dcamville (dcamville) wrote in sca_horse,

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Sensitize & Desensitize Your Horse?

Greetings All!

Just curious what folks to to sensitize and desensitize their horses to pressure and stimuli?
Any cool exercises or drills? How oftern do you train in a round pen? Do you just longe or do you do other stuff?
Right now my 50' round pen looks like a red neck's back yard. I've put tarps, cavelleties and even a big exercise ball in there while I work Smokey and Jolene from the ground.
We usually start off with a desensitizing exercise like rope twirling on the left, right and front sides, maiking slaps on the ground. Sometimes we do this with a handy-stick (sometimes called a carrot stick) and string. We toss rope all over the horses...topline to hoofs. We try to get creative with this. I heard a well know clinician say "heart attacks are free so give your horse one!" The CONCEPT is the more your try to "scare" your horse the quieter they become. So far it is working!
After that we do some sensitizing exercises to get the horses thinking and their feet moving. Circle drive, sending, backing, yields...you name it. The theory is that if you move the horses feet, get both eyes on YOU and remember that the horses learn from the RELEASE of pressure you gain respect and trust. So far its working.
Saddle time has been limited this week due to the holidays and a house full of folks...everyone got groundwork and basic saddle lessons!
Jolene had a look MANY times this week that echoed sentiments like "who is this strange person and why are they messing with me, daddy?" When the "strange person" gave her TLC and could make her move her feet, everything went well.
Did some ground work today...working on the forequaters yealding better and took a cruise in saddle around the pasture.
Nice, relaxing session. Makes up for the crazy ones where nothing works and you have to have those firm "discussions" with your horse.
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