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Desensitising Training- why the Brits do it

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  • Horse breaking - desenitisation to bags

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    11-07-2012, 04:27 PM
  #11
Trained
I do not like the term or idea of desensitising a horse. I prefer to give the horse emotional control. By doing this the horse learns how to handle pressure vs. just learning how to not be afraid of one thing in one area and one type of enviroment.
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    11-07-2012, 04:45 PM
  #12
Weanling
I can't understand why people over the pond think densensitising is so wrong. As I have said before, you need to train the horse to be safe within its own environment and the environment in which we use our horses in the UK is different to generic America. Now here is a point for discussion. The process of introducing the saddle, the bridle and a human rider is all about DESENSITISING the horse to those items. Can you imagine putting a saddle on a horse who has never experienced it and trying to ride him through it? You'd be on your backside quicker than you tried to get on your horse. So without knowing it, every single person who has backed a horse has practised densensitising. It is impossible to ride or train a horse without desensitising it in some form or another at some stage be it to saddles/humand/process of riding or the scary paper bag, totally and absolutely impossible. I think we need to define what "desensitising' actually means in its literal form. After all its only 1 word but means different things to different people. LOL
     
    11-07-2012, 04:48 PM
  #13
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by nrhareiner    
I do not like the term or idea of desensitising a horse. I prefer to give the horse emotional control. By doing this the horse learns how to handle pressure vs. just learning how to not be afraid of one thing in one area and one type of enviroment.
LOL, you give a horse 'emotional control' in a stressful or scary situation and I can guarantee the result. As a flight animal it will run away and if you are on its back, you go with it no matter how much you think your horse trusts you. Been there, tried that, didn't get a t-shirt but I got one helluva sore bum.
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    11-07-2012, 04:53 PM
  #14
Trained
A lot depends on how you define "desensitizing". Around where I'm at, judging from what people call desensitization training, it is creating a laundry list of things the horse is used to seeing. That doesn't work well when a javelina pops out in front of you for the first time, unless you have a pig farm where you can practice riding.

Also, some people seem to think it means making their horse freak out as opposed to raising and then lowering the stress level WITHOUT pushing the horse into a panic.

Good desensitizing means teaching the horse to handle fear in an acceptable manner (stopping instead of bolting, for example) and then looking to his rider for instruction. Done right, it is fantastic for a fearful horse. Done wrong, it will ruin a horse. IMHO - not a trainer, instructor, competitor or anything.
     
    11-07-2012, 04:55 PM
  #15
Trained
I think she meant it gives the horse control over its emotions...which is possible, at least to the point that the horse will look for an input from his rider before bolting - or "turn & burn" as I used to call it.
     
    11-07-2012, 05:04 PM
  #16
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebird    
LOL, you give a horse 'emotional control' in a stressful or scary situation and I can guarantee the result. As a flight animal it will run away and if you are on its back, you go with it no matter how much you think your horse trusts you. Been there, tried that, didn't get a t-shirt but I got one helluva sore bum.
You do not "give" a horse emotional control you teach them how to use their emotions or actually not use their emotions in all siturations. By doing this you teach a horse to think before they run off or do somthing stupid. Why have I never found my self on a run away horse? B/C I teach all my horses from day one to have emotional control. SO no matter what comes up they have learned to handle it. This is why I can take a reining horse and do reined cow horse with no extra work around cattle they have never seen before. Why I can then take that same horse and do Cowboy Mounted Shooting with them again with very little problems. No run off so bucking nothing. It is not that the horse trust me it is not that they have been desensitiesed to the guns and balloons but b/c the horse has been taught and contiunes to be taught to use emotional control vs just running off or bucking or what have you.
     
    11-07-2012, 05:11 PM
  #17
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebird    
I can't understand why people over the pond think densensitising is so wrong. As I have said before, you need to train the horse to be safe within its own environment and the environment in which we use our horses in the UK is different to generic America. Now here is a point for discussion. The process of introducing the saddle, the bridle and a human rider is all about DESENSITISING the horse to those items. Can you imagine putting a saddle on a horse who has never experienced it and trying to ride him through it? You'd be on your backside quicker than you tried to get on your horse. So without knowing it, every single person who has backed a horse has practised densensitising. It is impossible to ride or train a horse without desensitising it in some form or another at some stage be it to saddles/humand/process of riding or the scary paper bag, totally and absolutely impossible. I think we need to define what "desensitising' actually means in its literal form. After all its only 1 word but means different things to different people. LOL
Thing is it is not imposible. Do it all the time with horses who have been taught to use emotional control. I do not want a horse who is desenitised to things. I want a highly reactive horse to cues. So I want the horse to learn to in some ways to think about things and follow my lead at all times. I start new foals and keep teaching them this until the day they die. If all you do it each a horse not to be scared of bag at home then when you take the horse off your property that same bag will still scare them. If it is not a bag it could be the tarp on the fence or what ever is around. By teaching them emotional control it does not matter what or where. Their responce should always be the same.
     
    11-07-2012, 05:12 PM
  #18
Weanling
I think it's more about teaching a horse self control when under stress, than 'desensitising' them to certain objects in a certain environment.
     
    11-07-2012, 05:25 PM
  #19
Super Moderator
I don't really use the term desensitising, but understand what BlueBird is saying. If I have a green horse I would expose it to everything that I would expect to meet on a hack as I need to be able to be able to be in control out in public so as not to cause harm or danger to anyone else (or myself and the horse). I would spend time getting the horse familiar with all traffic, people, dogs, cows, birds in a reasonable safe environment before venturing on to busy public places. If I didn't do this then I think I would be socially irresponsible and liable if my horse was unsafe and caused problems to others. Of course they will always shy at something, but it is up to me to keep that to a minimum if it affects others (and over here, any riding out on hacks will involve others as our country is so small).

With reagards to "riding through" I think we all are capable of being forceful and using our bodies to control and encourage a horse to do as we wish, but sometimes that requires the space (for the horse to move) which may not be available. If my horse objects to something and arses about in the road, I cannot hold the traffic up while I deal with it and ride through, I will have to get out of the way.
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    11-07-2012, 07:07 PM
  #20
Super Moderator
I am in the UK and do not desensitise any of my horses. I teach them to trust me as their leader and that is good enough.

I can see no point in teaching a horse to walk on a tarp and taking ages for them to do it when, if they trust you, they will just follow you over it anyway.

Recently I have had three youngsters to start. They have never been off the place yet when I took them out on the roads for the first time - which happened to be a bad time because the farmers were silaging so heavy tractors and trailers were passing us in all directions. The worse that all three did was to look at a white 'SLOW' sign written on the road, they lowered their heads, had a good look and walked straight on. No traffic bothered them and I am sure the reason was because A) I never expected it to. B) They trust me. C) Life is easier for them pleasing me than not.

Some horses are more spooky than others and all I do with them is to make them go to whatever they are looking at and stand over it. Life gets boring for them if they spook so they don't bother.

I have, before now, thrown a polythene bale wrap over a weaner foal, yearling and two year old whilst they were all standing together in the loose shed. It covered their heads and necks and not one bothered to move.

I correct any unwanted behaviour instantly. I will not tolerate barging and they know it. They enjoy life and know the boundaries and want to please which earns them a good word or a scratch.
     

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