Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Is your horse tense, spooky or unpredictable, despite training and efforts to get calmness?
It could very well be that your horse is holding tension while standing still. No amount of traditional desensitization is going to fix that. The aim of regular desensitization is very often to get a horse to stand still and not run away, when scary stuff happens. This may sometimes work, but standing still is frequently confused with relaxation and the result of the desensitization is freeze mode and a horse that appears calm but is holding tension on the inside. Which results in behaviours like sudden explosions and the horse being unpredictable.
Check out the videos below and learn how to spot the difference between standing still and freeze mode so that you can help horses who hold tension to truly become brave and relaxed.
In short, we want the horse to move out of tension instead of stopping and holding tension. If you want to see what regular desensitization looks like with the same horse a few years back, watch video below from 2 minutes 45 sec. Although he is not holding a lot of tension here (which can be spotted by his ears moving) he could easily be on his way to freeze mode if this method isn`t applied with the greatest care. The video has no sound.
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