Bomb Proofing - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 19 Old 06-05-2012, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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Bomb Proofing

Hey guys!
So I'm riding a 6 year old Arabian gelding named Maverick who is very spooky! I'm going to be taking him to his first gymkhana on the 17th and up until then I'm looking into doing a bunch of bomb proofing with him so that he doesn't get me off during the gymkhana by spooking at a bag flying by or whatever. So I have many many ideas on what to do to help this but I'd like to hear yours!
Here are some of mine (in no order):
-make a big archway and hang streamers from it for him to walk through
-walk over a tarp
-rub a bag over him
-hang bags from a fence and walk him by it
-play a tambourine, maracca and some metal thing that makes a really CLANGy sound beside him
-throw a tennis birdie over his back to a friend
-walk him through four poles spaced close together
-walk him through barrels placed on their sides with poles ontop of them (like a pathway)
-walk him by a mirror
-kick an excersize ball around him and through his legs
-bounce a balloon on and off his back

I had a few more ideas that I can't think of right now. But anyway, what are your bomb proofing excersizes that may help me prepare for this gymkhana?

Thanks a lot!

Oh Cowgirl Up
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-05-2012, 12:43 AM
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subbing this thread for my sis :) while my 3yr and coming 2yr mares don't spook at ANYTHING! Her 5yr big baby gelding tries to take off when I pick up a shirt off the trailer. He was abused though.

Congrats on your gymkhana coming up! Best of luck!!

Tip:
What my sis did do , was tie a plastic bag to a lunge stick and dance it around him, between the legs and everything. We also built a bridge and have an old mattress for them to walk over. We'll also be able to toss a soccer ball back and forth over his back and then long ways, head to tail. And he's pretty good. She also go thim to where she can put a coat over his head.

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Last edited by WyomingSissy; 06-05-2012 at 12:46 AM.
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post #3 of 19 Old 06-05-2012, 12:51 AM
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While desensitizing is definitely needed, it doesn't come from only 'sacking out' your horse with objects. Confidence comes from building your relationship with your horse and becoming a leader. While it is great to test your horse's confidence by using objects, you will never expose your horse to everything it will encounter and it comes down to him trusting you or his confidence in himself. I have a crazy mare who has no confidence, but completely trusts me and will do something I ask her even if she is shaking inside....and I trust her completely since I know how she is always going to react...like a nut. I have two other horses who aren't very spooky at all, but have, on occasion spooked over something so small....but it is still important to have that same relationship with them to keep them confident.
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post #4 of 19 Old 06-05-2012, 01:08 AM
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You are desenetizing which is a good thing to do. But you will only get the real experience on the trails, it takes routine for the horse and a good relationship between rider and horse, trust each other and go miles and miles and miles, only that way you will make sure that your horse becomes safe and used to certain situations. But you sure listed some fun stuff up there which is a super good way to help getting rid of some spookyness!
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-05-2012, 02:34 AM
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As others have said, developing your relationship is key. I think you're likely to find however that helping him work through "scary" things like you've described is likely to build on that relationship. I've gentled my mustang colt from scratch... he has learned over time to trust me enough that there are fewer and fewer things he really worries over any more. It started with throwing ropes all over him every which way, then blankets, then tack, plastic bags, etc etc... just building building building. ;) It can be pretty fun!
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post #6 of 19 Old 06-05-2012, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WyomingSissy View Post
subbing this thread for my sis :) while my 3yr and coming 2yr mares don't spook at ANYTHING! Her 5yr big baby gelding tries to take off when I pick up a shirt off the trailer. He was abused though.

Congrats on your gymkhana coming up! Best of luck!!

Tip:
What my sis did do , was tie a plastic bag to a lunge stick and dance it around him, between the legs and everything. We also built a bridge and have an old mattress for them to walk over. We'll also be able to toss a soccer ball back and forth over his back and then long ways, head to tail. And he's pretty good. She also go thim to where she can put a coat over his head.
Thank you, I've been to many gymkhanas with my other horse Cheyenne but never with Maverick so we're just going to trot the patterns this time since he's never been to the show grounds. I don't want to stress him out either, he's only 6 years old.
Anyway, yeah I was planning on doing that too, waving it around him and rubbing it all over him :)
Thanks for the reply, good luck with your sister's horse :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldhorselady View Post
While desensitizing is definitely needed, it doesn't come from only 'sacking out' your horse with objects. Confidence comes from building your relationship with your horse and becoming a leader. While it is great to test your horse's confidence by using objects, you will never expose your horse to everything it will encounter and it comes down to him trusting you or his confidence in himself. I have a crazy mare who has no confidence, but completely trusts me and will do something I ask her even if she is shaking inside....and I trust her completely since I know how she is always going to react...like a nut. I have two other horses who aren't very spooky at all, but have, on occasion spooked over something so small....but it is still important to have that same relationship with them to keep them confident.
Good to keep in mind, thanks :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Island Horselover View Post
You are desenetizing which is a good thing to do. But you will only get the real experience on the trails, it takes routine for the horse and a good relationship between rider and horse, trust each other and go miles and miles and miles, only that way you will make sure that your horse becomes safe and used to certain situations. But you sure listed some fun stuff up there which is a super good way to help getting rid of some spookyness!
Yes, we've taken him on quite a few trail rides lately and he isn't really spooking at that anymore. The only thing is when a plastic bag flies by or whatever, he goes crazy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eolith View Post
As others have said, developing your relationship is key. I think you're likely to find however that helping him work through "scary" things like you've described is likely to build on that relationship. I've gentled my mustang colt from scratch... he has learned over time to trust me enough that there are fewer and fewer things he really worries over any more. It started with throwing ropes all over him every which way, then blankets, then tack, plastic bags, etc etc... just building building building. ;) It can be pretty fun!
haha yeah I can see it being fun, I'm going to be doing it with my friend so that'll make it even funner (I've made that a new word ;) ) and it'll be nice to have an assistant and she has loads of good ideas to use on him to help him get over his fears of strange objects :) and yes, I figure that'll help our relationship. Especially the tarp and walking through the streamers. He'll need to trust me to follow me through the blowing streamers :)

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post #7 of 19 Old 06-05-2012, 08:39 PM
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I am afraid you may, since you have a date in mind, push him too fast. This should have started a long time ago, IMO. If I were you, I would work with him, yes, and make as much progress as possible, but take him along fr the ride to the Gymkhana. Leave it up to him if he will compete. Do not try and rush this. Trust is everything. Hard to gain, quick to break.
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post #8 of 19 Old 06-05-2012, 09:48 PM
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Absolutely 110% agree with franknbeans.
A spooky horse needs miles under its belt and exposure to anything and everything. No amount of desensitizing to objects and noises at home will prepare the horse for the goings on at a competition.

My new boy is very spooky, he is scared of his own shadow. Look at him wrong and he leaps into your arms!
He is gradually improving as I have spent more time with him. Miles under saddle, getting to know that I'm not going to face him with anything that is going to hurt him, and knowing that I am the leader and will let him know if he needs to run or not, has helped immensely.
The more work you do with them, establishing your role as the leader of the pair, will help with spookiness. I took my gelding to his first dressage competition a few weeks ago, he's 10 years old and hadn't competed since he was 4. I expected him to be beside himself and that I would have to scratch and just let him get used to being out. But a couple of reminders that I was the one on top and controlling our actions, and he went around happy as larry, and won both tests on 69.8 and 69.2% respectively.

Miles, miles, miles and more miles!!!

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post #9 of 19 Old 06-05-2012, 09:54 PM
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to add to what every one else said. Some thing you can do when he is a bit less spooky, is tie plastic bags to him, the saddle, his bridle, you get the idea. Obviously you would build that up over time.

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post #10 of 19 Old 06-05-2012, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myhorsesonador View Post
to add to what every one else said. Some thing you can do when he is a bit less spooky, is tie plastic bags to him, the saddle, his bridle, you get the idea. Obviously you would build that up over time.
A looonnnggg way down the road. The last thing I personally would do to a spooky horse is tie stuff to them when you want them to trust you. I did not even read the list. Anything is a good idea, as long as you use the "approach-retreat" method. Tying stuff to the horse is a ways away, IMO> I would be doing stuff you can let go of easily.

Also-keep in mind that you can NEVER bombproof a horse. WHat you are doing is building trust and confidence. You will learn how he reacts when he is in fear mode, and how to deal with it. There is no way you can expose him to everything. He will learn to depend on you when he is afraid. Be the leader and be able to take away the scary thing as well as bring it.
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