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This is how we train a fearless trail horse!

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        11-02-2012, 02:24 PM
      #191
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bluebird    
    IT makes interesting reading and some of what you say makes absolute sense. The problem that we have in England is that our horses have to have 'road sense'. We have to ride them in traffic sometimes with double decker buses and large lorries passing within a few feet of them. If we get in trouble, we can't ride them through it as there is nowhere to go so we have to do 'de-sensitisation'. Although I know what you are saying about spooky horses, de-sensitising DOES work too but it really depends on what you are using the horse for. Wish we had 'trail rides' and didn't need to do any road work at all, ever! You guys are so lucky to have all that open space.
    I lived my whole life in the UK until 5 years ago and I can honestly say that I never de-sensitised my horses at all, From day one they were exposed to as much noise and general goings on as possible. I never made a single effort to flap anything in their face or bang something by them because these are normal events and noises, you throw a saddle pad or blanket over them, wipe them over with a cloth, take your jacket off and one, things get dropped and make a noise. If you make a big fuss of a reaction then they think it was justified. The more you tip toe around a horse the more nervous you make it. Most mistakes with traffic happen because someone thinks they are a great enough rider to take a young horse out on its own for the first time instead of having a good solid buddy it can watch & learn from. Some one told me that I needed to 'sack my horse out' to tarps as its not something we do in the UK and this is the result - and this mare is a real hottie to ride but she's never been trained to believe that the world is a scarey place. Its better to build a foundation on real trust rather than force an issue
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        11-02-2012, 03:00 PM
      #192
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jaydee    
    I lived my whole life in the UK until 5 years ago and I can honestly say that I never de-sensitised my horses at all, From day one they were exposed to as much noise and general goings on as possible. I never made a single effort to flap anything in their face or bang something by them because these are normal events and noises, you throw a saddle pad or blanket over them, wipe them over with a cloth, take your jacket off and one, things get dropped and make a noise. If you make a big fuss of a reaction then they think it was justified. The more you tip toe around a horse the more nervous you make it. Most mistakes with traffic happen because someone thinks they are a great enough rider to take a young horse out on its own for the first time instead of having a good solid buddy it can watch & learn from. Some one told me that I needed to 'sack my horse out' to tarps as its not something we do in the UK and this is the result - and this mare is a real hottie to ride but she's never been trained to believe that the world is a scarey place. Its better to build a foundation on real trust rather than force an issue
    It sounds like you desensitised your horses by exposing them to bangs etc. Desensitising doesn't mean being soft and gentle..LOL. I desensitised my Clydies by putting them in a field right next door to a heavy plant workshop and a busy motorway.
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        11-03-2012, 02:19 AM
      #193
    Green Broke
    I prefer to get my horse to trust in me totally than desensistizing them. If my horst trusts me than they'll follow my lead no matter how disturbing the situation is to them. By following my lead they then become desinsitized. Same thing? Yes but a different approach.
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        11-05-2012, 11:01 AM
      #194
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bluebird    
    It sounds like you desensitised your horses by exposing them to bangs etc. Desensitising doesn't mean being soft and gentle..LOL. I desensitised my Clydies by putting them in a field right next door to a heavy plant workshop and a busy motorway.
    I think I dislike the term desensitise as it implies someone making a positive move to get horses used to things rather than allowing it to happen on a normal day to day basis. All of these words - desensitise, sacking out, imprinting foals - are just new ways of describing what people have done for years - they got horses used to stuff.
    I never deliberately expose my horses to anything - its just normal goings on in a barn or around the yard.
    If you rely on getting your horse used to for eg - a flapping plastic bag by waving one around its face odds on it will still spook at a plastic bag flapping in the hedge or blowing down the road. If you use trust as the biggest part of your training it will reduce the scarey bag lets run away from it' into no more than a bounce on the spot
         
        11-06-2012, 06:28 AM
      #195
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jaydee    
    I think I dislike the term desensitise as it implies someone making a positive move to get horses used to things rather than allowing it to happen on a normal day to day basis. All of these words - desensitise, sacking out, imprinting foals - are just new ways of describing what people have done for years - they got horses used to stuff.
    I never deliberately expose my horses to anything - its just normal goings on in a barn or around the yard.
    If you rely on getting your horse used to for eg - a flapping plastic bag by waving one around its face odds on it will still spook at a plastic bag flapping in the hedge or blowing down the road. If you use trust as the biggest part of your training it will reduce the scarey bag lets run away from it' into no more than a bounce on the spot
    Trouble is, in the UK we don't have very many trail rides and we have no choice but to ride our horses along roads. I do hear what you are saying but on english country roads (as you should know), a horse not used to traffic which then spooks, no matter how much he trusts you, can be deadly. Also our police forces use horses for crowd control and the army for ceremonial duties. Again, a horse who 'spooks' under these circumstances is death on 4 legs - more human death than its own. So the police and army training takes horses into an indoor school where they are 'exposed' to brass bands, crowds throwing missiles, fire, water sprays and loud bangs (we have bombs go off in england still!) Both methods have their merits but we are different countries with different landscapes and different amounts of space. We also, in some cases, have very different expectations of our horses but the main thing is, no matter which methods work for each of us, our priority is exactly the same, safety for our precious horses and safety for us. The 'trail horse' method would just not work over here unless you are going to ride your horse on nothing but traffic free routes for the rest of its life. In the UK virtually impossible unless you live on Sark or the Outer Hebrides.
         
        11-06-2012, 06:35 AM
      #196
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Darrin    
    I prefer to get my horse to trust in me totally than desensistizing them. If my horst trusts me than they'll follow my lead no matter how disturbing the situation is to them. By following my lead they then become desinsitized. Same thing? Yes but a different approach.
    This is fantastic when you have wonderful long trails where your horse won't be exposed to traffic, crowds of people, brass bands and the occasional bomb going off. We in the UK literally have to 'bombproof' our horses and this is done by exposure. We just can't take the risk of 'letting things happen' and riding through it. I don't think even your horses, no matter how much they trust you would not spook at some of the things we face over the pond. Desensitising really is the safest method for us. It would be great experience for some of you trail riders to come and have a go at riding in England, a real eye opener! (and I mean that in a very friendly way) I would also love to try out my Clydesdales on your long trails with no traffic and I could see your methods of 'riding through it' work very well under these circumstances. I think we'd love it.
         
        11-06-2012, 10:19 AM
      #197
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bluebird    
    This is fantastic when you have wonderful long trails where your horse won't be exposed to traffic, crowds of people, brass bands and the occasional bomb going off. We in the UK literally have to 'bombproof' our horses and this is done by exposure. We just can't take the risk of 'letting things happen' and riding through it. I don't think even your horses, no matter how much they trust you would not spook at some of the things we face over the pond. Desensitising really is the safest method for us. It would be great experience for some of you trail riders to come and have a go at riding in England, a real eye opener! (and I mean that in a very friendly way) I would also love to try out my Clydesdales on your long trails with no traffic and I could see your methods of 'riding through it' work very well under these circumstances. I think we'd love it.
    I don't like riding along roads but have had to at times, my horses are not bothered by the traffic.
         
        11-06-2012, 11:30 AM
      #198
    Trained
    Desensitizing is NOT about creating a laundry list of things a horse is used to. Done right, it is used to teach a spooky horse that A) fear doesn't mean you bolt, B) you can calm down quickly after getting scared, and C) if you are nervous, look to your rider. It should be about getting a horse who doesn't trust human judgment to start trusting human judgment.

    Not all horses need it. If they have always had trustworthy humans around, they probably don't. But if they have had humans hurt them or act irrationally (from a horse's point of view) around them, then it can do wonders. It requires someone who is good at reading a horse, so it is not something you can learn by reading a book or watching a DVD,

    My Appy had holes spurred thru his sides, and he still has a big scar on one side. He was afraid of people, very afraid of cowboy hats, and terrified of lariats - as it 'break thru a corral to get away' terrified. Densensitizing by a pro took 4 weeks, but turned returned him to the horse he was before being abused.

    My problem with desensitizing is that, done wrong, it convinces a horse that humans are borderline psychotic and NOT to be trusted. And I think most books and DVDs set folks up to do it wrong. If you are sensitive enough to a horse's body language, you probably will be successful at gaining the horse's trust without watching a video. If you are not good at reading a horse, then following a 60 minute training video can lead to disaster.

    Happily, most horses are forgiving souls. My Arabian mare is not so forgiving. She WANTS to trust humans, but she quickly decides who is trustworthy and who is not. If you are not, she will assume she needs to take control - and that is dangerous. As we work on trail riding without other horses, I have to be sensitive to her so I can push her beyond her comfort zone, but not so far that she becomes frightened. And with each successful outing, she places a little more trust in me and gives up a little more of her internal fears.
    jannette, jaydee and AnrewPL like this.
         
        11-06-2012, 05:21 PM
      #199
    Trained
    Bluebird, I'm not in England, I'm In Australia, but we live in a city and ride our horses along highways and city roads, around shopping malls and public walkways, through industrial areas...

    I don't desensitize my horses. If I think there will be an issue I make sure we have a companion on a steady horse and we just ride through it. We ride along the grass strip with two lanes of traffic either side. I've been standing on the concrete median strip and had a bus pull up in front of my boys nose!

    It is possible to have your horses quiet in those kind of situations without desensitizing beforehand. It's jut a different method and both are valid and both work.
    Posted via Mobile Device
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        11-07-2012, 03:59 AM
      #200
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wild_spot    
    Bluebird, I'm not in England, I'm In Australia, but we live in a city and ride our horses along highways and city roads, around shopping malls and public walkways, through industrial areas...

    I don't desensitize my horses. If I think there will be an issue I make sure we have a companion on a steady horse and we just ride through it. We ride along the grass strip with two lanes of traffic either side. I've been standing on the concrete median strip and had a bus pull up in front of my boys nose!

    It is possible to have your horses quiet in those kind of situations without desensitizing beforehand. It's jut a different method and both are valid and both work.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Sorry I thought you were from Engalnd. Australia space and set up is very similar to USA but with far fewer people LOL. We just couldn't do what you do with your trail horses in England. England's big towns are too built up and too much traffic, our roads are far too narrow and tend to be bordered by thick hedges and/or trees and dare I say, barbed wire fencing! We cannot 'ride through' scary stuff because there is literally nowhere to go with the horse to get him out of danger. You go forward...meet big truck on the other side...you go backwards...build up of traffic waiting to pass you...you go sideways...you end up with your horse down a ditch or caught in barbed wire, probably with you underneath the horse. Trail riding methods sound as if they work great in a particular landscape but not in overcrowded england. We still have to 'bombproof' our horses and the only way to do this is by exposure to what we consider the main 'scary' things. In saying that, we can't cover everything and at times it is about controlling the horse and trust but not to the extent you do it in the USA and Australia.
    Have a look at this video of a 'spooked horse' riding down an 'English Trail'. Rider actually recovers things well but it may help everyone understand what he have to deal with in England LOL
    tinyliny and Clava like this.
         

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