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Fundamental Friday: Beginnings of Bombproof 

Bomb proof. A title most horse buyer would love to hear in the description of a prospect they are shopping for. Except for the few unicorns that are out there, most horses are not born this way. However most can learn and earn the title through proper handling and training. Here are some guidelines to put your equestrian on the path to earning the title “Bomb Proof”. Pressure, Settle, Release. Introducing things that are scary, and teaching your horse not to explode and flee is as easy as 1, 2, 3... Ok, It's not always that easy. Sometimes, this process requires an extra dose of patience and consistency for horses that are extra sensitive and flighty. I can honestly say that this process has never failed me and I have started 100’s of colts ranging from the unicorns that we all love to horses that I had my doubts about. Pressure: First apply just enough pressure to get your horse uncomfortable. The idea is not to terrify the horse but to apply enough pressure for your horse to acknowledge the “scary thing” and to start to process it.

For example- I like to use feed sacks to begin sacking out my horses. I start with a feed sack in the center of the round pen and crinkle it and wave it around. Some horses stay put. I will then continue crinkling and waving the bag walking towards that horse until the horse makes a move to leave.

Settle: Once the horse has acknowledged the pressure, then keep the pressure at the same intensity until the horse quits trying to leave and decides to stay and settle.

For example- I have a rope halter with a long lead rope on my horses while I'm doing the sacking our process. Once the horse makes the choice to leave I bump the halter and lead rope to have the horse stop and stay with the crinkling waving feed sack. Sometimes it takes multiple bumps to get the horse to stay. It's also very important that you allow the horse to leave with a step if he wants. Once the horse decides to stay prepared for the next guideline.

Release: As soon as the horse make the decision to stay with the scary thing, then release the pressure by taking away the scary thing and giving the horse a short break.

For example- I will take the bag and set it on the ground and walk up to my horse and pet him for a minute or 2. Repeat this process until gradually increasing the pressure until the horse doesn’t seem bothered by the “scary thing”