How to desensitise a carriage driving horse to unusual or loud noise | Training method for horses

7 years ago
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Horses can be frightened by unexpected, unusual or loud noise, which can lead to them bolting; this film shows one method we use to teach them to cope happily with noise. Carriage driving horses often have to cope with rattling carriages, lots of traffic (due to lack of off-road driving routes or being used for commercial work etc) and the prospect of a commotion from harness or something breaking on the carriage. Teaching them to be confident with different noise can stop them kicking out or bolting in fear and this method helps to build their confidence with other things they may encounter, as shown in the film.

We aim to produce horses that are safe, confident and happy in any sphere of harness work, and we often have horses sent to us for retraining that have had an accident or been frightened by something. Therefore part of our training involves getting horses used to as much noise as possible, and one of the ways we achieve this is by dragging different things behind the carriage.

We explain how this confidence-building exercise relates to real-life situations, and also discuss why it is important to do this in a soft bit on a loose rein, as it shows the horse is happy to do things rather than being restrained via a harsh bit.

Everything we expose horses to has a practical purpose in mind and it is also important that this training takes place in the environment where the horse is driven (i.e. not in a quiet yard or enclosed arena), as many frightening things can be found out on the roads.

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