Reply To: Fear of crops, whips, etc.

Lizzie Lou
Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 14

I use a Parelli carrot stick and savvy string. The savvy string comes with a little lash on it. I have one which has no lash because it was either taken off or it fell off. I use that one first or always for the sensitive horses. It is possible to use the string with the lash and not pop a horse with it, but I use the one without the lash to make sure I don’t accidently pop a horse with it. I use it gently over the horse’s back, croup, around legs, over head, with the mindset that I’m getting flies off for the horse. I imagine you know a lot of this anyway. I enjoy your posts. You are quite knowledgeable.

To help horses get over a scary thing:

have the horse on a long rope, minimum of 22 feet

keep yourself between the object and the horse at first

keep object far enough away that horse doesn’t have a major reaction (don’t go beyond threshold); move it in a rhythmic manner. In the case of a whip or whip-like object, move it left and right, in a fan pattern (wide upside down U)

lead horse as you hold object and move it in the above manner if possible – objects that move away from horse help increase horse’s confidence and reduce fear

allow horse to drift if it needs to… to increase its distance from object… to a point, don’t let it leave totally, hang onto that 22 foot rope

Variables to change over time according to horse’s confidence level: distance to object; whether handler is between object and horse or object is between handler and horse; movement; speed of movement; whether object touches horse

A common rule…If horse shows fear of something, one has to keep it up. Change the variables, but don’t take the object away until the horse shows some relaxation. If the object is taken away before the horse feels OK about it, then the fear is reinforced. It is like the hook and loop fastener sound (Velcro brand stuff). If a horse is fearful, increase your distance a bit, but put those straps together and apart until the horse doesn’t react anymore. Take the time it takes in what may seem like a long training session. (The fly mask/leg wraps, whatever it is has to be off the horse.)

When it comes to a whip and such when it is time to touch the horse with it, try to hold it so the handle will be the part that touches the horse (just a visible difference for the horse initially). Have the horse on a 12 foot lead rope. Hold the whip in your left hand if you will be touching the near side of the horse. Hold it in your right hand if you will be touching the off side of the horse. Aim for the withers with the mindset you will rub the horse in a friendly manner with it. Try to keep it in contact with the horse’s withers no matter what the horse does. Keep the horse’s head turned toward you. Stand 45 degrees from horse’s shoulder at first. Try to keep whip in contact with the horse until the horse doesn’t mind it anymore. We aim for the withers because that is where horse buddies groom each other… a friendly part of the body.