Miserable or spoiled? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 25 Old 12-23-2012, 08:09 PM
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Desensitizing must be balanced with equal amounts of sensitizing. Very important information for all newbie trainers. C Anderson talks about it, saying you need to switch back and forth between the two, and try to end with desensitizing.
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post #22 of 25 Old 12-23-2012, 11:05 PM
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Desensitising should take place every time you handle a horse.
It is not a matter of getting them use to tarps or polythene bags on the end of a whip, it is a matter of getting them to obey every little thing you ask them to do and following through when it doesn't happen.
By doing this the horse looks on you as leader, and, as leader it will follow you to hell and back.

I had a group of youngsters in the loose barn - there were three standing together and they had pulled a large polythene wrap into the barn. I picked it up and the pieces they had pulled off, and one of them grabbed the main wrap. Without batting an eye I threw the wrap over all three of them and not one of them moved.
Why should they? They had been playing with it earlier, knew I would do nothing to hurt them and they know they have to accept.

I haven't the time nor the inclination to fuss around with tarps and bags, I do not want my horses to be desensitised to the whip, I want them to respect it and know it can cause a sting when they have earned it.

If a horse is nervy then tough, it gets use to my 'laid back' ways. The relaxation of the other horses rub off and, if they are being silly I can see the other horses looking as if to say "Silly idiot, why can't they just accept?"

The handlers attitude and confidence plays the biggest part in handling any animal whether it is a dog horse or human.
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post #23 of 25 Old 12-25-2012, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. It's very interesting reading all of your opinions on desensitizing. I am inexperienced, but learning. I've started working with my trainer, who was highly recommended by several horse people I've talked to in the area, and she says she's never seen a horse act like he does before. We're doing what some of you had suggested, going back to basics. Working hard on respect and small steps, and treating him like he doesn't know anything at all. She thinks part of the problem is he never had any formal training when he was younger, and now that he's 9, it's harder to break some of his bad habits.
As for the person who asked how I responded to his spooking, I don't coddle him, but I also didn't make scarier either, because I don't think he knows any better right now. I tried just walking around the arena with the blanket, shaking it, flinging it around, like it was something I did every day, until I peaked his curiosity. I'd have him follow it, to build his confidence, then have him stand on a lead line and shake it around until he relaxed and seemed comfortable with it, then moved it closer and closer until I could touch him with it. He never calmed down when it was touching him, but he didn't run from it, which was improvement from where we started. I like my trainer a lot, and I feel like we've made a couple of tiny breakthroughs already, so hopefully she can help me continue to figure him out. Thanks so much!
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post #24 of 25 Old 12-25-2012, 10:20 PM
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Defiantly sounds like he is testing your leadership. Work is the best method to correct this, and then once he knows your his leader, work on ground manors and desensitization to these things.

When a horse has a strong leader and knows who the leader is they accept things much better.

I did join up with my mare as well as strict work and then I would cuddle with her and (spoil her) a bit. She's perfectly fine now, even for a Thoroughbred she behaves quite well, she make be afraid of something but trusts that I won't let it hurt her and she pushes through like a good 900 pounds trooper ^^
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post #25 of 25 Old 12-25-2012, 10:55 PM
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Another thing I do with the broodmare who simply spooks to spook, is I act as if she's not even going to do it at all. If I think she's going to do something, she probably will. For example, she knows what a saddle is, but she has her moments where she doesn't wanna do anything, and acts like its this big scary thing to eat her. Causes a big fuss, rearing and head tossing and being very bratty. With a sharp tug and a scolding she settles. Then we go on like we never had a fuss.
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