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Re: RC: Re: Spooking and other problems you have asked me about....

Dear Tracey,
From experience I too have found that my horses bond much more better and 
faster when exposing them to the "Real World". The round pen/ arena work is 
very valuable in the respect that if done properly it can teach the youngster 
it's basics, respect issues or introducing them and teaching them how to 
handle the scary stuff. But the point is there is only so much that can be 
done in the roundpen. You just cannot expose the horse to every scary 
situation  he'll ever encounter out there in the "Real World". I think what 
Merv is getting at, and this is how I look at it, is the roundpen is a great 
tool to teach the horse how to cope with how to deal with a scary situation, 
so hopefully he will have bonded with you enough that when you get out there 
on the trail he doesn't kill you if he does go beserko.. And yes, sometimes 
in endurance all the round pen training in the world is not going to calm an 
overly exuberant horse in his first race. But hopefully, he is bonded just 
enough to realize that he must always respect your space, and never run over 
you etc. in any situation . See what I mean?
But, on the other flip of the coin my first horse was an 18 month old wild 
Arab colt ( I know not the most ideal horse for a 12 year old kid). I was 
just a kid and knew very little about Natural Horsemanship principals. I 
gentled this guy by just hanging around him A LOT. I would do simple things 
like offer him grain. When he was OK with me touching him I worked up to lots 
of petting, rubbing, brushing. Want to know  how  I got him used to the 
saddle? Well, I did know that a horse's worst enemy was Big cats. We had lots 
of little kittens around the stables, so I put many on him and he got used to 
the idea of them crawling all over him. He! He! I never did have a problem 
putting a saddle on him or anything else. He was incredibly spooky though. 
Want to know how I lessened his spookiness? Well, I hung birthday balloons, 
flappy things, and streamers all over his corral  where he hung out the most 
and ate. By golly, he got used to it and was MUCH better after that. I am not 
saying to do these techniques. This was a child's version of there is 2 ways 
to skin a cat. I had a most wonderful electrifying bond with this horse and 
most importantly I or the horse (or the kittens for that matter ) was never 
hurt by these rather strange approaches.

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