Developing Your Horse's Emotional Control Vs. Desensitizing - Page 2

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Developing Your Horse's Emotional Control Vs. Desensitizing

This is a discussion on Developing Your Horse's Emotional Control Vs. Desensitizing within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    03-02-2013, 11:51 PM
Sounds like we're all on the same page about emotional control. Teaching a horse how to manage it's fear is much different than making it dull to stimulus (desensitizing). The former can only be done with miles and consistent confidence building. I do find the rider plays an important part. In my horse's case, things he would have tried to bolt from a few years ago, he will now stand and face and try to manage his fear rather than running, but you better believe he's got one ear back on my asking for guideance. If I don't provide an immediate response on "stay or go", in his eyes he's free to make that call.
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    03-03-2013, 12:42 AM
IMHO, desensitizing is a tool used to help gain emotional control. Like Crone and OVO said, desensitizing is something that should be begun on the ground in a controlled environment like a roundpen. That starts to establish the "rules" for how a horse is to react whenever they see something scary...though I think "rule" is the wrong word, it's more like developing a habit via trained response.

Once you have that little start, then you just build on it as you transition to riding...and eventually, riding in unfamiliar territory.

The problem with so many of those DVD trainers, they teach that desensitizing is "here, let me swing this rope all around you or drag a tarp over your head or bounce a big ball right beside you" and that's the end of it. So many people just desensitize the same things over and over and over until the horse just learns through boredom to ignore whatever action and zone out. Then, when something comes along that they can't ignore, they have a catastrophe because they've never been taught the proper emotional response and have never been shown what actions are permitted and which ones aren't.

It takes time and lots of riding in unfamiliar territory that is sometimes scary to build that ingrained emotional response.
    03-03-2013, 12:48 AM
Originally Posted by Arab Mama    
Yeah, the clipper thing is a big issue here as well - at least where the ears are concerned. If anyone has an answer to how to get them to stand still when having the fuzzy inside of the ears clipped for showing, please share!
You know those little hand massagers you can pick up at Walmart or a drugstore, I have used those on my horses, it makes basically the same sound as clippers.....start with approach/retreat with it off, then rub them with the massager, do that till they are comfortable with it off and rubbing them around the head/ears/etc. Then turn it on, do the same with approach/retreat (not touching them at first), then touch them around the shoulders with it.....if they move around, move with them and take it away when they stand still, keep repeating this.

My mare loves the little hand massager LOL
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