When you desensitize your horse, most people use items like plastic bags or tarps. This rider has a slightly more extreme approach.
When it comes to training a horse, teaching him to deal with frightening noises, objects, and situations is an important part of establishing his overall foundation. Referred to as desensitization, the process takes time, finesse, and a bit of creativity on the rider’s part. You want to desensitize your horse to a variety of things, so that he gains confidence in you and learns to take some frightening situations in stride.
This rider and her horse, Frankie, show us just what desensitization is all about. While other riders might use objects like umbrellas, tarps, baby carriages, and even empty soda cans to train their horses, this rider goes for something a little more extreme.
Want to desensitize your horse? It’s best to start when you’re on the ground, and definitely don’t go to the leaf blower as your first resource. Start with something a little tamer, like a tarp, and establish a foundation of how you want the horse to react when you introduce something scary.
You don’t want to terrify the horse immediately, so introduce a new object slowly, from a distance. As your horse gets used to it, gradually bring it closer to him. If you’re working with an item like a plastic bag or a tarp, you can proceed to touching the horse with the item and rubbing it all over his body. If your horse reacts, hold the item in place against him until he stops, even for a moment. Then, immediately remove the item. This is his reward for stopping; you’re teaching him the reaction you want him to have.
Training a horse takes time, so be patient and don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a professional horse trainer if you need.
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