desensitizing work for parades - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 07-26-2014, 01:13 AM
Join Date: Sep 2013
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The one parade we were in they had the horses following the fire truck and for some brilliant reason they thought it'd be a good idea to turn the siren on... No one died and luckily my mare was an angel and they shut it off quickly, but NOT a smart move (I freaked out! lol)

Grabbing kids, balloons, crowded areas.

I've never done a real parade either just near my house.
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post #12 of 18 Old 07-27-2014, 02:21 PM
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Clowns, Santas, the shriners.... Mine never had issues with anything but walking costumed people and those little Shriner cars made them start every time.
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post #13 of 18 Old 07-27-2014, 11:23 PM
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I rode my mare in the Calgary Stampede Parade. I never consciously desensitised her to anything. The only conscious thing we did was my getting her to walk thro a mud puddle. It took a few rides and another horse going thro first. When she finally did it she seemed to put her trust in me. She handled the parade like a pro.

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post #14 of 18 Old 07-30-2014, 08:45 PM
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Three things that scared my driving pony were bikes, plastic bags, and streets that were whitewashed (writing on the street)
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post #15 of 18 Old 08-05-2014, 06:06 PM
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Introduce him to anything and everything you can. The goal is not to desensitize him to the things themselves, but to teach him how to react and behave when something does scare him. There will always be something new, and in all of my years driving commercially, parades have always had the most monsters. But when you're horse is scared out of his wits and yet manages to not go forward, left, right, or backwards to get away from it, you've done your job well.

As for the actual scariest things we've come across, skateboards shooting at you're horse's feet when the person on said board falls ranks as the worst. Balloons and bells tied to bikes, that also fall were pretty high up, as was the giant inflatable Dalmatian (the kind that is held by 25 people you see in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade) and actual, live bears walking behind us all had me and my horse on our toes. And yes, your boy is likely to get hit with candy, and you will also have kids darting out in the road in front of you to pick up candy on the road, oblivious to the equine coming their way. And have a passenger with you to smile and wave for all of the kids, you will be looking for prospective monsters with both hands on the lines the whole time.
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post #16 of 18 Old 08-05-2014, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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LOL! That was one of the best descriptions ever!!!
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post #17 of 18 Old 08-06-2014, 12:49 AM
Join Date: Aug 2014
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I have taken many horses in parades. I always take my horses "to town" many times to see the sights and hear the sounds before I take them in parades. There are many things that can spook them that you won't even think of beforehand (like manhole covers, etc.) Good luck, but take your time.
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post #18 of 18 Old 08-06-2014, 02:52 AM
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I generally like to desensitize my horse at least once a week. I'm constantly doing ground work because I'm a firm believer of "groundwork transfers into saddle". I've ridden in a few parades with my horses and they all did exceptionally well with no real parade prepping. I do a lot with my horses and expect them to take care of me while I am on their back, so if a scary object comes flying at them I want them to be prepared. I make loud noises with pots and pans, make them lunge with tarps on their backs, tie plastic bags to their halter, ect ect. If I see something at home or the store that I think "hey! That might be scary to a horse!" I take it out to the barn with me the next time I go and make a lesson out of it. Just today I took a big bright red bouncy ball with me and bounced it all around them, under them, and on them. They are now to the point that things like this just don't bother them, they give me this look like really? Lol! Of course everything is introduced slowly, first I let them check it out and then slowly I rub it all over them while giving them reassuring pats and praises and then once they are calm and sure of themselves I move onto the harder to handle things.
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