Originally Posted by dunhorse
how do you desensitize your horse to the shots. My gelding is quiet as heck but EVERY time my husband or I are shooting (sighting in a gun, messing around, not working with him but he's usually not too far away) he jumps. At every single shot. He should be used to it by now, I would think, or at least after a few shots in a row he should quit jumping at every one. I'd really like to try it but don't know how to get him to just relax and deal with the noise... I'm not real keen on just climbing on and going for a ride and shooting a gun out of the blue... could end badly LOL.
Definitely don't just get on and try shooting. :)
There are many "methods" for training horses to guns. Some people are better at some methods. Some horses take better to some methods. It is not always a one size fits all situation.
I am not a trainer, but I am active in mounted shooting and run my own club. I have organized many clinics to get riders and horses started in this game. The method that works great for me is the "group" method. It would be too long to explain it here, but it basically involved getting several horses in a ring - some experienced and some new to gunfire. We ride in a circle on the rail and shoot one at a time. We start with "primers" (about as loud as a cap gun) and slowly move up to full volume loads. The concept is to use the herd mentality of the horses so that the "new" horses look to the "experienced" horses for guidance.
There is a little more to it that this. We carefully monitor the horses' reactions and make adjustments along the way. It's not hard to do, but it is something you really need to see a few times to fully understand.
I have seen and worked with some pretty "jumpy" horses over the past few years. It is the rare horse (or rider) that cannot get started in mounted shooting fairly quickly. As a basic rule, the horses/riders that take longer to come around are the less experienced, nervous or jumpy ones. I have found that people who are interested in mounted shooting are usually more adventurous and have tried different things with their horses, which probably has something to do with the success rate.