March 05, 2014
Utilize what you have
I like to work with Dani on desensitizing when I can. Recent articles from Clinton Anderson recommend to just use whatever you have. You don't have to get fancy or go to a special horse park to work on things. He worked a horse in circles around chairs and other objects found around his area. Sometimes horses can spook at the most normal things so why not use buckets in a random place or a saddle on a railing?
I found a large branch on the grounds so decided to take a few minutes and play with it. I tied some twine to one end and started leading Dani around with the loud wiggling branch trailing behind us. She was pretty nervous at first but then all you could see was that she was listening to it intently. I made sure to do this on both sides.
I then took the branch and moved it around by her side and even moved it over her body and legs. Then I placed the branch in front of her and reeled it in. Any horse dislikes and loud object approaching them! She did good though. Maybe one step back but she just looked at it.
Next I worked on having her back and the branch suddenly being moved, trying to mimic if I was dragging an item from the saddle. She backed well and without fear and stopped when asked.
After the 10 minutes or so we stopped. If you don't have a lot of time you can still do something in small bites and work with objects or situations you have. Work on backing for 5 minutes, walk through an obstacle, work on sending the horse into and area and back out (like a stall or wash rack) Just be creative!
I may not have ridden much lately because of time, crashing my car (nothing major thank goodness, more to come) and weather but I try to engage Dani in little bits when I can.