Gun desensitization? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 10-30-2009, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Gun desensitization?

I would like to desensitize Soda to gunfire. At some point I would like to try cowboy mounted shooting (along with a couple other things!) Has anyone done this before? Any tips or hints? I'm going to get some earplugs (I know guns bother my ears so I can't imagine they'd feel great to him.)

This is one of the many things on my list to learn/teach this winter as due to the area/facilities/weather we won't be able to ride tons (and 95% of that will be walk/trot). So I'm thinking of things we can do this winter that will keep him interested and keep us having fun. I'm also going to teach him some tricks, work on getting him very responsive to leg/seat aids at a walk/trot, and a couple other things. Oooo, I'm so excited for the semester to be done!!!

Thanks!
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post #2 of 20 Old 10-30-2009, 10:37 AM
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First you need to determine how sensitive he really is. Some of the best broke horses I have been around were pretty sensitive to gunfire and some could care less regardless of how well broke they are. Start on the ground with a cap gun then work up in caliber.

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post #3 of 20 Old 10-30-2009, 10:39 AM
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I haven't done this but I woul have thought a good point to start would maybe do what you can do with fireworks and play a cd of gunshots in the stable starting quietly then building it up gradually so he gets used to it.

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post #4 of 20 Old 10-30-2009, 10:44 AM
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I live right over a "hill" from a shooting range so all my horses hear gunfire all the time. Plus my brothers and dad like to shoot guns in an empty field we have and they hear them. Most of my horses get used to hearing it. I've had my 4 year old mare since last Friday and just from her hearing the gunfire for a week my brother can now shoot over her back. But he thinks all our horses should be broke to everything :) And gun fire is one of the main things because of where we ride. It sucks to have a horse bolt and run you in a tree because they hear a gun shot from a mile away :( Since then he makes sure everything is used to it

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post #5 of 20 Old 10-30-2009, 10:52 AM
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Did you attend expo last year? We had mounted shooters.

Minnesota Mounted Shooters Association
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post #6 of 20 Old 10-30-2009, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Mls- I did, but I had my niece and boyfriend with so didn't really get to see any of the demos. I'll check out their website, they probably have some good info.

I suppose I shouldv'e given some background. I live out in the country and we shoot on my property on a fairly regular basis. When he hears the initial shot he jumps/runs a little bit, but relaxes very quickly. If the shooting continues he does jump less and less everytime, so I think that he is sensitive, but not really more so than an average horse. He is a pretty spooky/sensitive horse in general, but I've taken the attitude of basically ignoring it when he gets "scared" and it has gotten less and less. Also, he is exceptionally curious, one of those "Omigod, it's scary... but now I'm going to go check it out" horses.

I didn't think of the cap gun, I'll look into getting one of those. I think I will talk to some friends and get them to come shoot trap while I'm doing some work with him.
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post #7 of 20 Old 10-30-2009, 11:28 AM
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Gunshots scare the CRAP out of my pony. She's HATES the loud noises..

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post #8 of 20 Old 10-30-2009, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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LOL, yeah that's my dog. Terrified, he has a place in the garage that he goes too. Otherwise he goes nuts and tries to crawl all over you.
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post #9 of 20 Old 10-30-2009, 04:22 PM
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I shoot all the time. If you want to get the horses use to it start out with a .22 and move up. I shoot everything from a .22 .38 357 9mm to my shotguns as I like to skeet shoot. At first the ones who had never been around gun fire where not too sure about it but it did not take them long to get over it. Especially when they could see Te and he loves it when I shoot. He will come to the fence line and watch. Since he was not running around they all settled down quite fast and are fine. Just have to work with them. I do it a lot the same way with my hunting dogs. Start out small and at a distance and work my way closer and up in caliber.

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post #10 of 20 Old 10-30-2009, 04:31 PM
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None of my horses react to gunfire at all. I've had them for years, the oldest is 9 years old and the youngest is 4. They all love to watch the Canada Day fireworks display, which was close to their field this year. I was scared that they would panic but no..., they ran up the hill to get closer to the sky and they watched it. They looked fascinated.
Some of us had them down into the reserve and the hunters were shooting at ducks. None of them even jumped. I think the hunters missed too, lol.

I'd say start slow and gradually introduce gunfire to your horses.


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