Help with Desensitizing?
 
 

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Help with Desensitizing?

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  • How to desensitize very sensitive horses

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    01-13-2013, 09:48 PM
  #1
Foal
Help with Desensitizing?

Hey!
So I need ideas for desensitizing. My Arab/saddle-bred is spooky. So I basically I need ideas of how to scare the crap out of him lol. Which is really easy. I have done the trash bag and tarp thing but he is not scared of that any more. He normally is not too spooky but I was not able to ride for a while ( a couple months)and he is really spooky now. I would really appreciate any help!!
     
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    01-13-2013, 10:59 PM
  #2
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by averylilly    
Hey!
So I need ideas for desensitizing. My Arab/saddle-bred is spooky. So I basically I need ideas of how to scare the crap out of him lol. Which is really easy. I have done the trash bag and tarp thing but he is not scared of that any more. He normally is not too spooky but I was not able to ride for a while ( a couple months)and he is really spooky now. I would really appreciate any help!!
I cringe every time I hear the word desensitizing. I want a very sensitive horse, so why would I wan to desensitize him? What I try and do is gain the respect and trust of my horse. They need to be able to trust that if I throw a tarp over there back it won't hurt them. They need to trust that if I ask them to walk across a 30' river they will be safe. This comes from time in the saddle and experience. But they also need to be able to respect the signals coming from there back in a calm manner. You don't want to scare the crap out of your horse, in the end you will just have a mess ( sorry for the lame joke ) It comes down to having a horse comfortable and looking to your for signals.
     
    01-13-2013, 11:06 PM
  #3
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toymanator    
I cringe every time I hear the word desensitizing. I want a very sensitive horse, so why would I wan to desensitize him? What I try and do is gain the respect and trust of my horse. They need to be able to trust that if I throw a tarp over there back it won't hurt them. They need to trust that if I ask them to walk across a 30' river they will be safe. This comes from time in the saddle and experience. But they also need to be able to respect the signals coming from there back in a calm manner. You don't want to scare the crap out of your horse, in the end you will just have a mess ( sorry for the lame joke ) It comes down to having a horse comfortable and looking to your for signals.
A comment for you... I like desensitizing horses for 1 reason. I totally agree with you about the respect and trust thing, BUT that horse may not spook with you, if it comes by something 'scary', but what happens when somebody else handles the horse... somebody that the horse does not trust or even respect? It will freak out, because it knows that YOU will protect him, but he doesn't know this other guy so how is the horse suppose to know what will happen. He won't, for all he knows that thing that was safe with you, is no longer safe!

Horses need to be desensitized to different things in order for them to learn. Yes, they need to respect and trust you, but I would say try getting him use to ropes, balls, tarps, farm equipment, etc. Anything he spooks at, desensitize him to.
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    01-13-2013, 11:20 PM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breezy2011    
A comment for you... I like desensitizing horses for 1 reason. I totally agree with you about the respect and trust thing, BUT that horse may not spook with you, if it comes by something 'scary', but what happens when somebody else handles the horse... somebody that the horse does not trust or even respect? It will freak out, because it knows that YOU will protect him, but he doesn't know this other guy so how is the horse suppose to know what will happen. He won't, for all he knows that thing that was safe with you, is no longer safe!

Horses need to be desensitized to different things in order for them to learn. Yes, they need to respect and trust you, but I would say try getting him use to ropes, balls, tarps, farm equipment, etc. Anything he spooks at, desensitize him to.
The problem is you can never "desensitize" a horse to everything it will encounter. It isn't tackling the big problem, you need a horse that can handle a stressful situation. A ride my horses all over the place, in the mountains with all sorts of critters, hunting and firing guns, on the roads with semi trucks, passing farms with farm equipment or farm equipment passing us on the road, dogs that run up to the fence directly at the feet of my horse, in cattle herds, and as you can see in my picture I round up up a herd of over 700 buffalo every year. There is no way I would ever be able to "desensitize" any of my horses to a 2000+ lb buffalo, or the bull whips and gun shots we use to help us round up the buffalo. Tackle the bigger issue and the smaller things won't be as big of a deal. You aren't ever going to "desensitize" a horse to everything but you can teach him how to react when he does get spooked or startled. You have to "work from the mind, down the legs, to the feet" -Ray Hunt
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    01-13-2013, 11:27 PM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toymanator    
The problem is you can never "desensitize" a horse to everything it will encounter. It isn't tackling the big problem, you need a horse that can handle a stressful situation. A ride my horses all over the place, in the mountains with all sorts of critters, hunting and firing guns, on the roads with semi trucks, passing farms with farm equipment or farm equipment passing us on the road, dogs that run up to the fence directly at the feet of my horse, in cattle herds, and as you can see in my picture I round up up a herd of over 700 buffalo every year. There is no way I would ever be able to "desensitize" any of my horses to a 2000+ lb buffalo, or the bull whips and gun shots we use to help us round up the buffalo. Tackle the bigger issue and the smaller things won't be as big of a deal. You aren't ever going to "desensitize" a horse to everything but you can teach him how to react when he does get spooked or startled. You have to "work from the mind, down the legs, to the feet" -Ray Hunt
This is because your horse Trusts and Respects YOU. I am trying to say that if someone else were to ride it around these things, it might go a different way, like spooking. I also did not say desensitize to EVERYTHING. I said everything that the horse is afraid of, show him that he shouldn't be and it is okay... aka desensitizing.
     
    01-13-2013, 11:35 PM
  #6
Weanling
Anything and everything you come across. I bought my horse new boots the other day, and he was scared of the packaging... so I taught him not to be afraid even when I was walking circles around him clapping the packaging together. Same with a plastic bag from the feed store, and the empty water bottle after our ride, pebbles in a can (that's a good one), flailing a lunge whip around him... etc. The key, however, is not to persay "scare the crap" out of them, but to be very rhythmic and consistent. Don't sneak up, rustle your bag and yell boo-- talk calmly and smoothly while consistently rustling the bag to let your horse know that even though there is a terrifying scary thing in your hands, he can trust you to stay calm and keep him safe.
     
    01-13-2013, 11:38 PM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breezy2011    
This is because your horse Trusts and Respects YOU. I am trying to say that if someone else were to ride it around these things, it might go a different way, like spooking. I also did not say desensitize to EVERYTHING. I said everything that the horse is afraid of, show him that he shouldn't be and it is okay... aka desensitizing.
I would believe that thinking, but I loan my horses out to others on our rides often and they respect the rider, not just me. The problem is I will never know what the horse is afraid of until he has spooked. It would get very frustrating to ride around and figure all of them out. For instance, I am not going to know if my horse is going to be afraid of a snake under it's chin until it is too late.
     
    01-13-2013, 11:41 PM
  #8
Showing
If my gelding acts like he's going to be afraid of something, I make him investigate it. We've actually made it into a game. I pat/touch whatever is freaking him out and say "What is this? Show me what this is." Once he touches it, I praise the bajeezus out if him. That's how I have an almost 4yo who loves trash cans and mailboxes and has yet to seriously spook at anything.
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    01-14-2013, 12:02 AM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum    
If my gelding acts like he's going to be afraid of something, I make him investigate it. We've actually made it into a game. I pat/touch whatever is freaking him out and say "What is this? Show me what this is." Once he touches it, I praise the bajeezus out if him. That's how I have an almost 4yo who loves trash cans and mailboxes and has yet to seriously spook at anything.
Posted via Mobile Device
I never let my horses investigate things, as soon as you do this you are rewarding them ignoring you. You are teaching it to stop and look at things. I want my horses to ignore or go past things without stopping. When you allow them to look at things you are teaching them to be afraid of, or look for things that are new or different. When they start to investigate there mind is taken off of you as a rider. I need my horses to be looking for me at all times. When he starts to look at these things you are essentially telling him ignore me, you know better take your time. I want my horses to believe that I know better, I am the leader and I know where we are headed, they then look to me for directions.
     
    01-14-2013, 12:31 AM
  #10
Trained
If you scare the crap out of him, you'll get a spookier horse. Desensitizing is elevating the horse's emotions and getting him to learn humans can be trusted because they WON'T put him into fear mode. When he learns that his emotions can be raised but the human will deal with things and not let him be terrorized, he stops getting so emotional about various stimuli. Once you push him into fear mode, learning shuts down and all he remembers is that humans like to scare horses...and that does NOT make a confident horse.

I recommend:

This is how we train a fearless trail horse!
"I said everything that the horse is afraid of, show him that he shouldn't be and it is okay... aka desensitizing."
You'd better have a long life, because I've known horses - even in my limited experience - that can create a scary thing out of ANYTHING.
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