Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Central Western NSW, Australia
Desensitizing in the horse world is a very diverse word, and I can't help but feel that the majority of you are taking it in the most direct sense. Desensitizing in my mind, is the same as putting the saddle on the horse a couple times before you jump on and go for the first ride. It's a way of building trust in the horse, showing them that yes, this seems scary, but see, it's okay, you can trust me.
Like Schulz says, introducing blankets works wonders as it also gets the horse used to being touched in odd places. Like TimeFlys said, it can help prevent a lot of accidents. I wore a vest on a cold day near my breaker, moved a certain way and it rustled. She freaked. So I settled her and repeated the sound. After a couple of times, she couldn't care less.
And in this sense, I don't think anyone can say that they don't desensitize their horse. You all ease a horse into a halter, into the bit, under the saddle. These days, that all falls under desensitizing.
And let me just say that desensitizing may play a part in a lot of NH, but you don't have to support NH to use it. I myself think Parelli and such can cause more harm than good, but desensitizing is one thing that I cannot fault.