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4 Week Study Group – Despooking
March 1, 2021 - March 28, 2021
It is FREE for all CT Club members.
Despooking exercises help to build your horse’s confidence about novel or unusual sights, objects and situations. Our approach to despooking helps your horse learn how to control his impulse to flee, and think his way through the scary situation instead, turning to you for guidance. This is an amazing way to build two-way trust with your horse.
We start off with a basic but very useful despooking exercise where you teach your horse to target spooky objects. This helps change unknown or fearful objects into a target, which your horse understands, has good associations with and thus greatly reduces the associated fear.
Moving on, we’re going to start using a tarp as a despooking tool, asking our horses to first target it and then turning it into a mat and asking them to stand on it. If a tarp is too scary for your horse, you can substitute something else, such as a jumper or towel.
One of the things many horses are scared of is spooky objects moving behind them or touching them, even if they are willing to target it. To address this, we’re going to use a technique with a stationary target, which gives the horse both comfort and control in this situation. This is a great technique for being able to move around or touch a horse with something spooky, whether it’s a tarp, fly spray, saddle or even your hand or grooming brush for some horses.
We’re now going to put our new skills to the test and introduce our horses to a new spooky object or situation, such as an umbrella, or even approaching a spooky new item in the yard or going to the spooky end of the arena.
As always, you will choose the challenge level that is right for your horse, so that this is an enjoyable experience and builds your relationship together.
To take part in this Study Group, click here to find out more and join the CT Club.