Desensitizing suggestions... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-29-2009, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Desensitizing suggestions...

Hello everyone! I'm desensitizing my horse and i just started a few hrs ago. I started with the whip and she was perfectly fine with it. I could twirl it over her head, to either side of her, whip it to either side of her with her in front of me making sure it snapped, and more with it. I decided to try the plastic bag trick. I held it and she thought it was treats, i rubbed it all over her starting off with it balled up in my hand than completely opened up...she was fine with it ( a little head shy with it but not bad). I tied it to the end of another whip, and lets just say it was a nightmare! However, i could twirl it over mine and her head (she was fine) i could twirl it on either side of her and she was alright with it but not comfortable. I swished it back and forth on the ground than got closer to her and she freaked out and bucked and kicked and i didnt stop till she stopped but im not sure i did it right because we kinda go further away from eachother and it was a little bit farther away when she stopped. How should i go about this part without her freaking out so bad? I know shes going to get scared of it but i'm not sure if i should just keep doing it till shes fine with it, or if i should start off a little slower? Thank you SoOOOOO much
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-29-2009, 05:54 PM
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Try some of John Lyons' techniques. Take a broom handle, take the broom off of it, and attach a glove to it so it looks somewhat like an arm and a hand. Then, with your horse on a lead line (I like using rope halters when training) start with rubbing the "hand and arm" over your horse's shoulders, down his legs, around his feet, etc. Then put a plastic bag on the hand and get him accustomed to it that way. Go about it the same way: rub the bag on him lightly, over his shoulders, on the ground in front of him, etc.
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-29-2009, 05:54 PM
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With the hand on the stick, if the horse happens to spook again, he'll hurt the stick and not you. Then he'll see that you're persistent with it
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-29-2009, 06:02 PM
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I remember someone telling me that they put a couple of horses in the ring, and toss tennis balls at the horses and let them bounce around. Just an idea.
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-29-2009, 06:37 PM
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Take the bag on the stick and move away from your horse. If she follows, then just let her catch up with the bag a look it over while you're moving away. Horses are much less scared and more curious of objects moving away from them. If she doesn't follow then pick up the lead rope and lead her on the end of it. If she is "freaking out" then you need to move further away and start slower.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-29-2009, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of your comments i greatly appreciate it, she is quite a spooky horse.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-29-2009, 08:01 PM
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I did the plastic bag on the end of a dressage whip also. Nothing. Then I tried pool noodles. Got a little jerk of the head, but that was all. Rubbed him all over with those pool noodles. Then we bounced a ball around until he settled, then I bounced it gently against his body, between his feet, etc.

So now he's not afraid of bags, pool noodles or balls but he'll spook at birds and butterflies. Go figure.

Laura
"When you're young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you're my age, you splatter." -- Roy Rogers
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post #8 of 17 Old 10-29-2009, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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lol thats funny Ridesapaintedpony!! I will work with my little spooky girl for sure, and i will make sure that she gets used to that "big scary bag!" lol She definitley hates it when it goes anywhere under her, or by her legs which means when we make it to the tarp some time soon, thats going to be fun!!
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-29-2009, 11:02 PM
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hahaha that's just something he'll have to get used to
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-29-2009, 11:06 PM
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i usually use a tarp. i let them see it a few times, but take it away when they relax. then i start by having it touch their shoulder, & dont take it off til they relax. then once i can do that with them relaxing right away i start moving it other places on their body, & take it off when they relax. then tap it all over their body until they are relaxed when i do it everywhere. then i usually throw it over their back until they relax then take it off =] it teaches them the response you want, to relax, not freak out. they learn this when the spooky object stays while they are spooking then goes away when they relax

Gypsy & Scout <3
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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