Spook Busting - What is it?
Spook Busting is desensitisation of your horse to a stimuli that he/she might find potentionally scary. Horses are often described as a 'flight' or 'fight' animal (perhaps more correctly described as a freeze, flight, fight or fright animal). By asking them to be a part of our world, we are asking them to accept stimuli (sights, sounds, smells) which are not natural to them. Sometimes this means that their fear instincts are activated more commonly known as 'spooking'. This leads to an uncomfortable often nerve-racking ride, damaging the confidence of both horse and rider, and could be potentionally dangerous. Common scenarios could include riding past road-works, over ditches, through water, plastic bags in hedges, cyclists and football being played. Other instances where desensitisaion can be beneficial could include worming, fly spray, injections and clipping.
Leading by example;
" I first saw 'Jack' shortly after Sandra had taken him on. She had warned me on arrival that he was very nervous of new people. As I approached, he tensed up and started backing away. I struggled for nearly quarter of an hour before I could get close enough to give him a simple, routine vaccination.
Whilst in my time as a Veterinarian I have encounted difficult patients but he was by far the worst!
I did visit Sandra's other ponies during the course of the next year and on each visit Sandra asked me to make a point of going up to Jack for a stroke hello.
When his routine booster was due a year later I could not believe the change. I walked straight up to him and vaccinated him without a worry.
The change was incredible as he literally didn't notice.
Katie Robinson BVSc MRCVS Hampden Veterinary Equine Practice, Baskerville, Horgan & Partners
To learn more about Communication, Confidence, Overcoming phobias, Safety, Trust and having Fun with your own horse or Sandra's just call or e-mail.
From foal to full grown, companion to competition Sandra communicates with them all.