How do you desensitize? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 05-29-2012, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: North Carolina
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How do you desensitize?

Since my gelding is pretty spooky around bags/tarps I am going to be working on "desensitizing" him to them. We do have some Clinton Anderson tapes on VHS (yes, I know, VHS) but they are all about lunging, and don't have -too- much about desensitizing. I wanted to know how you guys desensitize, and what do you desensitize to?

Today I worked with him for maybe 45 minutes, it started to drizzle and I hate rain so we called it a day. But I did have some sort of batton-looking crop thing that I tied a Wal Mart bag to, and moved it around him so it made that dreadful crinkle swoosh noise. Skips thought it was going to eat him at first, and did a mini crow hop before trotting off (he did have a rope halter/lunge line on) I kept doing that until he stopped side-stepping and stood quietly. We eventually progressed to me being able to rub the bag on his body, and eventually his face while he stood still. He did make snorting noises majority of the time though. But he did lick his lips a few times, and lowered his head a little. We finished up by spinning the end of the lunge line so it hit the ground making that crack noise, and he was fine with me tossing it over his back and around his legs but we have worked with that before.

I was wondering if I'm off to the right start, and if you would do anything differently. What else could I use to desensitize him to?

Of topic, but he was the horse I posted about earlier, who tripped a lot. He has gotten a lot better since we have been walking over ground poles. I think he just wasn't paying attention to where he put his feet.
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post #2 of 2 Old 05-29-2012, 10:53 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Tennessee
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I did some of that work today on a silly mare. I took everything scary I could find and placed it in the pasture. I tied sacks to poles, feed bags to the fence. Randomly scattered things around. I rode her and made her rub against the scary things, back up to them, walk over them, and by the time we were done, she was scratching her head on one tied to a pole. I also popped bubble wrap the entire time I was on here, while making her over poles and around barrels. It seemed to work, we will see what tommorow brings!
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