Sunday 15 December 2013

Scary solutions to fear issues...

I’m repeating myself now, have said this before in many different ways, but worth another shot!

Let’s say your 5 year old daughter is scared of the dark. After a few unsuccessful home bred solutions, you decide to get her some help, and go to see a therapist who specialises in overcoming fear issues.

She says she can deal with this, no problem. How? ‘Oh, send your daughter in here, I’ll take her by surprise, we won’t tell her what is happening, I’ll just restrain her and leave her in the dark until she stops struggling. That works most of the time. She might hurt herself or get a lot more upset before she is fixed, but being scared of the dark is silly anyway she has to learn’

Hopefully, you wouldn’t be too impressed with this solution, and would seek advice elsewhere!

So why do we still do this kind of thing to animals all the time? Your horse is scared of plastic bags, a schooling whip, the saddle, getting her legs hosed – we’ll just give her no option but to face her fears, and call it a good job when she gives up struggling.

There are much more humane and effective alternatives – so please don’t  let a ‘trainer’ restrain your horse (or dog) while they ‘get used to’ something they are genuinely scared of.