Posted by: Realist | February 4, 2008

Desensitizing Montana

I found one of our old tarps out in the field and decided this would be a great opportunity to desensitize Montana. I was surprised at how desensitized he already was, and Elizabeth gets all the credit for slapping him with empty feed sacks when we first got him.

Here’s a picture of Montana walking over a tarp with no hesitation. I wonder how much of this is due to the new Monty Roberts Dually halter we got. Although simple in design (I probably could have made it myself), it seems to work wonders with Montana. He quickly gives to pressure now. (Although he still has a habit of jerking the rope out of your hands and bolting for home when he’s pushed too much.)


Since he was so good at walking over the tarp, I tried waving it at him, throwing it between his legs, and throwing it over his back. He just stood there quietly.


Wow, Elizabeth must have spent a lot of time with him, since he’s usually a very spooky horse. Then again, he has good days and bad days, and perhaps today was a good day. So then I tried throwing the tarp over his head, essentially blinding him.



He was actually quite good. He took a couple steps, then dropped his head until the tarp slid off, then he stood quietly.

I also assembled a “grid” out of jumping poles (landscaping timbers) and made him walk forwards and backwards over it a couple dozen times. He’s still not completely comfortable going over them backwards, but he’ll do it if we go slowly.


All in all, he did very well today.  He was surprisingly calm with the tarp and was very responsive to all the groundwork.



  1. Wow! Nice to see your horse so calm! My QH is that way, too! Nothing seems to faze him. I also have two little mustangs. It will be interesting to see how they do!

  2. Ted! Your horses are so pretty!

  3. That is so great! Does Montana pull back a lot? What does that halter do? I have a mare that just started the whole pulling back thing. It looks like you have a good horse there!!

  4. I have to take my hat off to you, great trust & bond for a horse to let you do that to them.
    My wife’s thoroughbred would have hit (0-to-60mph) in under -01 seconds….mind my Cleveland Bay would i think stand for me ? I going to try it !

    We use the same halter, but hold it very lose not tight, they do respect it, my wife wants me to have one but managed to do as i’m told ?

    Great pictures by the way !

    Kind Regards


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