Don't Spook! Contest: Editors' Picks

Readers submitted photos and stories of different things that spook their horses.

Double Spook!

Congratulations to Sarah Borns, whose photo and story won our "Don't Spook!" Photo contest! The horses, Haley and Bullwinkle, spooked in unison while cross-country schooling.

Photo: Sarah Borns

Suspicious Shrubbery

"This is my OTTB, Mugs," Caren Cartwright said. "He is highly suspicious of the things he can see, but he is absolutely terrified of the things that he can't see. Horse-eating monsters live in the bushes, all bushes, even the potted shrubs set at the standards of jumps. Mugs is not a fan of shrubbery."

Photo: Caren Cartwright

Scary Road Signs

"Mr. XL is the calmest, kindest, most considerate horse I know," said Jana Mulacova. "I don't even know anyone who has ever fallen off of him. Nothing spooks him ... except white signs painted on the road—those are just insanely dangerous! Seen here in their natural habitat, cautiously approached by their arch-nemesis. Mr. XL is 27 years old and his spooking consists of freezing on spot and slowly turning his big head in order to look at the scary object with his other eye."

Photo: Jana Hucul Mulacova

Inflatable Dancing Man

"This photo is my mule, Cattle Kate, looking and deciding whether to spook or not at the wavy fan man obstacle at the Wylene Wilson Davis' obstacle training clinic June 2016," said Lila Wheatley. "She walked right up to it even though the fan made a loud noise and it kept moving/waving with the wind."

Photo: Lila Wheatley

The Scary Stablemate

"He spooks at the stablemate he loves," said Brittany McDonald.

Photo: Brittany McDonald

The Water Barrel

"Sage has spooked at the yellow hose, the blooming lilac bush, her own stall door after I repaired it, the fan in the window or the barn, and, most recently, five chickens outside the pasture down on the creek," said Chani Atrieadies. "This is her spooking at the water barrel that lives in that pen."

Photo: Chani Atrieadies

Jumps in the Arena

"This is my lovely mare 'Chloe' (show name Starfyire' Phoenix Rising) being a very good girl in warm up at her first show this year," said Mandy Endfinger. "Below is our arena at home which is part of the field she lives in half of the day. In the arena are the jumps that she spooks at. EVERY. SINGLE. RIDE. We having been focusing on flat work recently, so the jumps have not moved in several weeks. But she still gives them the stink eye when we ride out to warm up."

Photo: Mandy Endfinger

Crossing Water

"My horse doesn't spook at much, but the sight of water makes him turn the other direction," said Justine Knott. "It took a lot of hours to get him to go in. He still is unsure."

Photo: Justine Knott

Nature Can Be Scary, Too

"Knight Heir is an 18-year-old Saddlebred gelding, who, 13 years after we met, is still afraid of his own shadow," said Sarah Erush. "He's not afraid of any kind of vehicle, traffic, power tools, large machinery, or any kind of human hustle and bustle, unlike many spooky horses. However, nature absolutely sets him over the edge. Birds, squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, deer, wind in the trees, rain, sleet or snow in his face, spooky sounds at night, or frankly, the complete unknown."

Photo: Sarah Erush

Wild Animals

"My 29-year-old ranch horse playing 'I am just a tree, nothing to see here, you can't see me if I don't move' with a wild javelina," said Lisa Wolters-Broder.

Photo: Lisa Wolters-Broder

Watch for the Trolls!

"This was not the first time we jumped this fence, yet he still acted like there was a troll hiding under it," said Jessica Lynne.

Photo: Jessica Lynne