#23 Arena Objects

Appropriate gaits: Halt, Walk


While leading your horse or mounted, interact with various objects in and near the arena.  Tap the wall loudly or drag your whip along it.  Pick up a whip from a rail. Drape your jacket on a rail, ride around it then pick it up.  Trade items between riders. Push the gate.

Tip: If your horse reacts, keep repeating the action until they relax a bit (licking lips, relaxing eyes, slowing down, looking at you).

Time: 5 mins

TipMake sure your horse’s escape route is not through you!

Tip: Start this exercise unmounted and test each action slowly, and from a distance, first.  Gradually get closer until your horse reacts.

Tip: Get permission from other riders before starting, this could cause your horse or other horses to spook.

Tip: Remember to reward any signs of relaxation immediately by 1) stopping the motion. 2) moving the scary thing away. 3) praise.  This teaches your horse that calmness works.

Tip: Do not reward bad reactions.  If your horse flinches or moves away, continue the same level of intensity until they relax.

Important: If your horse does not relax faster over time, STOP.  Your timing is probably off or you are escalating too fast.  Have a professional review your technique.

Good for: Desensitization, trail, pleasure riding, bonding

One thought on “#23 Arena Objects

  • November 8, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    I love this! It makes my horse so much less spooky when I do a few sessions of desensitization with him.


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