Training Xairyn: Desensitization - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 20 Old 04-24-2012, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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AEJaro: thanks, I've spent countless hours on ground work with this boy. He will be worth it for sure. He's bucked off every trainer that has tried to ride him in his 8 years, and no one has tried to ride him in several years. So I took him back to the beginning, and will not leave any proverbial stone unturned with him. I've seen him buck, and I don't want to sit through one of those fits lol, he is insanely athletic.
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post #12 of 20 Old 04-24-2012, 02:35 PM
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I've seen him buck, and I don't want to sit through one of those fits lol, he is insanely athletic.
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You are VERY wise.
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post #13 of 20 Old 04-24-2012, 02:41 PM
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looking good ! I love the pics !

One tip though, I wouldnt tell him good boy to comfort him. When you try to comfort an animal when they are scared, you are just reinforcing that they should be scared. Make sure not to do any kind of praise until he is calm and not scared.

Gypsy & Scout <3
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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post #14 of 20 Old 04-24-2012, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by gypsygirl View Post
one tip though, I wouldnt tell him good boy to comfort him. When you try to comfort an animal when they are scared, you are just reinforcing that they should be scared. Make sure not to do any kind of praise until he is calm and not scared.
Seeing as you don't know this horse, you can't just assume he's like every other horse. Some horses need some sort of support instead of cold silence waiting for them to rethink something or "get over it."

If I had done what every other person did with my horse.. I'd probably never have gotten this far and I've had a lot of hospital bills. It's not one size fits all, you have to be mindful of each signal you give a horse and have a reason behind it. OP seems to be doing a fabulous job, so I think her way of providing support works for her horse.

I tell mine "you're alright" and stroke his neck and he understands that I'm still there (he zones out when he's scared then acts in hyperactive flight/numb mode) and he's alright. If I don't do a thing.. he reacts in a not-so-wonderful way. Am I reinforcing bad behavior? Nah, just letting him know he's got a strong leader to watch over him.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"

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post #15 of 20 Old 04-24-2012, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Gypsygirl: I ignore his spooks, and give him some 'get over it' attitude. Each horse is different, and I think I read this horse correctly, as he went from terrified running in a panic away from everything, to coming to me for 'protection' and finally, now all it takes is a 'you're fine' and a nudge and he trusts me enough to believe that nothing is going to eat him.
You do bring up a good point. Each horse must be read and analyzed as an individual.
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post #16 of 20 Old 04-24-2012, 05:56 PM
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The horse is adorable. And I should like to try that with the bags tied here and there. My friend's horse is spooky about things around his flanks, and he bucked her off one time when she tried to take her jacket off while mounted and it brushed his flanks.

My trainer came and worked with him with a plastic bag on a whip, and putting it all over his body (him on a long leadline) . She does not care that he moves, in fact she wants him to move while learning to accept this . She started out tapping his shoulder with the bag and he would just stand there and flinch. He was stiff in his skin and his jaw was tight. He was "taking it". She doesn't want that, because a horse that just "takes it" but thinks that he is not allowed to move his feet , will get to the point where he cannot take it anymore, then he'll "blow up". She wants the horse to move forward , and accept the bag . So, she kept tapping his shoulder until he exploded, and she allowed him to move forward, and kind of kept the bag on his shoulder, just holding it there. The horse moved forward, and in a few steps, he turned to face her and stopped . She removed the bag from him. The idea is , you can move forward if you need to, and, when you calm down, we can remove the bag. Both are ok. She worked with him until she could put the bag on his flank and lightly tap on him to ask for forward, and instead of exploding, he just walked forward. So , he is not just taking it, he is OK with it, so she just removed the bag. He can walk forward calmly with or with out the bag. Both sides of his body, too.

Watching her work with him was amazing. I envy her timing. All this was done on a 12 foot leadline and rope halter.
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post #17 of 20 Old 04-24-2012, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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On Sunday, I tied about 10 bags all over his saddle, bridle and even one in his tail, and we walked around the yard. It was windy, so they were whipping around crazily. I took him all over the place, cleaning up random debris for about an hour. Within 20 minutes, he had his head down and was following me contentedly. So this week I will work on him with loud rain jackets, pom poms (which should be fun lol), and cell phones. This weekend I might get on him :O
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post #18 of 20 Old 04-24-2012, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Tinylily, that's exactly what I did with Xairyn when I first started working with him! Works wonders and is so simple to accomplish once you get the hang of it. The key is to know exactly when to back off. Xairyn was extremely flighty, so as soon as he stopped and calmly faced me, I would stop stimulating him with the bags and walk away. He would then join me and together we approached the bags. It didn't take him long after that to realize that if he used his brain, then everything would start making sense, rather then running wildly in circles.
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post #19 of 20 Old 04-24-2012, 06:36 PM
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Is he a mustang?
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post #20 of 20 Old 04-24-2012, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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He is a Thoroughbred. Measures in at a whopping 15HH and 923 pounds. Such a little guy. He is so flexible and athletic. My BO got him as payment from a guy that screwed him over money wise. Xai had been 'cowboy-ed" or abused by this guy.
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