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Flooding or desensitizing?

I wanted to give my opinion on a very debated topic. How do you know if you are flooding or just desensitizing your horse? The most important thing for me when I desensitize a horse is that he gets to be okay with the object I am desensitizing with. I don’t want him to pretend like he is okay or freeze only because he is more scared of overstepping my rules than the object. A lot of times your horse will freeze when you for example is working with the flagstick. If the horse stands still and looks asleep, that is one thing but if they’re frozen in fear that is something completely different. If my horse is frozen in fear I will work my flagstick for a while, move their feet and then work the flagstick again. I want their feet moving to keep the brain working. Pretty soon, the horse will realize that it is safe to stand still, they’re not trapped and the flagstick will not kill them. And the best thing of all is that they will see it as it was you that saved them! Here they were, thinking that the flagstick would kill them but you got them out of it and helped them through it.

I want their feet moving to keep the brain working.

To not desensitize is not an option to me, especially not if the horse shows lots of fear. What is important though is to have a feel for the right amount of pressure, how fast to move along and when to release. If you got that you will soon have a brave, curious horse that will go through anything for you!

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