On Sunday John decided he was petrified of sparrows. The small ones that perch on pricker bushes and shrubs along stone walls. They probably weigh six ounces and I am sure John could seriously injure one by swinging his tail.
However, John was convinced that they were deadly monsters and that our only safe option was for him to spin and gallop off in the opposite direction.
I didn't take him very seriously though. You see, when he decided that sparrows were deadly, we had already been riding for 45 minutes and were on our way home. We had also seen about 100 of these sparrows so far on the ride (benefit of living on a dairy farm with woods - there is plenty of wildlife).
The other problem with John's "fear" is that two fencelines of his pasture border woods - he has lots of these sparrows out in his field every day.
I think John was bored. But his solution was not something I want to "train" into him by ignoring.
So we kept circling back past the "scary" sparrows until he could walk calmly past them. We halted and I rocked his neck back and forth and then we would walk some. When we were safely past them, we turned around and headed back down the farm road to do it again.
Interestingly enough, the sparrows are not scary when we are headed away from the barn, only when we turned towards home.
He finally walked calmly past them. Hopefully when we go back out, the sparrows will not be an issue. But I'm sure he will think of something else :)