SHOULD YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT WHEN DESENSITIZING AN OFF THE TRACK THOROUGHBRED TO FLAG WORK?
Note: The following excerpt is the transcript from a question I answered from my Facebook Live made in the Steady Horse Facebook Group on 7/3/19. Watch the video or read the text below to learn the answer to the question.
So, you think about these off the track thoroughbreds and these guys develop a bad rep. You hear people talk about how they are very reactive, or very spooky. Some of them are just super amped up and have a lot of energy. Think about coming from a track environment where the horses are asked to go. Typically people are using these thoroughbreds off the track for recreational riding, looking for a safe and steady amount. They’re looking for something that they can just ride safely down the trail and around the arena.
When you’re doing your desensitizing, a lot of people will ask questions like this, “Is there something special I need to do for this horse?” Well, here’s the thing.
What you need to do is make sure that you’re listening to your horse. That’s the most important thing. because no matter what kind of background the horses come from, you’re going to desensitize in a gradual and steady manner. What I mean by that is you start with a certain level of safe energy when you’re desensitizing, right? Until you might be waving a flag, you’re talking about flag work here and you’ll notice if you add a little bit of energy, how is your horse going to react? Is my horse freaking out and super excited? Well then maybe I need to start with a little bit less, so I can graduate them to more energy.
You’ll hear me say this over and over again. Sometimes I feel like I sound like a broken record, but the truth is it really doesn’t matter. You know, there isn’t one way to desensitize or train a horse.
So just take your time, be gradual. Don’t ask for too much, too soon