Training horses to remain calm in uncomfortable situations part 3: Getting used to umbrellas



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Australian Warwick McLean rides at Grand Prix as well as being an expert in horse behavior. He mostly works with retraining horses that are fearful at competitions or other situations where they have developed problems. A horse from the dressage rider, Benjamin Werndl, is scared of umbrellas. We get to watch Warwick McLean in this video as he builds on the previous exercises done establishing the basics and getting the horse used to plastic tarpaulins and noise before today when he introduces a safe object, in this case, a flag, ultimately preparing this horse for the step by step work with the umbrella.

When beginning it is best to have the horse near a wall or in a small area until the horse is used to the object. It is important to go slowly and repeat the exercises on both sides until the horse remains relaxed when being touched. Warwick McLean explains how best to approach this work and how to distract the fearful or tense horse through methods such as overshadowing. Once the horse is accustomed to being touched by the flag, Warwick McLean demonstrates how to use reverse psychology to help give the horse the feeling he is in control of the object, motivating him to go up the object rather than run away.

This will all be repeated with the umbrella until the horse is at a stage where more umbrellas are introduced, firstly from the ground and then later under the rider.

Further videos in this series:

Warwick McLean

The Australian combines his years of experience in horse behavior training and retraining horses, with his love of dressage, training and competing horses to Grand Prix. Together with his wife, he manages a training stable near Düsseldorf. He also assists with training the horses of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl.

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