Overcoming Spookiness in the Dressage Arena

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Advertising banners at the show, a stroller next to the arena or applause during the prize-giving ceremony belong to the type of things that quite often spook horses. It’s a pity if the horse can perform all the movements well, but the rider’s enjoyment of it all is marred by those external stimuli.

As prey animals, horses have instincts that we cannot keep under control with pressure and force. Instead, desensitization training and groundwork are a better and less risky alternative to accustom horses step by step to strange looking objects and scary situations.

For more advanced horses, the daily dressage training itself offers many opportunities to practice a number of specific spooky “show scenarios.” This preparation can keep small upsets in unfamiliar surroundings from becoming a huge crisis. Uta Gräf explains that while you can’t practice everything, you can get to know your horse better and keep your composure in a dicey situation.

Further videos on the same topic:
Training horse to remain calm in uncomfortable situations Part 1: How do Horses learn


You will learn in this video:

  • How Uta Gräf uses desensitization training to overcome spookiness
  • How to prepare your horse for show scenarios that might scare him
  • The significance of trust and desensitization exercises in dressage training

Uta Gräf

Uta Gräf made a name for herself on the international stage with her sensitive riding. Through her unusual combination of high-level dressage riding and allowing her horses to live as naturally as possible. She has become a role model for changing attitudes towards the horse and dressage for the better. 

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