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Re: [WestKingdomEQ] Re: Sensitize & Desensitize Your Horse?

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  • Michael Canfield
    Hi All Perhaps I should explain what I mean by desensitize for the sake of this thread. When I think of desensitize it follows along the lines of despook .
    Message 1 of 38 , Dec 3, 2009
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      Hi All

      Perhaps I should explain what I mean by desensitize for the sake of this thread.

      When I think of "desensitize" it follows along the lines of "despook". I want my horse to have confidence in the world around them and not freak at every little thing because not everything is going to eat them. Getting a horse used to the SCA games equipment is "desensitizing" them. Getting them to stand quiet while you crack your whip near them or swing a rope over their heads is desensitizing. Getting them used to the sounds a saddle makes is desensitizing them. I believe that to get a horse to the point Laurentia mentioned is an AWESOME goal and to get there I think you have to desensitize and sensitize the horse. I also think that a horse needs a certain level of experience and training to get to that confidence level.

      In our case...we have two mustangs with limited "life experience" and one has had only a few rides under saddle.  So, for us, just riding is not a good way to deal with our particular situation. We want the horses to be confident in us as "leaders" and keyed to our body language (sensitive) yet we don't need them to feel like they need to bolt away from something that makes a noise or moves fast or both (desensitize) so we do exercises that cover BOTH aspects. We do a fair amount (both sensitize and desensitize) in the round pen both on the ground and in the saddle. We live in the country. Our hoprses are on the property. Our neighbors have four kids who ride mini bikes along our fence line, there is always some power tool going off...and we do discharge firearms up here in the country...so we want our horses to be "desensitized" to these kinds of things.

      No shortcuts...Laurentia is SO correct. I can tell that some previous owner tried "shortcuts" with my mare. We basically started over when we got her. This pushy, dominate mare is now MUCH more respectful, trusting and sensitive...and braver than before.

      If you are one of the lucky people who purchased a horse that "knows it all" or has had lots of training/experience then maybe covering all the foundation skills with them is unneeded. I think for many of us, however, we get horses that need some TLC and some work on their foundation skills so that they (and we) can improve and enjoy each other more.

      Your milage may vary (grin).


      On Dec 3, 2009, Laura <laura.langford@...> wrote:


      ummm... I just ride... I don't want my horses desensitized, I want them interested in their surroundings but listening to ME. If you have a good seat and horse sense you can pretty much deal with most issues. If you don't have a good seat, you need time in the saddle on as many different horses as you can get your ass on. There are ZERO shortcuts.

    • Nancy Reimers
      On Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 9:37 AM, Corwyn ap Rhys
      Message 38 of 38 , Dec 14, 2009
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        On Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 9:37 AM, Corwyn ap Rhys <corwyn@...> wrote:
        Elsie wrote:


        I found the spade bit video to be interesting. He gets a little vague at times, but gives good visuals on why greater leverage may be better for the horse...

        NOTE: I don't use a spade because Jack's not ready for it.  The following comment is based on what I've been taught and read, not what I've practiced...

        <MINOR RANT>
        A spade bit is NOT a leverage bit and should never be used as such.  It's a telegraph bit and should only be used on "finished" horses who are so well-trained that leverage is unnecessary for control. 
        I think he alludes to the idea of a telegraph bit when he discusses the amount movement the bit creates in the horse's mouth.  With the spades the proper "leverage ratio" translates the subtlety of trained hands to trained mouth when an ideal balance point is present.  What I liked about the video was that there is a good visual on how the balance point of the bit impacts the speed at which commands given down the reins are translated into the horse's mouth.  I agree that before and after that he is really vague and doen't quite communicate what he means (or perhaps doesn't know what he means).
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