Whisper is terrified of the whip
   

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Whisper is terrified of the whip

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  • My horse is scared of the sound of the whip
  • Horse whisper training

 
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    03-06-2011, 01:20 AM
  #1
Yearling
Whisper is terrified of the whip

Ok, so I took Whisper in the round pen today to work on some desensitizing. She is a really smart girl and usually catches on pretty quickly but when it comes to the whip there is just no getting past it. I have desensitized her to just about everything else I use for our groundwork including long line, blanket, saddle, and barrels, tarps we are still working on a little bit. I can rub the whip all over her body with little movement but there is no way I can throw it over her back or around her legs. I have the whip with me when lungeing but rarely use it because pointing and clucking does the trick. I do use it on occasion though. So when ever I try to throw the whip over her back or around her legs, after rubbing her down with it, she starts moving her feet and pulling away from me. I can barely touch her with it let alone smack the ground or swing it over my head. She completely freaks, I've tried. She has never been in an abusive situation and I'm just not sure where all this fear is coming from. It just seems so strange because she is normally very curious.
So I guess my question is, what exactly am I supposed to do when she acts this way? It all gets very chaotic and I feel like I am only making it worse the more I try. Am I supposed to back off or continue until she relaxes. She never seems to relax, she only gets more spooked the more I continue.
Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
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    03-06-2011, 01:40 AM
  #2
Super Moderator
I you really want to do this, and she isn't freaking like rearing and striking out at you, then have her on a strong lead line (long like 12 feet) and start swinging the whip over her back and she will go wildly forward. You just continue to gently swing it over her back. You will have to turn and go around with her. Let her go forward, even thought she is scared of this stimulus. Keep doing it, not increasing or decreasing just calmly and rythmickally swishing it over her back as she circles around you. Take care not to get tangled up in the extra leadline.. Eventually, she will stop running, then you stop and give her a break. Do again and stop when she stands. Increase slowly to haveing her stop and tolerate a few seconds of "whipping" at a standstill to earn release. Quit.
Revisit in a day or two.
     
    03-06-2011, 01:44 AM
  #3
Weanling
What if you throw a rope around her? Does she still freak out? I'm starting these days doing this friendly games and desentizing my mare, I know she is scared of whip and I'll take it very easy. First time I used a rope (first I rubbed it all over her body, then throw it on her back, belly, legs and after that I started to wave with it around her, and she didn't mind otherwise then turning her ears.) When she'll be completly comfortable with it I'll start to use a whip. First I'll use the short one, then I'll bind the rope to it and desentize her with it. When she'll be good with it I'll use the long whip. Just go slowly and easy Don't do it in a one day. First just rub her and if she's doing good (but wasn't at first) stop for the day. Do little steps. Good luck!
     
    03-06-2011, 02:00 AM
  #4
Banned
I guess this really comes down to your fundamental beliefs. I want my horses to be comfortable enough to do basic things with them, I want them to trust me, but I don't really want them to become desensitized to the whip. I use it as a tool to get him to move forward, and I want that to last and be effective.

If you really want your horse to be comfortable with everything, this will take time. Think of yourself, with someone smacking a gun over you - same deal with a whip with a horse, it takes time and you need to take it slowly.
     
    03-06-2011, 04:06 AM
  #5
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexS    
I guess this really comes down to your fundamental beliefs. I want my horses to be comfortable enough to do basic things with them, I want them to trust me, but I don't really want them to become desensitized to the whip. I use it as a tool to get him to move forward, and I want that to last and be effective.

If you really want your horse to be comfortable with everything, this will take time. Think of yourself, with someone smacking a gun over you - same deal with a whip with a horse, it takes time and you need to take it slowly.
reactive sensetivity and responsive sensitivity are very different things

When I use a whip, I want the mental process for the horse to be "i know exactly what to do with this pressure" (response) rather than "run away from that pressure" (reaction)

Desensitizing then resensitizing is a good way to ensure your getting responses not reactions.
     
    03-06-2011, 06:58 AM
  #6
Foal
I have almost the same problem. My 4yr old is terrified of the whip and when I tried lunging him he spotted the whip and reared then jumped towards me (even though I had hold of the whip) for protection..
So I left the whip and tried with voice commands which he is very good with when being rode. He was invading my personal space, turning on the forehand rather than in a circle, so when I did manage to pick up a schooling whip to give a little encouragement rather than a lunge whip, and he freaked again and was lashing out with his back leg, and doing what I call 'a rocking horse' *rear-buck*.... he's had 5 owners in 4 years, and the owner previously to me was a 17yr old who was clueless and lost interest after a year. Before her it was a gypsy dealer, the other 2 I have no idea about. And I am his 5th.. how can I help him over come this?

I tried ground work asking him to keep out of my personal space, and he had no worries with the schooling whip, infact he ignored it completely, and walked right into it when I was asking for a backup, pushing my energy forward, willing him to go back, and using hand motions 'shooing' him (what he's used to).. nothing...

I think he's a gemini.. Split personality!!!
     
    03-06-2011, 09:58 AM
  #7
Green Broke
Whisper, you sound like you are using Clinton Anderson training except your forgetting one thing. In order for your horse to get completely over a fear you must keep up moving the object until the horse stops moving her feet. You start out at a distance away from her and keep up a rhythm. Keep throwing the rope over her back even when she's moving. Only taking the rope away when she stops her feet and she relaxes, repeat and do on both sides.

Let her move her feet. Don't confine her or make her feel claustrophobic. As she becomes better then decrease the distance and repeat throwing it over her back. Until you can stand right next to her and she stands quiet while you keep throwing it over her back.

Same goes for when you start hitting the ground. Start at a good distance away and rhythm, and don't stop until she stops her feet and relaxes.
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    03-06-2011, 11:45 AM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper22    
I can rub the whip all over her body with little movement but there is no way I can throw it over her back or around her legs.

Am I supposed to back off or continue until she relaxes. She never seems to relax, she only gets more spooked the more I continue.
I can't throw the whip all over my horse, I can't really rub him with it very much. He's been taught that the whip means fight or flight. Just because some horses let the whip fly all around them doesn't mean your horse has to. If you treat her humanly with the whip, and she learns that the whip means fun she will become accustomed to it. It can't happen over night. If it's a whip with a rope/lash at the end of it, then she may be afraid of he sound or the weird movement of it. Don't force the whip on her. I don't like the rule that says whips are mandatory. Because they are not! Your horse is not aggressive or dangerous so there is no reason you would need it for safety-and even then, a whip will most likely escalate a dangerous situation with a horse.

I have an idea for you, I've never tried it before. When a horse eats something, it's not scared of it and for horses eating is positive. When my horse licks something or eats something he is calm. When he is scared he doesn't eat-like any horse. What I suggest you do is go buy the cheapest whip you can buy with a lash. This sounds funny but you you are going to teach her to lick the whip. Rub apple juice and sugar all over the whip . There is no harm in trying this. Once a horse starts licking or eating something, it's not really afraid of it. Here's the thing though, if it's just the concept of the whip near her that she is afraid of, this should help. However, it sounds like it's the movement of the whip that scares her. This trick won't help that. If she is really sensitive to movement then that's what you will have to desensitize her to. Were you throwing the rope all around her legs and over her back?

It may just be the movement of the whip that scares her. In that case, I think the best thing would be to lunge her loose in a round pen. I don't know her personality so I don't know how well this would work. If she is scared of the whip(it's something new) and you are holding her by her head(halter+lead rope), and she feels restricted when she gets scared, she is not likely to stand still and just accept the whip. Especially because she sounds like a forward moving horse. So let her loose and when she is standings still(she might run around the round pen a little) you can start this. Start by having her come to you, use treats. Then start rubbing her with the whip like it's an extension of your hand. If she stands give her treats. If her head goes up(fear), take the whip away and let her bring her head down. If you do anything more while she is fearful, and her head is up with her ears back, her fear will just continue to build up. When a horse's head shoots up, adrenaline goes through their body. When it is down, they actually get a calming chemical through their body(I forget what it is called!). Give her treats when she is calm and standing. If she decides she needs to run around more, let her. You have to be patient. Restricting her will only make things worse. So once you have her standing calmly when you are rubbing her with the whip(I think you said she already does this) then move on to moving the whip. Start without moving the lash, hold the lash against the whip and just move it slowly around you. Start at her shoulder, just sort of waving it and sliding down her leg. If she moves just stop moving the whip, if the whip has been used with her before it may be a cue to move away from it. She may just be confused! Continue moving it around her body, if she moves let her, recede, and wait for her to come to you calmly and accept a treat. Walk around her without moving the whip to so she gets used to having you move all around her before you do everything with the whip. When she is calm with the whip, you can let the lash move to.
     
    03-06-2011, 12:59 PM
  #9
Yearling
I try my hardest to stick to Clinton Anderson Training and if I'm not mistaken he teaches that you are supposed to keep going until the horse stops moving. I knew this in the beginning but watching him do it and then seeing the train wreck when I tried made it seem like I just wasn't doing something right. She has no problems with the rope,sometimes she moves but not in a spooky manner.
It's more like "you're annoying me, please leave me alone". She's still young and her respect is coming along.
I've thought about forgetting about the whip and just moving on but moving on means teaching her to yeild her hindquarters. Sticking to the Clinton Anderson training I would need my whip for this. I've tried just to see what she would do and as I thought there was no yeilding, just a lot of freaking. If there is another techinique to use for this that would also be nice to know so that I can move on while slowly desensitizing her to the whip.
I am going back out there today so I will take into consideration everyones advice and see what happens. I will probably bring some treats with too just to make it more of an awarding experience for her. I will keep you updated on how it goes. I actually took some video yesterday but I don't have a youtube account and it was pretty embarresing so maybe this time if it all goes well I can share it. Thank you all for all your input and advice.
     
    03-06-2011, 01:23 PM
  #10
Weanling
If CA's training is so reliant on using whips, what is his advice for horses that are scared of whips? See if you can find that out.

Keep in mind that there is no one correct method and using a set method on every horse may not work. Every horse is different. Recall that I said that my idea may not work because I don't know your horse's personality? Just try out different things. I've heard good things about CA's training methods and if it has worked well up to this point then it's a good method for you and your horse
     

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