Thursday 4 April 2019


On Monday I hit up the dollar store on my way out to the barn and picked up an umbrella. Time for desensitizing work for Cisco!

I started off with some TRT Method groundwork. I've been slowly going through the steps - very slowly. But Cisco is starting to get it and is thinking more about where his feet are. I wouldn't say that it calms him yet - there has only been a couple of times when he's dropped his head down and relaxed. Mostly he does the movements, softens through them, then when I step back to give him a long lead he llamas and stares at something. But he llamas with a softer eye, so I guess that's progress?

Anyhoo, he was super chill and relaxed, likely at least partly because there was another horse in the arena. The good thing was that the lady who owned said horse is also big about desensitizing, so she had no problem with me doing weird things.

I brought out the umbrella. It was quite flappy while folded up, so I started with flapping it all around him. He was unsure, but stood rock still. Then I pushed the button and the umbrella flipped out and opened up. Cisco flinched, as would I if someone unexpectedly opened an umbrella in my face.
It's really hard to hold a horse, an umbrella, and a phone - thus the crappy media.

And that was it. I waved that umbrella all around him, laid it on his back, had him walk while I held the umbrella high over his back and behind his butt. No concerns. His only concern came when I had the umbrella on the ground - it was just a little too hard to pick up in his mouth. I so hoped he would because I really wanted that picture.

He's seen an umbrella before, so I'm not overly surprised that it wasn't a huge deal. But I was really pleased with how relaxed he was and that he really wanted to engage with it.
Extra crappy sideways media.

Next, I moved onto some sound using a clapper type thing. Again, I've done this before with him, but only once or twice, and it's been a while. Also again, he was super and stood completely still and was far more concerned that it wasn't edible than that it was making noise.

I was really happy with how relaxed he was through it all. I don't know if he was only relaxed because there was another horse in the ring with him, and it will be a completely different situation when we're alone, so I'll definitely be looking for the opportunity to get a comparison.

I also want to work on this stuff while mounted, which will require a second person. He gains confidence from me while on the ground. On his back is a different story. I'll have to borrow Pony Grandma one night to help me out with this.


  1. It’s fun isn’t it? I wish we were closer. We could work together.

  2. Love doing stuff like this!

    1. I wish I had more time to play with this kind of stuff.

  3. So fun!! I should remember to grab cheap stuff from the dollar store the next time I want to do some desensitization work.

    1. I picked up the umbrella at Dollarama, they also had Canada flags for Canada Day that were tempting. I had to buy the sound things from Party City last year.