Horses are flight animals, which means that they will look for things to be afraid of it.
Being a flight animal also means that it will be quite obvious when they’ve found something to be afraid of, as their reaction will be to flee or get as far away from that thing as possible. Horses can be scared even of their owners when they make an uncalculated movement and have a behavior that the animal is not used to, and this can be deduced from the video when the horse perceived the woman as a danger and tries to defend and remove this obstacle. In such moments the horses become aggressive instinctively, that’s why we don’t even have to provoke a horse to be scared because they are still animals that respond to instincts.
Depending on the situation, horses can show fear physically as their eyes will widen, their nostrils will flare, and their necks will brace upward. Sometimes horses will physically shake out of fear or chew their bit to help ease their anxiety. Another way horses demonstrate fear is by trying to stay as far away from something as they can. A horse that is afraid will have a hard time standing still and calm.
When a horse acts in fear, they become very unpredictable. They may run into their handler, ignore the rider’s aids, and in cases of complete panic may even run through fences or crash into jumps. To keep ourselves and our horses safe, understanding fear, recognizing it, and looking to reduce or eliminate the fear while controlling the movement of the horse is critical.
Another reason why your horse may seem very skittish and easily afraid is that they don’t trust you and look to you as a leader. As herd animals, horses automatically want someone to look to as a leader.
Horses can learn to trust us if we are consistent and fair, and our relationship will certainly be much better if they form good associations with our presence instead of associating us with fear, pain, or tension. If your horse tends to shy away to the point that it’s become a habit, try desensitizing training with them. Desensitizing your horse helps them to learn to accept the object they may be afraid of this. You desensitize them by teaching them that the object isn’t anything to fear.