Desensitizing the Young Horse

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 11.02.24 AMThis clip is an excellent example of the correct use of pressure and release. When introducing touch to a young horse in preparation for grooming, blanketing, saddling, or just plain handling it is extremely important to know when to “back off” or release the pressure so that the horse can understand it’s not forever and what is being asked of him is to wait, look, and try.

Ideally you would try and remove the scary object (in this case the flag and the rope) before the horse moves away. If the horse does move before you take the scary object away then keep it in place and move with him and direct that movement so that you are safe while the horse is working his way through things, releasing when he stops. Remember “It is the behavior the horse is displaying at the time of release he is most likely to repeat.”