Bombproofing - Tips Wanted and Barbie Update - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-19-2010, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ashland, OR
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Bombproofing - Tips Wanted and Barbie Update

Hiya :)

So I have my three year old filly Barbie who I'm bombproofing right now. I am so proud of her, two days ago if you even thought about putting a garbage bag near her she freaked but today I took a bag on a stick and just let her freak out. By the end of the session I could put th bag on her head without her even flinching. I'm very excited :)

So now, I want to hear your tips! ^^

My Tip:

Tunnel Of Terror

My trainer has a maze she sets up once a year in her arena that i basically a bunch of black plastic walls with various obstacles. Gates at either end of the maze, skeletons that jump out at you, logs to cross, briges, plastic bags that wave, flashing lights, bubble wrap, bailing twine, barrels to hop over, etc. Anything you can think of she has. If your horse can make it through without even gawking at anything, she buys you a new breastcollar that says "My horse survived the Tunnel Of Terror" lol.

Unfortunately for me the tunnel isn't up right now :( So I'm looking for new ideas ^^

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-19-2010, 12:25 AM
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Well, I ride my mare through town...and it's not a 'small unbusy' town either...lots of cars, underpasses, noisy stuff, over wooden bridges, noisy metal bridges, etc...don't think you can get any more 'terrifying' than that, hahahaha.

But I just do everything and anything I can do from the ground with a horse...will do sending exercises, over and through stuff, use plastic bags, noisy bottles on fences, etc, to help them become more 'thinking' minded, rather than reactively minded.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-19-2010, 04:08 AM
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I like the breastcollar prize…but I wouldn't want anything written on it.

There is no such thing as a bombproof horse, only bombproof riders. Personally, I think the best way to "bombproof" a horse is to ride it - everywhere you can.
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-19-2010, 06:54 AM
Green Broke
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I agree. But wow what a set up. I would love to make such a thing. I can use some of those ideas but flashing lights? Its nice for any horse.
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-19-2010, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Horse Poor View Post
There is no such thing as a bombproof horse, only bombproof riders. Personally, I think the best way to "bombproof" a horse is to ride it - everywhere you can.
Although many folks say there is no such thing as a bombproof horse, there are some that come extremely close.

In my experience, the two most important factors are:

1) Experience, which is a combination of age, miles under saddle, and having been ridden in a lot of different environments (e.g. trails, roads, neighberhoods, wind, rain, snow, etc., etc.).

2) Disposition. Some horses just 'have it' and some don't and although you can work a lot of the spook out of most, it's may never be quite gone, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Keep in mind that desensitizing at the barn/in the arena is a great start, but the horse still has the 1) comfort of home, 2) no rider to think about (assuming you are doing this as groundwork) and 3) probably buddies around. When on the trail, with a rider, and no buddies around, don't expect your horse to react to your monsters the same way it does in the arena...the real world is different every ride, and only many, many miles under saddle will get you to that point.

Good luck!

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-19-2010, 08:53 AM
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I bet our little three month old filly is going to be as close to bomb proof as a horse can get with a little time. Nothing spooks her. Her Auntie Mystie can be coming unglued and Rain just looks at her like she's nuts.

We don't baby Rain - and will be taking her with us when we ride on the property. The more she can experience, the better. You can make all the scary mazes you want to and while it will help, it's not perfect. It would turn my daughter's horse into a real basket case. If Rain is going to be bomb proof, and Dancer seems to be nearly there already...Mystie is the bomb and has a hair trigger!

Plain Old Dee, horses Dancer and Rain

I believe in dragons, unicorns, good men and other mythical creatures!
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post #7 of 15 Old 10-19-2010, 09:32 AM
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We have a young mare who we used to work on with a flag. Wave the flag all around her and then as soon as she stops running away we'd take the flag away and give her a treat.

We'd also put her feed in her stall and then put a tarp or rug in the doorway that she'd have to step on in order to get to her food. Food is such a great motivator.
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-19-2010, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares View Post
Although many folks say there is no such thing as a bombproof horse, there are some that come extremely close.

Close is not 'bombproof'.

There is no such thing. Horses can see, hear, smell and feel. They have good days and bad days.

No such thing as a bombproof rider either! My friends horse spooked on trail last weekend. The mare did a very nice sweep (she is a cow horse) towards my guy. I jumped. My horse kept walking along as if nothing happened.
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-19-2010, 10:14 AM
Green Broke
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I always wince a bit when I hear that phrase used. While I understand what is meant by it, I have to agree with HorsePoor and MLS.

For an example, you can fire a black powder gun (very , very loud) right next to my two horses and they will not react. They are very accustomed to rifle fire. Out on a trail ride, someone started shooting (they were target practicing), and my horse didn't even flinch a muscle. However, same horse seeing a wrapped round hay bale in a field, will give it her FULL attention!

Like PaintedHorseMares said, expose them to as much as possible, get those saddle blankets wet. While mine will still notice something new, they will not react in a HUGE way. Partly due to their own calm temperaments, and partly because they are ridden much.

My friend rides a very reactive little mare. She has done wonderfully this riding season, partly due to the amount of riding, and partly due to the relaxed attitude of her rider. He doesn't worry about much. However, he is ready to counter whatever may happen due to her reaction to something.

I look at anything new as an opportunity to train. Whether it's those dreaded white covered hay horse eating monsters in the field, or an annoying dog on the trail. Maybe because I stay calm and focused, they pick up on my energy. Who knows.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!".
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-19-2010, 02:28 PM
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That maze idea is fantastic - that would be so much fun!

With my boy I just take every opportunity I see to show him new things. For instance, right now there is construction right at the front of the property - they are putting new waterlines in or something like that. So, instead of waiting for them to quiet down and be done, I go and ride him in the arena that is right beside the road where they're working. Lucky for me, he takes everything like a champ.
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