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Horsealot 09-04-2013 05:44 PM

Pool Noodle Desensatization
Hi Everyone!
Since I don't have much time to ride because of school, I decided to introduce my gelding to a pool noodle, be cause I'd eventually like to be able to "joust" with my friends.
When I went to go show it to him, I didn't halter him, and I let him sniff it and such. He's not scared of it at all, and I was able to rub it all over him, wave it and throw it. I was even running around the pasture with it, and he was following me on his own accord. He didn't even mind when I ran up to him with it.
Sometimes when I was moving it around, I would give him a treat in the hope that he'll associate the pool noodle with positive things.

Am I approaching this the right way? My gelding will tolerate just about anything, so I'd love to know how to desensitize him properly.
Thank you so much for your time!

Saddlebag 09-04-2013 05:50 PM

It may be more about him trusting you and not what you do with whatever you test him with.

Horsealot 09-04-2013 06:12 PM

I never thought of that. :) Is there a way I can get him to be a better lesson horse? My barn lets me board for free since I let them use him during lessons. Don't get me wrong, he never misbehaves, but sometimes he gets fed up with the people who ride him. (He'll do what they as, but not as well as he can do it)

Saddlebag 09-04-2013 10:04 PM

That is the effect that riders of varying skills have on a horse. If he were perfect they'd learn little. Variety of horses and temperament makes better riders.

flytobecat 09-04-2013 10:12 PM

Actually he sounds like a great lesson horse. You want something trained and safe, but with enough attitude to make you work for it.
I like jousting with pool noodles. Another fun thing is trying to pick stuff up with them.

DriftingShadow 09-05-2013 01:12 AM

hahaha my friends and I jousted like this last summer! It was so much fun.

Something I have always done with Drifter, is I will randomly pick up things (whatever I can reach from his massively high back) and carry them while we ride. A large branch that has a fallen, a pole, a cone, a barrel, whatever! The first few times he freaked out but now hes like "oh lord crazy human is wanting to carry things again".

So I figured holding a noodle would be no big deal. i was right, it wasnt. However, when the other noodle carried by my friend came flying at us -- ..yeah..that was a problem. So you might want to keep that in mind :)

I ended up in the pond next to us and we all had a great laugh. I held Drifter from the ground while my friends rode around him with their noodles and he eventually relaxed. But now I make sure to also move towards him at varying paces while carrying things.

The other day I jogged by nesr the side of him and did a cartwheel to see if hed spook and you could tell he was like "ah crap, shes doing it again.". But he didnt care.

So just do as much with him as you can! And take it slow. Once they trust you and know you arent going to do something to hurt them- they could care less

IRaceBarrels 09-06-2013 01:06 PM

This is slightly off topic but my coach wiggles water noodles at us at gaming practice when the horses try to avoid making a pocket. It's hilarious to watch.

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