Desensitization: Give the Horse Confidence
Fright is a natural reaction of horses. They are animal victims with a developed flight instinct, and this means that they will rather run away from danger than fight with it. Increase the level of confidence of the horse by performing simple desensitizing exercises with it.
Start with the least scary object that you have – a tombura.
Stand near the horse at an angle of 45 degrees to her shoulder, a little distance away, at arm’s length from your head, so that the horse does not touch you if it scares. When doing the exercise on the left side, hold the tombour in your left hand, about 30 cm from the carbine, so that the horse can move, but remain under your control. This hand also blocks attempts to push you if the horse gets scared.
Once you are in place, with your right hand, throw the rest of the tshombur on the horse’s withers. Throw it rhythmically and pull it off your back. Continue to throw the rope, even if the horse starts to get nervous and leave, just drop the rope and walk next to the horse. If the horse tries to run away, turn its head towards itself – let it look at you and focus on your actions. If the horse stops, you stop. Give a signal (for example, a clicker) and treat a horse with a treat to reward her for relaxation and to show that she is on the right path. If the horse remains standing still, but will lift its head, wait until it relaxes, lowers its head, starts blinking, sniffing calmly, or ease its back leg to rest. Stop throwing the rope as soon as the horse shows signs of relaxation. At the same time give her a signal, treat and let him stand quietly. When the horse will normally perceive the presence of a rope on the withers, start throwing it on the back, croup, front legs, and then (neatly) on the neck and head. Repeat the exercise on both sides. As soon as the horse gets used to the rope, go to the horse desensitization to the carrot stick or scourge.
Carrot sticks or scourge
Stand in the same position as when working with a rope, but instead of holding the rope in two hands, hold it with only one hand closest to the horse. Let the end of the rope go down to the ground. This time, throw the cord that attaches to the end of the carrot sticks or scourge, just as you did with the rope. When you pull the cord off the horse, hit them on the ground so that it makes a click. At the same time, throwing it on the horse, be gentle and try not to hit her. You have to do it rhythmically, without long pauses. If you stop every time the cord is pulled, the horse will be rewarded with a rest, even if it does not deserve it. When she shows signs of relaxation, stop throwing the cord, give a signal (clicker), treat a horse and let it stand. Then start again until the horse begins to relax in your manipulations with the scourge or the wand all over your body. Again, we start from the withers, then go to the back, the rump, the hind legs, the neck and the head.
Click on the land scourge. This sound bothers many horses, and they tend to run away from such “pressure.” This lesson will be especially useful for horses who are prone to be afraid of various sounds.
Stand parallel to the horse’s jaw at arm’s length, as during the first two lessons. Hold the whip by pushing it aside. Start with a careful strike on the ground. If the horse becomes frightened, keep hitting the ground with the same intensity and at the same distance from the horse, until it stops and relaxes, as in the previous lesson. Slowly move the scissors arm closer to the horse until you knock right next to it. If the horse gets worried and goes, continue to accompany it, knocking with the whip until it stops and relax, then give a signal (clicker), treat and start again. After the horse will calmly perceive the tapping of the ground at the level of the withers, move on and knock at the hull, at the hind legs, until you can knock right behind the horse. Start with low pressure and gradually increase its amount to medium, until the horse gets used to it. Move on until you can click on the ground from either side of the horse.
In the same way, you can teach a horse to touch a whip / stick to any point of its body. Complicate the exercise gradually. If the horse is afraid or trying to leave, keep the pressure, make it look at you, but do not let it push and run at you. If she is trying to knock you off, send the wave on the chest as aggressively as you need to push it out of your space, still tapping the horse with a whip / wand. Stop tapping when the horse relaxes, give a signal (clicker) and treat.