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The Scared Horse - Freeze

Have you ever had a horse panic ‘as if out of nowhere’? You have no idea where that came from and how it happened? If so, then it’s quite likely that you’ve experienced the explosion 💥 that can happen after a horse freezes.

This is the one that is so easy to miss and think the horse is fine because they are not showing the typical signs that we expect from a scared horse.

When a horse freezes it’s really easy to misread that as them being absolutely fine but there are some telltale signs that can help keep you safe. These are...

💥 Head high, with solid, tense neck muscles

💥 Eyes wide and staring

💥 Shallow breathing

Of these, the one I really pay attention to is the eyes 👀 When a horse is not blinking that’s a strong sign of tension and noticing just this one thing can make such a difference.

If you have a horse that’s gone into freeze the safest thing you can do is nothing, just wait until they come out of it. When a horse goes into this state they are experiencing extreme fear and if you try to wake them up out of it they can come out with a bang 🚀

Signs that your horse is coming out of freeze are

🦄 Blinking

💞 Lowering the head and relaxing the neck

🦄 Sighing and starting to breathe normally

💞 Licking and chewing

Freeze is only one of the modes of a scared horse, check out my other blogs on Flight & Fight to learn more


Before trying any training technique it is important to rule out pain or discomfort. Saddle fit, teeth, back, hoof balance and lameness issues should all be checked by a qualified professional before applying any training.

If you have questions or need idea's to help with a specific problem feel free to get in touch with me on


Lyla has been helping riders and their horses in the UK, USA and Europe for over 15 years. She has prepared horses for crowds of over 6,000 people with no calmers or ear plugs for venues including Birmingham NEC, Aintree, Bury Farm EC and Hartpury.

Lyla specialises in horse psychology and behaviour problems with a specific interest in dressage and has worked with horses from grass roots to Grand Prix across the UK and Europe including international competitors and Olympians from Spain, the US, Canada and the UK.

Email for more details.


All training techniques discussed are from experience only, it is impossible for to accurately advise on horse/rider combinations without seeing them live. Lyla Cansfield & Equine Mind & Body Training strongly advise anyone considering using any of the techniques discussed to get live help and can take no responsibility for the outcome of applying any of the techniques discussed with or without supervision. Riding is a high risk sport.


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