Please note: Pictured are professional horse handlers in a controlled environment. Please do not try this type of desensitization training without the guidance of a professional. Safety first!
DAY 7. Temperament, temperament, temperament; it’s everything with horses. You build a relationship based on temperament, not athletic ability, or bloodlines, or good looks. A horse with a safe temperament that meshes well with your own personality is priceless.
In my book, Solar has a winning temperament. In unfamiliar situations he remains level-headed and attentive to his handler. Hopefully the pictures from today help capture how good-natured, curious, and easy-going Solar is.
After a productive ride in the field, Solar and I celebrated the 4th of July by doing desensitization with sparklers, smoke, and loud, fireless “TNT” poppers. I got the idea to expose him to these type of things from clinics instructed by police horse trainers. Police horses must be taught to remain calm in the presence of all kinds of unusual stimuli like smoke, flashes, loud noises, and crowds.
Desensitizing horses to “human things” means they will be safer to be around and can navigate more confidently through a life that is controlled by people. The key with desensitization is to never force the horse to accept; make sure that they have a safe way to retreat if they need more space from the frightening object/activity. Allow the horse’s natural curiosity and your leadership skills teach them that they can “be ok” even when scary things are happening.
I’ll try to get some video together from Solar’s fireworks training today.