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Despooking Equestrian Clinic - Ed Dabney Gentle  Horsemanship________________________________________________



October 12
Shannondale Farm
2395 Birmingham Rd
Alpharetta, GA 30004
For more information
and registration contact
Abi Kroupa 561-284-3228


Release and Hold Harmless Policy
Cancellation Policy

In this clinic we will help your horse become brave and confident. All of the despooking work will be done in a gradual way without overwhelming your horse in order to build his confidence and trust in you as his leader. We will start the clinic from the ground. The horses that are progressing well on the ground will be able to move on to mounted despooking.

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.

Despooking Your Horse ClinicOur Summer Camp kids assisted in riot training for the Atlanta Mounted Police
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.

Despooking Your Horse ClinicDespooking to gunfire with Atlanta Mounted Police

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.

Despooking Your Horse Clinic
  • 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
Despooking Your Horse Clinic
Despooking Your Horse Clinic

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.

More Information on Ed Dabney Clinics

  • We require to see a current negative coggins before any horse is unloaded.  Please do not unload any horse on the concrete.  Drive into the Parking field before unloading.  You do not need a health certificate unless you are crossing state lines.  
  • We have stalls and outdoor paddocks available for $25 per day.  Our 10 x 12 stalls have shavings and water. 
  • You may trailer in the day before and stay the day after if you wish.  We have two RV hook-ups with 30 amp electric outlets and water hook-ups you can use at night (we need the faucets during the day to fill water troughs).  We live on site and have security gates that are closed at night.  RV hook-up is $10 per night.
  • Bring your lunch and beverage or there is a Subway and Pizza / Bar-B-Q 3 miles from our facility.  We have a refrigerator and microwave in the barn office you may use.
  • Minimum age for riders is 16.
  • No stallions, dogs, drugs, profanity or alcohol.  
  • No smoking near the barns or arenas.  

What to Bring:

Sack lunch and beverage, Lawn chair, Note pad and pen, rain slicker, all horse tack for participants: Snaffle bit (bring your own or they are available for purchase at clinic or from our web site prior to clinic) Rope halter with a 12-foot lead (bring your own or they are available for purchase at clinic or from our web site prior to clinic) Helmets are recommended and are required for participants under 18 years old. 

Location and Contact

The Ed Dabney Gentle Horsemanship Training Facility is located at 1034 Hodges Cir.  Mansfield, GA.  The clinic will be held in our covered arena.  

For any questions or problems please call Colleen at 770-856-8250.


There are Airbnbs available Covington Vacation Rentals & Homes - Georgia, United States | Airbnb and major chain hotels in Covington, conveniently located within an easy 10 min drive to our facility. 

These hotels are all located at exit 93 off I-20:

Hampton Inn 678-212-2500     14460 Lockridge Blvd. Covington 30014              

Holiday Inn Express   470-441-9500  1445 Paras Dr     Covington, GA 30014

Travelodge                 770-784-1849   10225 Hwy 142 N. Covington, GA 30014

Problem Solving Clinic

Colt starting demonstration by Ed during the Rome Italy Horse Fair