Overcoming the fear of scary objects

peanut

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When trying to help your horse get over his fear of a seriously scary object like clippers or other noisy things, should you stand with the object while it is making a noise or leave it on the ground and stand with the horse? It doesn't work having the horse on the end of a lead rope as he tries to tank off with me on the other end of it!

Any suggestions woud be a great help :)
 

horsesatemymoney

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Could u stand with the horse and somebody else hold object? Or have it running in the distance whilst horse in stable eating t? Or have it turned off and let horse sniff and explore it to gain confidence ?
 

*hic*

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If he's trying to tank off with you then you have already scared him which is rather counter productive. If it's clippers in particular then I'd be inclined to chuck him in his stable where he's happy, give him his feed and leave the clippers running outside the door. I'd do that for several days until he's settled then I'd pick them up and walk about with them so he gets used to the noise moving round, then I'd leave the clippers running whilst I groomed him, then I'd take the clippers in with me whilst I groomed him. Then when he was happy with the noise and it moving round him I'd find a nice scratchy bit, scratch that and gently put the clippers against the back of my hand and then let him feel them on his skin. Taking it very slowly so he gets used to it is far more effective in the long run than diving in and scaring him.
 

peanut

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Taking it very slowly so he gets used to it is far more effective in the long run than diving in and scaring him.
Scaring him is the last thing I want to do!

I've tried leaving clippers running in the field at supper time but he won't go near his feed if it is within hearing distance. Hedge trimmers etc are also a problem although he's never had a bad experience, at least not with me.

I tried it in the field (rather than the stable) because I thought it was kinder to allow him space to get away from the noise if he chose to.
 

Littlelegs

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Have you got access to another horse who's fine with them? Anything young or jumpy is usually tied next to my mare while she is done. It means they can stay at a distance, but because she is so chilled they soon relax. Then its just a case of gradually taking the clippers closer to them. And if one is genuinely scared, I always move the clippers away before they move themselves away. I also bought a pair of men's hair clippers for about £10 as ours are too heavy for my little girl, & she wanted to learn. They are extremely quiet so might be worth investing in some? They're ok for tidying up, think it was b&m they came from.
 

catdragon

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My mare was absolutely terrified off clippers. I gave her sedalin - 6mm (on vets instruction) - then gradually decreased the dose with each clip. The past 3 years she has been clipped with no sedalin. She has become less "jumpy" and just stands there as good as gold now... Was well worth the cost of a couple of tubes to make it bearable for her. She was downright dangerous without it.... She's a different girl now :D
 

Bubbles

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Michael Peace has an excellent DVD on how to clip/desensitize. Well worth the money. I had one I couldn't get near with clippers, after following his method she stood snoozing whilst clipping. A lot quicker and less stressful for both of you :)
 

*hic*

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If your clippers are really noisy you could try changing to something like the Wahl Moser Avalon. Very quiet and no lead so getting away from stressy horse is easy.

I prefer to try it in the stable because I don't want the horse to get away from the noise, I want him to understand that it's not threatening, then I take great pains to make sure he realises it's not threatening by introducing it slowly. Arguably every time you introduce the noise and allow him to run away you are reinforcing his fear and his certainty that flight is the correct reaction. If you can have someone clip a good horse where he can see it it might help.
 
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