April 17, 2013

O- Obstacles

This isn't a blog about my obstacles in horse ownership or boarding facilities.  It's about obstacle courses and in a lot of ways for de-spooking!  I'm really hoping I can get Dani to a de-spooking clinic sometime, I think it would be great for both of us!

 Police do tons of de-spooking for their horses, they have to!  Umbrellas, screaming children, flashing lights, flapping things etc etc.  Be creative!  Anything can be used to de-spook a horse or teach them to safely maneuver obstacles.  I watched a recent Clinton Anderson episode where he worked with police horses.  His way was to constantly have the horse moving and changing directions while being around that scary object.  Eventually the rider would try to calmly walk the horse by the object....still nervous, the horse would be moved around more.  It was pretty interesting.

Other ways about it is approach and retreat, introduce the scary object at a distance or where the horse is just feeling insecure or ready to run, then take the object away.  This works great for flappy things like bags.


Much of it seems very similar to trailer training.  One step at a time and rewarding a horse for any effort in the right direction.  Also getting them to work away from the object so they realize that rest and the object are nice things!


From my experience of horses freaking out when tree branches scratch my helmet, I want to come up with a series of obstacles that do just this.  First I'd want to start from the ground and have a place holder for the rider so something would scrape that then work on me being in the saddle and perhaps being led.  I have so many ideas and just looking at these few pictures there are tons of items that can be used.  I think sounds are also great "obstacles".  Sirens and flashing lights, flash lights in the darkness.

Now a helicopter would be the ultimate!!  Dani would certainly not be afraid of a flying flock of geese if she could stand still while a helicopter lands!!!  While at the mall a few months ago Steve and I saw those really pricey miniature remote helicopters....I thought "YES!"  that's what I need.  That and a duck call or two!  LOL.  What ideas do you all have for obstacles?


Cindy D. said...

We use a lot of different things. Of course bags and bridges, rain slickers, and traffic. Right now we are working on the rope gate. It is amazing how many horses really struggle with that.

Lauren said...

This is something I wish more hunter/jumper barns would have. It would be a lot of fun to play around with and work on desensitizing your horse :)