Training a Problem Horse/ Bombproof Your Horse


A ‘spooky’ horse is sometimes labeled a problem horse but with training it is possible to get him over his fears. Have you ever been on the ground looking up at your horse and think “I need a bomb proof horse!”?

I have, it was my first horse and it was a slightly windy day when along came a plastic bag and blew right under her. Well, she shot straight up in the air and I was thrown so far out of the saddle that when I came down, she went one way and I went straight down to the ground.

Whether you have experienced this situation or not, I’m hoping this article will help you in understanding how to avoid this situation.

There is a saying, “There are no problem horses, only problem trainers”. In bomb proofing a horse there are different opinions on how to achieve this goal. Some believe that you should tie a horse up and just start throwing things at him. This does not work!

I know as this was what I was told to do when I was trying to solve this problem with my first horse. After 22 years, I strongly believe that patience is the key to success in any problem horse training. The process of bomb proofing your horse is to help him overcome his fear. This process is also referred to as “desensitizing” or “sacking out”.

bombproofing-a-horse-1Some items that your horse will need to get used to are: plastic bags, plastic tarps, mud puddles, bridges, loud noises, flags, balloons and yes, even umbrellas. Have you ever gone out to feed in the rain with an umbrella?

Starting with a plastic bag, show him the bag and get a feel for what he is going to do. He may snort and blow and possibly back away but get it as close to him as possible without him blowing up and stand quietly. Let him come to you and the bag.

Once you see that he is accepting the situation and he inches closer give him lots of praise. This is where patience comes in, it may take several sessions before you will be able to touch him with it but when you see improvement from the previous session, stop. Always end your session on a good note and don’t push him farther than you think he will allow. Your goal is to rub the bag all over his body.

I have used this method time and time again with positive results but as anyone will tell you, there are many ways to train a horse. Take a look at these horse training guides that can give you a different perspective and are extremely helpful in solving any problem you may be having with your horse.

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