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despooking and bombproofing...

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  • Leg aids for despooking a horse
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    03-22-2011, 08:19 PM
  #21
Trained
Huh...didn't realize I'd even given any advice on how to desensitize in this thread. Just that I DO desensitize, and sensitize, and why.

Anyway...I start with simply walking away from the horse (horse on lead, to follow) with the object I am desensitizing to, and go from there, so lovedone is spot on there. Then turn around, and desensitize the air around horse, and eventually the horse to the object. May take the horse 5 minutes, or 5 sessions to fully become comfortable with a new object, but don't give up just because he doesn't like it at first, just progress a little slower (say spend a little more time on the first stage, before moving onto the next...)
     
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    03-23-2011, 11:51 PM
  #22
Foal
The loved one: no, he is always very alert, and we have been slowly getting him used to things we notice spook him more than other, that and trying to work on the whole "trust" thing, which is the reason I was wondering, If I do a "trust exercise" then introduce things he doesnt like if that's detremental to our training. If its likely (as I know all horses are different) to next time think WAIT a minute I trusted her and she made me walk on that noisy blue thing I hate".. or more of a "well last time it wasnt so bad it didnt kill me this time wont be bad" I know theres different methods bla bla bla I just don't want to do ANYthing to "ruin" him, or make it so he's just a pretty little pasture horse with potential sitting, because he's spooky or gosy
PAlomino Brigade: Thanks for te confidence boost! All I keep hearing is "wow for a 4 year odl he's behind" that made me feel alot better!
Mom2pride: We've started lunging with leaving things in the arena (we don't have a round pen anymore), before he wouldnt walk NEAR the barrels without pulling or trying to get away, and now he'll lunge around them and has even walked up to them to drink from them. Is that the kind of thing you mean by slow introduction?
     
    03-24-2011, 12:27 AM
  #23
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2pride    
Considering it's your body language that tells a horse he needs to move or not, you should not be concerned about him being 'used' to whips, sticks and strings, and the like...I personally do not want ANY of the horses I work with to be afraid of my tools; so I desensitize. But I also want them to be sensitized to them as well (ie, respect them)...your body language is either passive (for desensitizing; telling him to stand there and relax) or active (for sensitizing; telling him to move his feet, or a certain part of his body)...so the horse WILL learn the difference if you use your body correctly to convey what you want of him. That's just my personal take on it.
So when I am riding, he is looking for my body language and I don't need to use a whip if he is not listening to my leg?

I want them to respect the tool too, but what does that really mean? I don't beat my horse, so he isn't shaking when I bring out a whip, but a whip certainly stings so isn't respect similar to fear? A horse should move off the leg aid so they don't feel the whip - is this respect or they don't want to feel the sting, ie. Fear of the sting?

I think we get too caught up in the buzz words of the moment, when it is not accurate. Horses don't want to hurt, and a whip when used does somewhat. It is not about respect for a tool it is about not wanting to be hurt. I use a whip, but I am not confused about its purpose.
     
    03-24-2011, 12:35 AM
  #24
Trained
Kind of yes...if that is what is working for your guy then go with it. Maybe just spend more time each time, especially since he's had alot of time near certain things already... The more he seems to get used to something, just spend a little more time there each time, and then start introducing something else, or start shifting that 'old' object to new areas. I find that NOT focusing on large objects (the stuff you can't lift to desensitize too, haha), is the easiest way to get them used to it...just spend alot of time near it.

When I work with a horse and find something that bothers them...say a new ground pole in the arena, I will just work near it; not even focus on getting the horse over it, or even trying to get him to sniff it...just focus on what I am doing with him; maybe I am lungeing, or doing sending exercises, or whatever. Eventually, because I, myself, have given no reason to fear the object, the horse starts gradually going closer and closer without me really even having to force him...I just find that I can just start sending him closer and he just isn't bothered.

There are SO many ways you can desensitize a horse to things, so you've really just got to figure out what will work for your horse, and go with it...it sounds like the more confidence you have, the more this horse will have, so definitely focus on how you are acting and feeling around things that have made him react previously...if you are at all 'expecting' him to react, he will...act like it's no big deal, and just do some exercises near it, and I bet you will find he will stop reacting so much to silly things.
     
    03-24-2011, 12:49 AM
  #25
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexS    
So when I am riding, he is looking for my body language and I don't need to use a whip if he is not listening to my leg?

I want them to respect the tool too, but what does that really mean? I don't beat my horse, so he isn't shaking when I bring out a whip, but a whip certainly stings so isn't respect similar to fear? A horse should move off the leg aid so they don't feel the whip - is this respect or they don't want to feel the sting, ie. Fear of the sting?

I think we get too caught up in the buzz words of the moment, when it is not accurate. Horses don't want to hurt, and a whip when used does somewhat. It is not about respect for a tool it is about not wanting to be hurt. I use a whip, but I am not confused about its purpose.
Hmmm...not really sure how to answer this one, since I rarely ever have to use a whip, or spur when I ride. I've only ever had to use either on a few occasions to 'wake' a dull horse up, so they would soften to my cues, and then they were dropped. The horse is given soft cues to respond to, long before I ever have to consider going to a crop; and "most" respond to those, and you rarely ever have to resort to other aids.

Yes, a horse should move off the leg, but is this your first cue, second cue, or your only cue? My horses get a shift in my body, and a click or kiss before they ever feel my leg...and my current mare rarely ever has to feel my leg, and I've never had to use a crop on her. A horse will respond to your body undersaddle too, so yes, he should be looking for your body shift in position, long before he has to feel the crop. I look at crops, the same as I do spurs...they should be used as a temporary aid, and dropped when the horse responds to more subtle cues.

I understand what you are saying about the whip, but really, how much pain can it inflict on a horse (when used in responsible hands), when they can whollop one another in the pasture without so much as a grimace? I am not confused on what a whip does (enhances cues), but I do not think it is a tool that inflicts alot of pain on a horse. Maybe a slight discomfort, but unless your talking about someone really laying into the horse, definitely not much.
     
    03-24-2011, 01:25 AM
  #26
Banned
Hmmmm.

If a whip means nothing why do they respond to it? Have you hit yourself with a whip, you feel it, a horse knows when a fly lands on them.

I am not in doubt that a whip is felt by a horse and this is why they respond to it, this is not them responding to a tool, this is them responding to not wanting to be hurt again.


I never rode with a whip before my current horse, but he is bone idol, he drags his rear feet when he moves (no medical issues, has x-rays and ultrasounds done) he is just lazy. He doesn't want to move and he doesn't want to move forward, in his mind he is already moving. Of course I move my seat while asking for the cue. He is just lazy.

Have you never ridden a lesson horse like this?
     
    03-24-2011, 01:36 AM
  #27
Banned
Apologizing for the double post.

So please explain to me how desensitize a horse to a whip works, if you still use a whip?

I think you are not teaching a horse to fear it, then they at some point get a whap, what does that mean to the horse. I as a human would lose ALL trust, I would not trust a single thing you taught me. I would doubt everything as you proved yourself to be untrustworthy.

NH stuff is useful, and while it is not for me, I am not against it - but it surely has to make sense.
     
    03-24-2011, 02:16 AM
  #28
Yearling
OK the whip topic was started by the idea of "cracking a whip" to desensitize for sound. (actually I think it was started as a joke, but) - Now you're talking about using it ON the horse. Different things. And I assume different whips. (lunge whip vs. riding crop) So these arguments are off track a little bit.
Either way, a smart horse should know the difference. "I get a tap from a riding crop, I better get my butt in gear." - "My human is cracking the lunge whip for no reason again. Meh." or 'using the lunge whip while asking me to move. I better go.'
     
    03-24-2011, 04:04 AM
  #29
Weanling
The whip is an artificial aid used to reinforce a natural aid. If your natural aids are saying "stand still and relax" then you should be able to crack a whip off your horses back with the horse happily standing still and relaxing.

There's also the argument of response vs reaction. If you havent desensitized the horse to the whip then odds are your getting flight reactions (run away from that) rather than "knowledgable" responses (i know what to do when that happens)

Alexs, respect and fear are very different. Respect is knowing what something/someone can do and knowing when to avoid it. Fear is not knowing what something/someone can do therefore avoiding it at all costs.

Quote:
I think you are not teaching a horse to fear it, then they at some point get a whap, what does that mean to the horse. I as a human would lose ALL trust, I would not trust a single thing you taught me. I would doubt everything as you proved yourself to be untrustworthy.
it doesn't teach the horse to lose trust, it teaches the horse to look more closely for other, more subtle cues.

If anything this proves that you are actually more trustworthy. "if you say stand still, I can trust you can swing that whip around me without hurting me" "if you say go, I can trust that you will back it up with that whip"
The variable there isn't the whip or how much the whip hurts or whatever, the variable is what the human and leader said to the horse in the first place.
     
    03-24-2011, 04:24 AM
  #30
Weanling
It's the same difference between mutual grooming and biting. Horses chew eachother fine, using the teeth. But when the ears go back the other horse knows it has to move otherwise it's going to get the teeth. Both are uses of teeth, but only one is done with assertion. This establishes a language of mental dominance rather than physical dominance, as it somewhat takes the teeth out of the picture and makes it more about what body language is used before it gets to the point where they need to use their teeth.
Humans can use whips in the same way
     

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