Build Your Horse’s Confidence Around Spooky Objects
Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship has developed an effective method to train horses, regardless of their age, history, or any behavioral issues and past traumas. Join him on his weekly endeavors of tackling some of the most challenging situations with problem horses, and with problem owners. This week, Clinton works with Elvis to help him get acclimated to what he calls “man-made” objects.
To horses, any object that doesn’t live in their stall or pasture can be spooky. If they’re not used to something, it can cause horses to get scared, jumpy, and even dangerous. To make sure that you keep yourself and others out of harm’s way, you need to build your horse’s confidence. In this episode, Clinton is working in an area of the ranch that he considered a junkyard. It’s a place where tools, equipment, and feeders don’t really have a home and are instead all just in one big, dirty junk pile. While not the best place for work, it’s the greatest area to train horses.
In ordinary circumstances, when you take your horse on the trail, you’ll ride your horse around trees and bushes and rocks—things naturally found in the world. These don’t ten to spook most horses. However, when you take your horse around man-made environments where there are waters, feeders, equipment, machinery, and the likes, you’d be amazed at how easily horses get frightened. So, Clinton had all of this junk and he decided to use it to his advantage and create a training yard to build his horse’s confidence.
Clinton decided to spread everything out in the junkyard so that he could circle obstacles with his horses during training. It’ll be the exact same way that you train horses around trees, but with man-made items. While at first many horses emanate worry, after four or five days of practice, they’ve got their confidence.
To begin the training, you treat the obstacles just like they were trees. You want to be able to completely circle around them without hesitation. We notice that Elvis starts to keep more slack in the inside rein through his body, which shows his confidence increasing. To get the most out of this exercise, go around each item a minimum of three times, maximum of six. When your horse is frightened of something, target the fear of that object to get your horse broke—use your environment to train your horse.
If you notice your horse getting stiff, try to do some exercises with him to loosen him up. Clinton demonstrates this on Elvis by bending him around and softening him up with his inside leg. You’ll notice that in the beginning, your horse might just wander all over the junkyard area, but over time he’ll get better. Pretty soon he’ll be turning and maneuvering around all of those man-made items with little to no effort and a fully relaxed state of mind. When it comes to building confidence, all you need to do is make sure that you increase exposure to the item that’s causing fear and practice, practice, practice.
You don’t have to have the extensive junkyard area that Clinton does to practice this. Use the environment you have, as long as there are man-made objects, and just keep at it. Make sure that you have fun with it and do a lot of training to really get your horse broke.
Clinton Anderson has developed a method to help train any horses, regardless of their problem. Unfortunately, up until now it was nearly impossible to access the method when you’re on the go or at the barn. That’s why we’ve created three new ways to get the content you need at the price you want. Our Downunder Horsemanship app gives you access to your digital training kits and allows you to download videos and training content directly to your mobile device or view them on your computer. The Downunder Horsemanship app also offers over 100 hours of free, in-depth training content. You can also access all of the training material by joining our No Worries Club.
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