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  1. #1
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    Default Temporarily Blinding a horse!

    Can temporarily blinding a horse have any positive side effects for training purposes?

    Example!

    Very dominant insecure horse that isn't always responding to consistent handling, detailed training, and positive approach. Many methods have been tried. Round penning, lunging, clicker, desentizing, wrong thing hard right thing easy, etc.

    Could totally removing horse's sight via use of blinkers/blinders force the horse to rely on human for that aspect? Could it be of benefit if applied properly? Could it help convince the horse to totally trust human if approached properly for the horse that is not 100% trusting?

    In some circles of training, the horse is gently laid on its side and human sits on horse so horse knows human is not going to hurt horse even though human can.


    This idea came about while watching RFD TV...don't ask about my train of thought on this one.....it seems to make sense to me!

    I haven't tried it. I don't plan on it anytime soon! Could it be used as a tool in the tool box so to speak?! Anyone tried it or thought about it? Am I the only nut job to think of it?



  2. #2
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    Sep. 20, 2005
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    Default

    Like most things that come from RFD TV, this seems like a bad idea.

    ETA: Of course you're not the only one to think of it. Here's a video of Quality Road freaking out at the Breeder's Cup. They blindfold him about halfway through.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGfrr8CFuIw



  3. #3
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    May. 23, 2006
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    Default

    I get your train of thought.

    But if the horse doesn't trust humans to begin with, I'm not sure taking away a fundamental sense would put an insecure horse in a place where it could learn to trust?

    I've heard of isolating a horse and having one person bring it food and water at regular times, to build trust. Same concept, just less of a fear-factor.
    ...somewhere between the talent and the potato....



  4. #4
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    Default

    I was watching RFD-TV at the time...I was actually watching a special about LAR and the Anderson Sling being used in Norco, CA....very interesting actually. There was no product advertisement to this matter! My mind made it up as far as used to work with a horse that isn't 100% trusting of humans.

    I can see a horse that is good 98% of the time. When insecurity takes over, dominance comes out. Or vice versa! Normally, most of the time, horse is perfectly fine. During times of stress, horse doesn't always trust human due to insecure/dominace issues.

    I can see using it for a horse as described as above. I can see using it for specific tasks that the horse would question authority. I can see it being used.

    It is a very specific type of horse I am curious about. A completely insecure untrusting horse, it is a very bad idea. For a mostly great horse that has a couple of minor issues, I can see it building trust, not tearing it down.

    I can see it being used for a horse in a worst case scenario training. For teaching a horse ahead of time IN CASE it ever loses its sight. I have a mare I may try it on for this scenario. She has already lost sight in one eye. If she loses sight in her other eye, I can see it useful to have this worked in ahead of time......

    I see both sides of this. Who knows? It's just an idea!



  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
    Like most things that come from RFD TV, this seems like a bad idea.

    ETA: Of course you're not the only one to think of it. Here's a video of Quality Road freaking out at the Breeder's Cup. They blindfold him about halfway through.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGfrr8CFuIw

    hoodies are common equipment for gate crews in Germany.
    It's not a training device persay. But it sure comes in handy loading a horse into the gate. The above example though bad, because the situation was allowed to escalate to far. And not all horses do respond in kind either.

    As a prolonged method, I don't think I'd try it, especially not off the lead shank...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
    GNU Terry Prachett



  6. #6

    Default

    I think it could be really scary actually. Plus, they will know it's you who took their sight away, they aren't stupid. I know I wouldn't trust you again, after doing that to me.



  7. #7
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    Oct. 25, 2007
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    Default

    What would scare me the most is if the horse freaked out. He could do some serious damage to you or to himself, fatal damage.

    No, don't think its a good idea.
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld



  8. #8
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    Sep. 1, 2004
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    Default

    A blind horse freaking out is not a good thing. Unfortunately, I have seen this first hand.
    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.



  9. #9
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    Default

    Every time I see that QR video, I cringe at the thought of what would have happened if he'd gotten away from his handlers wearing that blindfold.

    Blindfolding works well in certain situations in which the handlers have EXTENSIVE training on how to use it as safely as possible. That video is a perfect reminder that it takes the most experienced, dedicated handlers around (like Breeders Cup starters). If a panicked, blindfolded horse gets away from a novice handler, I can assure you that the scenario is not going to end well. For anyone involved.
    Here today, gone tomorrow...



  10. #10
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    Default

    I concede it is a BAD idea.

    I am only asking if it is ever, or could ever be a useful tool.

    Oh well....I understand the serious repercussions of this idea.

    I just thought it could be used to build trust, not tear it down.

    Oh well...idea over! Thanks!



  11. #11
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    Oct. 26, 2007
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    Cool

    Over all, I agree, BAD IDEA. Especially something like full blinkers that couldn't be easily removed.

    Now.. I have had VERY good luck "blinding" a horse for shots. I have worked with a number of needle-phobes who stood perfectly still for injections while a towel covered their eyes.

    But, that is just a towel, slipped through a halter, and HELD with one hand, so it could be yanked off if the horse started to get upset.



  12. #12
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    Feb. 28, 2006
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Appsolute View Post
    Now.. I have had VERY good luck "blinding" a horse for shots. I have worked with a number of needle-phobes who stood perfectly still for injections while a towel covered their eyes.
    I was going to say exactly this...
    I have a TB mare who is truly PETRIFIED of needles (ex-racer, go figure!). If you put a towel over her eyes, she drops her head, licks/chews, relaxes completely, and doesn't react to the needle in the slightest. (does the same with a soft rope lip twitch...go figure). In a pinch, you can even cover the eye on your side with your hand, and she will settle -- NOT all the way like the towel, but enough to handle basic things (like wormer!)

    We DO teach all of our horses to lead with a 'blindfold' -- which, in English, is a saddle pad that's been slid up over their ears and eventually over their eyes, then held closed over their face by hand. Step forward, step back, raise head, lower head, allow me to slide off from behind the ears, from in front.

    OP -- i think this is what you were originally trying to say, just got the group hooked on/afraid of the "not easily removed" point of your question. If you were to use something you can easily remove or which MUST come off if you weren't holding it, then, YES, i do believe this is a valuable training tool. actually, i think it is an important one -- to be able to have a horse trust ou and move his feet as you request in a blinded situation....
    AnnMarie Cross, Pres, Crosswinds Equine Rescue, cwer.org
    Sidell IL (near Champ./UofI/Danville IL/IN state border)



  13. #13
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    Default

    You know that guy at the gas station, yeah the creepy one who doesn't seem to know his gut hangs out below his shirt, and he smells funny? Same dude who every time you go to the gas station tries to make conversation with you?
    we are going to blind fold you and ask you to go in the gas station.
    how do you feel?



    so does the horse.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  14. #14
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    Default

    AnnMarie,

    Thank you for putting sanity back into my request. Not to the point of panicking a horse, but to only build trust and to further trust through training.

    Towel is a better idea. I have a perfect sized one....will to job nicely if need be. Situation may warrant further training.

    All my horses accept eyes covered with hand, one or both. I want to further training with blind in one eye mare now that I thought of this idea! But to have an easily removable blinder is one thing I hadn't thought of.

    I really like the idea of furthering trust and training for any possible situation. Who knows....I like it.

    Thanks AnnMarie for putting into words what I obviously failed to do!



  15. #15
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    Oct. 27, 2010
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mustangtrailrider View Post
    Can temporarily blinding a horse have any positive side effects for training purposes?

    Horses here learn to be blindfolded as a matter of training. If they are ever in a fire situation, they need to be moved and sometimes, in a fire, they will fight to stay in their familiar place and put themselves and everyone else at risk (range fires out here can travel as fast as 20-30mph in a decent wind so you may have to move FAST to get out of the way). Blindfolding does tend to create trust IF it is approached quietly and trained ahead of time in small steps. Like hobbling and a number of other things it teaches the horse that his instinctive responses to things CAN be over ridden and he CAN trust his people even when his instincts are screaming at him to run like hell. Towels, saddle blankets, coats/jackets/ sweaters are all used to teach them to tolerate this and move where directed even though they can't see and it may be scary for them. The trainer first has to have their trust on other issues and to be good at reading their level of trust and be good at staying calm/quiet themselves. We will blindfold and then step up the noise stimulation around the horse and ask for continued trust despite all that...it is again, largely a function of focus in the horse..he needs to focus on his handler (that he already trusts to some extent)...it expands that trust and it is important to de-escalate things if it gets to be a bit too much...push ALMOST to the point they lose it and then back up, repeat and push just a hair further, back up..repeat until you have the level of trust you are looking for.



  16. #16
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    Default

    My goodness, (to some of you) some of the training concepts and trainers on RDF TV might not be YOUR cup of tea, but doesn't mean the theories, practises, etc do not work successfully for others. Tolerance.

    OP, my first thought when I read the title and first line was that it was a bad practise. Then I thought "well, maybe only as a tool in a worst-case-scenario". But upon reading the rest of your post and thinking about it, I actually think too it could be a useful tool when used appropriately.

    Never considered it as a training tool previously, but I think I might have to play around with it now! Similar thinking to laying a horse (gently) down, hobbling, etc. I think it could be used to build trust but of course, used incorrectly (ie, forcefully, without the right thinking/gentle intent behind it and applications both prior and afterward, and without the use of something easily removed), could also be damaging.

    The vid of Quality Road (half brother to one of my boys!) did make me nervous though because the blindfold took several minutes to get off when the horse panicked. I can't see anything different the gate crew could have done though; once he started reacting violently it was difficult to pull off the blindfold.

    Petstorejunkie, as a person, if you spoke to me and consoled me through the process and did it quietly and gently - and had never given me reason to mistrust you prior, I would probably be nervous going into that gas station, but would be forced to rely upon you further. I'd probably come out of there actually quite grateful to you for having led me through such a situation safely Similar to those exercises where a person falls back off a ledge into the hands and safety of a group or such. The same I think can be translated to a horse. Same as certain more natural scenarios and activities (ie, crossing water, playing with tarps or other, experiencing new things together, etc etc) that challenge horse and rider build trust.
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.



  17. #17
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    Default

    They make and sell full blinder hoods for a reason... people use them. Of course, it is fairly rare to see both full cups. One full cup, yes, but often used for medical reasons. I think mostly, people buy the full cups so they can cut out exactly the area they want open, not because they ride a horse fully blinded.

    It's fairly common practice for Saddlebred horses to warm up in a blinker hood. Usually only half blinkers. Not only does it help the horse concentrate, but proper adjustment can actually help train a horse to be lighter in the bridle by passively affecting where he naturally wants to carry his head to adjust his field of vision.
    People are crazy and times are strange.
    I used to care but, things have changed.



  18. #18
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    Default

    We had a race colt that sustained an injury to his neck and he would not hold his head straight once healed.
    According to the vet, just the wrong muscle memory had developed.

    We put full cup blinders on him, with just a small opening on one side, so he had to hold his head straight to see while galloping and in time we opened that more and more, then the other side and the colt went on to do some winning and made a great ranch horse later.

    As far as using a blindfold to help control a horse, most older veterinary books explain that technique in their "restrains" chapter, along with twitching, hobbling and tying a leg up.



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