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Horses For Sale
Problem Solving Clinic

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DE-SPOOKING YOUR HORSE

UPCOMING DATES

January 25, 2020
1034 Hodges Circle
Mansfield, GA
Covered Arena

Register

In this clinic we will help your horse become brave and confident. We'll do lots of "despooking" from the ground, all done in a gradual way without overwhelming your horse in order to build his confidence and trust in you as his leader.

The methods and items used in this clinic will be very similar to the way Ed trains horses for mounted police work and television / movie work.

It's our responsibility to properly prepare our horses to go out into the human world we've created for them. We must introduce our world to them in a way they can understand and gently accept.

Before starting the despooking sessions you will have instruction in teaching your horse several control exercises in hand. On the ground you will be able to back up your horse, move his hindquarters and shoulders independently left and right with very light pressure and send him forward around you at walk and trot in both directions. Our DVD, Six Keys to Harmony will explain the full description of our ground exercise program. When he is responding lightly to your requests for all these movements then you are ready to progress to despooking with the confidence of being able to control his movement during the process.

We will progress through numerous short sessions of despooking gradually working up to scarier items as the horses are able to accept them- a towel, small plastic bag, larger plastic bag or feed bag, rain coat, bag of cans, tarp, flag, aluminum foil, plastic jug with rocks, an umbrella, cymbals, drums, flares, fireworks and possibly gunfire blanks.

Despooking done incorrectly can be counter-productive and actually result in teaching your horse to be afraid and flee rather than be confident, relaxed and calmly accepting scary things.

The goal in all despooking is that you never frighten your horse to the point that his feet move. Your job is to build his courage and to increase his trust in you, not to make him afraid. This means you must proceed slowly (not sneaky but casual) and with lots of retreat when he is calmly accepting. You should pay close attention and be able to read the horse’s body language and energy.
If your horse is handling everything well, we may progress to working on the same techniques while mounted.

By the end of the clinic you will have developed a much more trusting relationship and partnership with your horse. He should then be bravely accepting many items and extreme sensory input from which he may have been previously frightened. This will result in safer, more productive and pleasant riding.

Ed Dabney has many years of experience in helping horses become more courageous and confident in high stress circumstances through his extensive work with mounted police and military units in the US and Europe.

  • Conducted horsemanship and sensory and environmental behavior training clinics for Mounted Police Units in the cities of Rome Italy, Malmo Sweden and Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Conducted regularly scheduled training for 10 years with the Atlanta Mounted Police Unit horses and officers. Ed rode in downtown Atlanta with the Atlanta Mounted Police during the week of the 2019 Super Bowl to provide immediate assistance with any horses that may have had problems during this high profile, very crowded and chaotic event.
  • Conducted training clinic for the Sicilian Mounted Forest Guard
  • Conducted horsemanship and riding clinics for the King of Sweden’s Royal Mounted Palace Guard, Stockholm Sweden

Working in the film industry since 1988 as a Head Wrangler and Stunt Rider, Ed has trained many horses to calmly accept unusual environments full of noise, movement, people, equipment, traffic, smoke, fire, flashing lights, simulated lightning, gunfire and mounted combat with swords and lances. His horses have been involved in close-up filming in high traffic inner city scenes, inside sound stages, close to burning buildings and in battle scenes with ground explosions, cannon fire and extreme chaos.

Read Ed's published magazine article on despooking for more information.



Problem Solving Clinic