This exercise involves accustomizing your horse to various stimuli while communicating your awareness of their awareness. Accustomizing, or desensitization, in this context, means gradually exposing the horse to various stimuli that touch, move around, or make noise near the horse, ultimately helping the horse overcome fears or anxieties.
Tips for Success:
– Focus on perfecting one side before moving to the other.
– Pay close attention to timing and aim to stay below your horse’s threshold, stopping before they move their feet. If they exhibit worried movement, cease the stimulus immediately.
– Maintain awareness of their facial expressions, especially their eyes. If they stop blinking, remain in place until they start blinking again. You’re observing for a positive change in focus.
Common Problems and How to Address Them:
– Starting with stimuli that are too overwhelming or intense.
– Failing to recognize stress indicators.
– Exceeding the horse’s threshold by progressing too quickly.
– Not halting the stimulus immediately upon observing any signs of tension when the horse moves.
– If the horse does move, waiting for them to stop moving before removing the stimulus (incorrect approach); instead, promptly remove the stimulus if the horse moves (correct approach).
By following these guidelines, you’ll work on gradually accustomizing your horse to various stimuli while incorporating focus techniques, promoting their confidence and trust in different situations.
Even though this is listed as a step, you should incorporate this approach with everything you do with your horse from catching, haltering all the way up to ridden work.
A reminder how to use this course: click on Mark Complete below and go to the next step when you and your horse are ready.