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Help with Desensitizing?

This is a discussion on Help with Desensitizing? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        01-14-2013, 12:56 AM
      #11
    Yearling
    Yeah, it’s not so much desensitising your horse to anything and everything that they may come across, its your attitude while riding it. If it respects you and you continue to give it good reason to respect you it will be calm if you are.
    I have two examples;
    the first was a horse I rode on one of the places I worked on in the NT. He belonged to the school teacher and wasn’t a station horse, but she let me ride him for the exercise. The trouble is he would spook at his own shadow; and we did helicopter mustering on the place. The first few days of riding him for work was pretty hair raising. As the helicopters would fly about working the cattle he was all over the place, he took a bit of sticking to. After a few hours each day though, when he started to figure out that I wasn’t worried by anything and we had a job to do, he stopped worrying and got on with the job. Only took a week and he was fine.
    The second example is of one of the fillies I have recently gotten going, I had ridden her out of the yard quite a few times, maybe 6 or 7 short rides, she was going good so I decided to take her for a good long slow ride and went up the road from my uncle’s farm. In my eagerness at riding her out I forgot about the railway line that runs along the front of my uncle’s place, and the 2.5 kilometre long diesel and electric coal trains that thunder past every hour or so. I rode her out and was coming down to the rail crossing when a train came along. The horse just pricked her ears up, had a look at it and I asked her to keep walking like it was nothing, and she did.
    So much about horses is giving them calm leadership and someone who has their respect, if they have that they don’t really need “desensitising” to every little thing they might spook at.
    In many ways horses are a mirror for the feelings and so on of their riders. If they appear to need a lot of desensitising, it could well be that its actually the rider that needs to chill the hell out.
    bsms, Foxhunter and Muppetgirl like this.
         
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        01-14-2013, 02:14 AM
      #12
    Started
    I also don't spend a lot of time desensitizing to things I prefer my horse to trust my judgement first over its own. The only things that I "desensitize" my horses to is whips so that they understand its and extension of my hand and Flags because occasionally I have to carry one. I do lots of ground work with all my horses and build as much trust as I can from the ground up. I think the best way to bomb proof a horse is to have a calm confident rider and to teach the horse to rely on that rider. When something scares my young horses I ignore it and stay calm and keep moving they aren't aloud to stop and investigate that's telling them it's ok to be scared. I want them to think she's not worried so I guess I don't need to be worried either. I took a 3 year old Thoroughbred stud colt to a rodeo with me after only riding him for a month you would of never know he was a stud or that I'd been on his back for 30 days unless I told you. I think he slightly jittered once but he just kept walking on cause that's what he had learned to do.
         
        01-14-2013, 02:25 AM
      #13
    Banned
    My theory on desensitizing.....and note I HAVE been hanging of the side of my saddle on a spooking horse .......this is what I have learned work best:

    Ignore the scary monster and your horse will too....look forward and ride on....even if it's sideways!!! As long as he's going forward to some degree and paying attention to YOU!!

    Anything else.....just hang on!!!
    bsms, AnrewPL and LisaG like this.
         
        01-14-2013, 02:31 AM
      #14
    Super Moderator
    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 answer to this is that if a horse is fine with rider A then it will learn to trust person B.

    Most horses will take advantage of a novice rider. Some faster than others.

    Horses react not just to a riders aids but also to their thoughts and feelings.

    If you came to ride one of my horses and I lied and told you that he was fine to ride but disliked heavy vehicles then the chances are that if you met a tractor he would spook, whereas normally he would take no notice of it.

    I have found that if the rider is confident then so is the horse.
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        01-14-2013, 03:44 PM
      #15
    Weanling
    There are some exercises you can do on the ground, but the point isn't so much to get the horse used to a specific boogeyman, but to teach the horse to remain calm and trust you.

    The other posters that said a confident rider is the key are correct. When you're riding, are you looking for things that you think might spook your horse? Try to remain confident and calm, and ignore the boogeymen on the trail. Don't even look at them. Keep your eyes on the place you want to go.
    AnrewPL likes this.
         
        01-14-2013, 06:05 PM
      #16
    Showing
    No... change your goal. Your goal is NOT to "scare the crap out of him"

    Your goal is to have him look to YOU for confidence in scary situations.

    You need to completely re-think this entire process. And instill the help of a trainer.
         
        01-16-2013, 03:16 PM
      #17
    Banned
    I would rather my horse trust me, and not even bother to be concerned about something irrelevant to what we are doing. When there is a person in his area, he is to keep his eyes on them, and always know where they are at. This is because my children play in the yard and he is in the yard eating grass. He won't accidentally step on them if they are running underneath him. I am always supervising them when he is out, but they can get stepped on quicker than I can stop it. He knows that this can happen, so he is alert to them being around him. The issue I have with him is when we are trail riding, or working in an arena, he will spook at something I have no idea what he is spooking at! I can't even desensitize him to this issue except by making it uncomfortable for him to act that way. But he is 5 years old, he is young and full of himself.
    I've desensitized my horse to scary things like the rope swinging around him, the rope smacking all over his body, my hands patting all over him, things running up to his face or body, etc. I've sensitized him to giving to pressure, not leaning on steady pressure, listening to cues, etc. Desensitize, then sensitize.
         
        01-16-2013, 03:21 PM
      #18
    Banned
    When the Amish break their horses, two people are holding ropes tied to his bridle. They rev a car, shoot a gun, whatever makes the horse spook. When the horse has nowhere to go but straight up because he is feared for his life, one guy pulls his rope and the horse falls on it's side, the other guy runs up and stands on his head, they continue to rev the car, soot the gun, do scary things! When the horse relaxes, they let him up and he is no longer spooked by these things. A horse is in his most vulnerable state while laying down. I have never done this with my horse, never will do this, but it is extremely effective for the Amish.
         
        01-16-2013, 03:22 PM
      #19
    Green Broke
    This is not a breed mix that I would suggest scaring so that he doesn't spook. Both breeds are very reactive compared to other "colder" breeds.

    Trusting humans will not act like village idiots is the way to go. Not scaring horse to death.

    If you persist in scaring horse to "fix spooks" you will end up with a horse that is scared of everything and even more apt to spook.

    And just because he doesn't spook at tarps due to your "training" does not mean he won't do it away from home either.

    Calm mannerisms with horse, not trying to frighten it will get you further.
         
        01-16-2013, 03:34 PM
      #20
    Started
    Elizabethan I just want to mention that laying a horse down should ONLY be done by very experienced hands. Laying a horse down wrong can possibly do more harm than good but also cause injury. Also I think in this case is not needed. I doubt this horse needs to be dominated into submission just needs a confident rider to ride them past the scary stuff and get teach them they should rely on the rider.
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