Too desensitized? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-16-2013, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Too desensitized?

My gelding is desensitized to the point of listlessness. He's a very level-headed gelding, an awesome trail horse, and he's not old, but it seems like he just doesn't care. I feel bad for him and want to find something he enjoys. He likes trails, but even then he isn't really mentally involved. I will be in the arena for hours trying to get him to play, but he only stands there and looks at me like I'm crazy and this is a waste of his time. I've only had him for a year, but he's been mostly a pack and trail horse. He defintely trusts me, but he seems like he is just acting out of obligation, though he is a bit of a loner anyway. i have his trust ans respect and his mind, but I don't have his interest at all. Is there such a thing as having a horse that is TOO desensitized to the point of not caring? Anyone else have one of these horses and have some thoughts?
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-16-2013, 02:39 PM
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I'm not sure if he is "overly desensitized" or just laid back and lazy. I think most people would want a horse as calm as your guy!

One other thing you can try is doing something new. Go team penning with him, try him over jumps... See if anything interests him. He may just be bored with the trails, as after a while, it is nothing new. How does he respond if you take him down a trail he has never been on?
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-16-2013, 02:43 PM
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Some horses simply don't care about forming an emotional bond with humans. Your guy sounds like one of these.

Appreciate him for what he is, and stop trying to make him into something he isn't.

As long as he's a good boy, does what you ask without complaining or attitude, you have a real gem.

Oh, and stop trying to get him to play with you. He's not a dog.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-16-2013, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 4horses View Post
I'm not sure if he is "overly desensitized" or just laid back and lazy. I think most people would want a horse as calm as your guy!

One other thing you can try is doing something new. Go team penning with him, try him over jumps... See if anything interests him. He may just be bored with the trails, as after a while, it is nothing new. How does he respond if you take him down a trail he has never been on?

I he ridden with other horses a lot? Maybe try trail riding with some buddies. Or trailer him to ride somewhere he hasn't been and ride him there. Do obstacles on trail...jump stuff! Take him to a playday and just mess around, put him on some cows..see what sparks an interest. But I wouldn't be worried. He just seems like a happy lazy boy.


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post #5 of 12 Old 10-17-2013, 12:16 PM
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Spending hours at anything with a horse is not going to improve interest.

He may very well be enjoying everything he does.. and just be the type who doesn't get giddy over it.
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-17-2013, 12:26 PM
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I never literally desensitize a horse to anything - they are just exposed to things as they go through life. Mostly they deal with stuff because they trust me
Your horse just sounds like the typical laid back solid type they have in riding schools and trail riding centres that a lot of people love to ride or own
You might be able to spark him up a bit by changing his feed to something with more 'oomph' in it - when the (fox) hunting horses used to come in after a summers break they would be lazy and plod along but once they were fit and on their working feed rations they were totally different horses
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-17-2013, 12:35 PM
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It doesn't sound like he's over desensitized, more like he is just comfortable chillaxing. Not every horse will play "games". Even some "active" horses will look at jolly balls, or other toys and walk away.

He's most likely just the silent type. He doesn't care about most things either way, but if he DOESN'T like something, he will definitely let you know.

So just sit back & enjoy him

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post #8 of 12 Old 10-17-2013, 12:41 PM
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More people wish they had your problem. Assuming he is on a healthy diet with adequate vitamins and minerals, and there is no pain or lameness, it is probably "just him." Don't stress yourself over it- some horses just see the world as 'work time' and get down to business like your gelding, and on their own it's 'free time'. Have you watched him in pasture with other horses? If he's a calm, easy going sort out there too, you have your answer- that is his personality.

I get where you're coming from, I decided not to purchase a horse like that, not because there is anything at all wrong with them, but just because I prefer a horse that is a little more interactive (some would say 'less properly trained' and not be wrong). But please don't think your boy is miserable because he doesn't act like a pocket pet!
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-17-2013, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by tilneysandtrapdoors View Post
I will be in the arena for hours trying to get him to play, but he only stands there and looks at me like I'm crazy and this is a waste of his time.
Sounds just like my new guy Gibbs, he is a no nonsense kind of guy, I don't think he would get playing either.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-17-2013, 12:50 PM
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I agree, its probably just his personality. We had a mare a who passed this spring (27 years old) who was the same way. She came from amish breeding and training, then worked as a ranch horse on a large outfit, so she just accepted riding as her job and did it. I never did figure out what she enjoyed the most...she did it all quietly and acceptingly. We tried ranch work with cattle, trails, obstacles etc., and she was always what we call a "yes ma'am." horse. She was a flawless ride, had the smoothest gaits you could ever ask for, transitioned and changed leads like a pro, carried her rider to exactly where they wanted to go. She was always quiet to tack up and opened her mouth for the bit as soon as she saw the bridle. She didn't like to be patted or fed treats, didn't care whether you spent 10 minutes of 5 hours riding her. She just did it. For a while we were just SURE that we had to 'fix' her and that there was something wrong, but eventually we realized that in her own way, she was enjoying herself. She just didn't outwardly express it.

I've never been the sort to LIKE that type of horse, just because I enjoy a challenging animal with a little sass, but sometimes it was nice to have a steady eddy like her when I just didn't feel like being on my toes 110% of the time. With her I could send her off at a canter down the trail on a loose rein without worrying once worrying that she was going to take off with me...or stop until I asked her to. She took care of beginner riders and never once let one fall off of her, but stepped up her speed for advanced riders if they asked correctly. Horses like her, and like your gelding, are worth their weight in gold. They're just not for everyone.

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