My view on "bomb-proofing" and desensitizing a horse is that it can only be done to an extent. I have read other people's views on the topic and I agree with most people to some degree. I've seen horses who don't care about things that are normally "scary" to a horse (like an umbrella or a tarp) but are terrified of a plastic cup. Horses are unique and unpredictable animals, and while there is no such thing as a 100% bombproof horse (in my opinion) I do not find bomb-proofing harmful. Done the right way, it can be fun and trust building for you and your horse. Plus it gives you something to do if you have a young horse that is not broke to ride or a horse that is on down time from the saddle. The only harm done in bomb-proofing is if you do it in ways that only install more fear of you than the item the horse is afraid of...which can also cause physical harm to both you or the horse. I do bomb-proofing work with my horses all the time, and I've seen my horse do fine with something at home and freak out about the same thing in any other location...but there is no harm in knowing that a plastic bag on the trail is only scary to your horse while on the trail (for whatever reason)
The things to remember are:
1. Horses have a mind of their own and their own ideas of what is scary and what isn't.
2. Bomb-proofing work, as well as any other work with horses, should always be fun and safe for everyone involved.
3. Some of the best "bombproof" horses still spook at random things...but if the rider or handler can remain in control of the situation and safely guide their horse past the item, then it doesn't matter. My view is bomb-proofing is done as a fun exercise that CAN help, but shouldn't be stopped when it doesn't help. The more experiences your horse has the better acting it will be in new situations, and as long as everyone is safe and had fun at the end of the day...that's all that matters to me.
So yeah. A few things to know about me, is that I love to share my views on things. I completely understand that everyone has their own opinion, and I respect their opinions...I just like to give mine (in a non-insulting or belittling way) to try and open other people to whatever topic is at hand. I don't try to change your views, I just let you know that I have my own ways of viewing things.
If you agree, or even disagree with my views on Bomb-proofing, I encourage you to reply...since I also love feedback. Please be nice in your reply, lets try and keep things as a friendly discussion of opposing viewpoints.