Trampolines and Tape Measures

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Trampolines and Tape Measures

This is a discussion on Trampolines and Tape Measures within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    04-21-2010, 05:34 PM
Trampolines and Tape Measures

So my horse is pretty quiet-I mean, not much scares her to the point where she's going to bolt. She was well trained and handled in her breaking, and as far as I know she doesn't have any bad memories relating to one particular object. She's ok with fourwheelers and backhoes and trucks and my dad welding and grinding in his shop, whips, hoses, smoke and fire in the burn barrel-that sort of stuff.

However, one thing that really makes her go ballistic is tape measures. You know-the extendable ones that carpenters use. She's ok with me rubbing her with it and sniffing it when it's only protruding a little way, but as soon as it's extended and starts bending and making that "crack" noise as it bends she's totally different. I know it's mostly the noise that scares her, but how can I desensitize her to it? I sat in her stall with her for like 15 minutes cracking it one time and she didn't get any better. I know 15 minutes isn't that long, but anyways..

Another thing I'm uncertain about is the trampoline. Our literally bombproof pony, who doesn't spook at ANYTHING, turned tail and RAN when he saw people jumping on the trampoline, and if it scares Buddy, I'm pretty sure it's going to scare Tango. How can I get Tango used to trampoline jumpers as well?
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    04-21-2010, 05:52 PM
Green Broke
Might I ask WHY the horse needs to be desensatized to these
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    04-21-2010, 06:41 PM
Originally Posted by StormyBlues    
Might I ask WHY the horse needs to be desensatized to these
Posted via Mobile Device
I think this is a very silly question. Mayhaps the owner or any future owner will want to build a barn, or wants to measure something around the barn. That requires a tape measure. Mayhaps the owner or future owner will have the horses at home, where they also have a trampoline for their children. And mayhaps the owner or future owner will need to have the trampoline placed near the barn, or have to take the horse past the trampoline to get to the trails, the trailer, etc. So you ask why, and I ask WHY NOT? I'll desensitize a horse to anything it gets scared of. Like currently, my girls and I are working on bubbles.

To the OP. You are on the right track. Have you heard of the tie blocker ring? I've never used it, but you can run a long line through it and you can "crack" the tape measure, and if your horse wants to run backwards, you can let the line run through the tie blocker thing, and then bring her back. Then you repeat. There's a video somewhere online that showed a woman doing this while desensitizing a horse to hula hoops and such.

As far as the trampoline, I'm sure the fear came from the humans being so very high up. If it were me, I'd try to have a helper so they can be on the trampoline, and I'd be hand-grazing the horse close enough that the horse sees, but not so close it's nervous. Then gradully coax the horse closer, while the helper sits, stands, bounces a little, then bounces big on the trampoline. If the horse runs backwards, move with it [do not try to stop her or put pressure on the line] and when the horse stops, do a circle or two and bring her back to where she was. Then you repeat.

Good luck! =]
    04-21-2010, 07:11 PM
Oh wow...that's embarrassing...I got on the trampoline and jumped right beside her and she just didn't care. Lol. Well, I guess that's a relief.

And StormyBlues, riccil0ve is exactly right. Why shouldn't I desensitize her to these things? The more things I can expose her to, she's more likely to be able to cope with new things she sees on the trail, and she'll think it's just another test I'm putting her through and if she doesn't react it'll go away.

I'll try and find this tie blocker it on YouTube?

We're going on our first big group trail ride ever on Saturday, so for the next 3 days I'm just going to throw as many things as I can at she got used to noodles cracking on the ground, waving overhead and occasionally tapping her, and a little wagon full of rattling and rumbling glass and empty bottles, the dog's ball and my jacket being whipped around, the water hose being snaked around her feet and I rode my bike up and down the lane beside her. She's handling it all really well. Tomorrow I'll bring out the tape measure. Wish me luck!
    04-21-2010, 07:32 PM
Green Broke
Well, in the normal world, you wouldn't be cracking a tape measure and jumping on a trampoline with a horse beside you. I have alot more things to work on with my horse than crazy stuff like that.
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    04-21-2010, 07:44 PM
Originally Posted by StormyBlues    
Well, in the normal world, you wouldn't be cracking a tape measure and jumping on a trampoline with a horse beside you. I have alot more things to work on with my horse than crazy stuff like that.
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::blink blink:: Wow... In the "normal world," you have no idea what's going to happen and when, and like ilyTango said, the more things you can desensitize to, the better the horse will handle something it hasn't been desensitized to. It's a bonding experience. It says, "I am the boss, the leader, and I will keep you safe, no matter what life throws at us," and "Never fear, your owner is here!" What on earth could possibly be wrong with that?

I'd love to meet up with our horses some time, and tie them up in a place with the most ridiculous and "crazy" things we could every possibly think of. While my 18 year old mare and 20 month old filly stand there with their hip cocked and their lips drooping, what will your horse be doing?
    04-21-2010, 07:46 PM
In the normal world I'll be riding her next to cracking tree branches and animals jumping out beside her, so yeah, I'm definitely going to want to know that my horse isn't going to freak out and throw me when she sees something she isn't used to. There's no need to be rude about it.
    04-21-2010, 07:48 PM
Why shouldn't I desensitize her to these things? The more things I can expose her to, she's more likely to be able to cope with new things she sees on the trail
Desensitizing a horse to everything you can, IMHO, should be a part of the foundation training on any horse. What good is a horse that is capable of doing GP dressage if it turns tail and runs at everything that it hasn't experienced before or anything that it deems scary at that particular moment.

IlyTango, it sounds like you are on the right path. Just take your time and when she figures out that with you is the safe place to be, she will be much more willing to take new and scary things in stride.
    04-21-2010, 07:51 PM
Thanks smrobs. Lol-Even if she doesn't think that with me is the safe place to be, she's learning it's the ONLY place she can be, because she's not going to get away from it and has no choice in the matter (as she learned today with the wagon banging around behind her-she tried to barge ahead and walk sideways, and gave up after a while).
    04-21-2010, 11:49 PM
Green Broke
My horse is pretty desensatized to alot. But I want him to be on edge. I WANT him to be a little skitish, it means his reflexes are on, and he's thinking. A horse on XC that isn't thinking is a dangerous horse to me. I don't want him freaking out, just looking around enough. I think you took waht I said wrong. You can't possibly expose a horse to everything, and I want to focus on the things that he would be exposed to on a normal basis, flags, anouncers, flowers, walki talkies. He's fine with all of that, and last time I checked, I'm not jumping him over a trampoline.... :P to each there own....

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