Friday, April 5, 2013

De-spook officially started :-)

I love this de-spooking stuff.  It's gold!  It makes the horse more confident, trusting and the relationship stronger (if it's done right of course!).  It has to be slow and LOTS of approach and retreat.  Sunny is a calm kind of horse but just like any horse, he can 'go off' if he feels threatened.  It's nice though, that now, when I present him a new stimulus, he kind of just looks at me to say, oh.. this again...  And I'm not sneaky about it.  I start out at the end of my 12' rope and really move the object up, down, away, noisy, etc.  I want it to simulate a deer jumping out in front of us, or a flapping bird or piece of garbage flying in the wind. 
(oh look..heehee, the flying yellow rain coat landed on him! hahaha, poor horse!)

Then there is enough water and mud to float a boat in our yard!  I had him 'island' hoping.  In some spots, it is quite deep.  He pawed and played and tried to 'find bottom' but he went through willingly as long as I gave him time. 
I also used an umbrella to try and 'spook him' ;-)  Hard to take a picture and hold the umbrella... lol 
I rubbed it on him while it was closed, then opened it and closed it a few times.  Then moved it around once it was open.  This one definitely is not his favorite but I will continue with it.  By the end of the month, I will hopefully post a picture of opening it while riding... lol.. we'll see! 

Fun with the April Game :-))) 

Cyndi in Bourget, Ontario, Canada


  1. Cyndi, excellent pictures and post! Ah-D has been introduced to an umbrella many times, but he still has reservations. I will have to break it out this weekend and see what he thinks of it this year. His other problem area is empty plastic gallon milk jugs. :)

  2. That's awesome, Cyndi! We tried the tarp today with success. On to bigger and better things!

  3. I have a friend who, if it's safe, will leave the 'strange' objects in the paddock with them. That way they can see it and investigate it on their own. I don't know if that just helps with strange things IN their paddock or whether it transfers to trails? But she likes doing it. Maybe the milk jugs left in the paddock?

    I took out the umbrella yesterday again and Sunny was even better. Only a funny look at it and then I put it over his head. He didn't seem to care. It's amazing how good they get when we take our time and repeat! hahaha

  4. yes, the strange objects left in the paddock really works. Except that I left my easy entry cart in the paddock a couple of years ago and Ah'D took a big bite out of the seat.


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