BearHawk 357

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
249
Location
Ohio
I am somewhat new to horse ownership. When I got out of the service my ex-wife and I lived in a house that her parents had just recently picked up. The previous owners of the house left a horse in the barn and told us that they would be coming back to get it within a respectable amount of time. The thing is....they didn'y come back out after it for quite some time. I kind of started to get attached to the old guy as time went on.

It was kind of a funny horse. We left the barn doors open 24 hours a day and it never went outside except for at night. I never once saw it outside of the barn. I just knew that it went out by seeing some droppings from time-to-time. This happened about 9 years ago.

Anyway, I have a lot of friends and family members who have horses. So, my plan is to board with a stable, that is located, nearby my house. I live in rural Ohio (in Amish country). So, there are plenty of good resources nearby, for horses, that are available for me to use.

It's hard to get the thought out of my head, of what it would feel like, to ride a horse with a couple of nice Vaqueros strapped to my waist, ya know?
 

BearHawk 357

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
249
Location
Ohio
AzRebel,

Wow, that was an awesome post, buddy. Lots of good useful information in there. Thanks a lot for the great training approach ideas.

Oh, and the visual image of wandering around the pasture, firing blanks up in the air, to get your lost horse back is priceless. This reminds me of a couple times when my rabbit beagles took off, paying no mind to my commands.....some of us have been there. It's kind of hard to forget some of these moments in life (not that I want to forget them).

:)
 

ndcowboy

Blackhawk
Joined
Jan 24, 2005
Messages
836
Location
Washburn, ND USA
I seem to pretty much agree with what has been said. All horses are gun shy until they get used to guns. It is in their biological makeup - much like a deer, coyote, etc will run when there is a gunshot.
 

Chief 101

Hunter
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Messages
2,187
Location
Idaho
Horses have very good and sensitive hearing..if you are not going to use earmuffs on the steed you are riding when you shoot at least use the quietest loads possible. Oh yea, and find yourself a good "horse trainer".
Chief aka Maxx Load
 

BearHawk 357

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
249
Location
Ohio
Mounted shooters, in CAS, use 45 colt cases that are just blanks. The debris and burnt powder from the blank cart. is enough to break a balloon (which balloons are the targets in this sport). The ammo will not throw any debris any further than say 20 feet. This keeps nearby onlookers safe from any friendly-fire issues. There simply is no friendly-fire.

Now, with that being explained....it's safe to say that the blanks are not going to be that loud as compared to full-house projectile loads. However, they would probably still be loud enough to spook a horse that is "virgin" to any type of shooting. I'm not sure if the use of earmuffs would ever be warrented, IMHO. I have never even heard of earmuffs for horses. We have a ton of horses, in my area, that share public streets with motor vehicles (Amish country). They sometimes use blinders, that block the peripheral vision of the horses, while out on the open roads.

I'll have to do some research on ear muffs for horses. I'm not saying that they are pointless or silly (and I'm not saying that they aren't either). I have just never heard of them. Thanks for the respose, though.
 

RonEgg

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 26, 2007
Messages
950
Location
East Texas
I think I have seen, somewhere, the use of ear plugs for horses. Not sure what the "stuffing" was but they looked like they were covered in panty hose for the outer layer. Wyandot Jim will probably know. Don't know if he rides in his events, but he would have been around competitors that do.
 

AzRebel

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
216
Location
Next to the creek, under a pine
BearHawk 357":26h1w88l said:
AzRebel,

Wow, that was an awesome post, buddy. Lots of good useful information in there. Thanks a lot for the great training approach ideas.

Oh, and the visual image of wandering around the pasture, firing blanks up in the air, to get your lost horse back is priceless. This reminds me of a couple times when my rabbit beagles took off, paying no mind to my commands.....some of us have been there. It's kind of hard to forget some of these moments in life (not that I want to forget them).

:)

Sarcasm is hard to read in some posts, and I'm not exactly sure how to take your post. So, I'll simply respond with a fond memory of my own. it's particularly fond for me now, because my dad passed almost three years ago, and Gus was sold to a gal in Phoenix for fear he'd kill dad's miniature wiener dog "Abby". As a matter of fact, Abby was even recently put down, since she was full of cancer.

Anyway, dad had an ornery cuss of a mule named "Gus". Now ol' Gus was just a smallish, ordinary looking mule, but he was anything but ordinary. He seemed to have a bit of magician in him, and a mighty wide streak of orneriness.

I remember once being up near Big Lake on road 409 when a rancher pulled up and started gathering cattle. Gus watched as the old fellar pushed cattle out of the pines and into the meadow. After an hour or so of that, Gus took to 'em like a well trained cutting horse; 'cept ol' Gus was cuttin' and scatterin', rather than gatherin'. Sure ticked off that rancher, 'specially when Gus took to his dog, ran it under rthe truck, and wouldn't let it out to help gather the cattle back up.

On another elk hunt, he managed to untie himself (He loved to untie knots in ropes). Not only did he untie his own tie-rope, but he went around and turned all the other horses and mules loose, too. Now, they were loose in national forest, and could go just about as far as they wanted in any direction. That was a problem, since they could travel cross-country faster than we could. To be honest, I'm not sure if it was the shot or the sound of the grain can, but ol' Gus really had a weak spot for his grain. He came a floggin' it back to the trailer, leading the pack of other critters right back where they belonged.

Another time we were up on Rattlesnake Ranch, just south of Blue Vista, and Gus managed to jimmy the gate to let most of the other critters out with him. By the time we noticed them missing, they were gone. Now, Rattlesnake Ranch takes up some of the more rugged country Arizona has to offer. Most of it stands on end, and it takes up about 43 square miles on a map. Laid out flat, it'd take up at least 3 times that much. It's mighty pretty country, but no place to walk around in looking for a crazy mule. We were there to gather cattle with Troy, and he was fit to be tied 'cause it wasn't going to happen without those animals. So, once again Gus' fondness for barley brought him back, again leading the pack.

While it may seem laughable, and even a bit crazy in a strange sorta way, there's a few tricks to training critters. If a fella's going to keep equine critters, he'd be well advised to learn some of 'em.

A little know-how helps, too. There was a gal up the road at the feed store not long ago who was having a bit of trouble loading a horse she'd just aquired. There was maybe seven of them trying to load that critter, and they'd been there for something like six hours. It broke one of my ropes (stinkin' plastic junk they make these days), so I got another, older and better one out. I only stand about 5'7", and weigh around 140 lbs, and they didn't think I could do it, but I had that horse in the trailer in under a minute on the next try. My granddad taught me about horses, and my dad taught me about mules. I hope I was a good student, 'cause neither of them is here to teach me such things any more.

And I miss 'em both a lot.

Daryl
 

BearHawk 357

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
249
Location
Ohio
Just for the record....I was speaking 100% from the heart when I said that I thought that your post was awesome.

I really did enjoy your first post (and your second). Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us.

You are right about sarcasm being hard to detect sometimes, though. I think we probably loose each other, in our translations, all the time. I guess it just happens on these forums from time-to-time. Anyway, back on topic........
 

buckeyeshooter

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
732
Location
Ohio
I think there will be some horses that will be easier to break for gunfire and some that can never be broken. You need to be positive you get a calm horse as oppossed to one that is high strung. I think it will be a challenge to get one used to gunfire, but as long as you shoot to the side at 90 degrees or to the rear, it can be done.
 

caryc

Hawkeye
Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Messages
6,536
Horses can get real expensive real fast. Enough said, just be ready. They're not as tough as some people may think.

Feed care
Vet care
Farrier care
Tack
Corrals
Weather shelter
 

buckeyeshooter

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
732
Location
Ohio
caryc":23p6vhwj said:
Horses can get real expensive real fast. Enough said, just be ready. They're not as tough as some people may think.

Feed care
Vet care
Farrier care
Tack
Corrals
Weather shelter


No truer words have ever been spoken!
 

AKGrouch

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
89
Location
Anchorage, Alaska
A horse is no different than a young lab or chessie you hope to train to hunt. Take that pup to the range, set it down, and start blasting. You will immediately see how quick the pup can pee, cower and flee. The horse is the same way. Break a horse into gun fire slowly, not by firing the belch fire over its ears and it will serve you well. I personally would ask if the horse is gun shy. If they say no, try it out. If they say yes, you know what you have facing you. Regardless I would try a shot at a bit of distance and watch the horse closely before I bought it. Find out there is a big problem while at their barn, not yours. :)

There's alot of good advice in AzRebel's post.....I bet he's trained gun dogs too.... :) Just remember you have to have patience. It's baby steps forward and giant leaps back, coupled with attrition in training dogs and that's what AzRebel described.
 

AzRebel

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
216
Location
Next to the creek, under a pine
caryc":1qbpzlex said:
Horses can get real expensive real fast. Enough said, just be ready. They're not as tough as some people may think.

Feed care
Vet care
Farrier care
Tack
Corrals
Weather shelter

Yep. And don't forget about a horse trailer, a truck if you don't have one that can pull it. For longer trips you might want to invest in a stock trailer with living quarters, but they aren't cheap.

Then there's your shootin' irons, cowboy garb, and so forth.

Seriously, it can become a way of life (and probably should if you get into it). It takes some dedication, but it can also be rewarding in it's own way.

Nothing's cheap any more, that's for sure.

Daryl
 

AzRebel

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
216
Location
Next to the creek, under a pine
BearHawk 357":1hch1bzy said:
Just for the record....I was speaking 100% from the heart when I said that I thought that your post was awesome.

I really did enjoy your first post (and your second). Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us.

You are right about sarcasm being hard to detect sometimes, though. I think we probably loose each other, in our translations, all the time. I guess it just happens on these forums from time-to-time. Anyway, back on topic........

Thank you sir. :)

Daryl
 

45Colt_Man

Blackhawk
Joined
Jun 14, 2003
Messages
570
Location
Greybull, WY USA
These damn hayburners my wife has, jump and run all around the corrals whenever I step outside and shoot. I would not attempt to shoot off a horse without training it first. This from a man who walks home most times he gets on a horse without shooting. :lol:

Dana
 

JohnW

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
83
Location
Gasconade County, MO
Considering how my wife's horse (13 year-old fox trotter gelding) reacts around July 4th, firing a gun while sitting on his back would likely result in him going into a low-earth orbit, and me just crashing to earth.
 

7p's

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Messages
189
Location
North Dakota
Caryc's post is well worth a second thought, as a horse is more expensive than a teenage daughter. Even when you think you have a well trained and "gun broke" pony you'll still wind up on the ground a time or two when you let one fly and catch the horse off-guard. Unintentional dismounting has never been an enjoyable experience past the age of 40.
 
Top