|Head high doesn't necessarily mean that she is afraid, it just helps her to see what is behind and above her. Her bottom lip is a little tight here|
|Seeing things out of both eyes. Riva wasn't worried by this.|
|Double vision - the bags are seemingly in two places at once|
|The brolly was easy. She could chase that!|
At the second session with Riva, she didn't even bat an eyelid as the bags on a stick came out of the shed and allowed them to touch her body straight away. This meant we could go straight off to the school where she is known to be livelier and particularly spooky in the far left corner. I introduced clicker into the equation as she is so polite about food and this really helped her to start making choices about whether she stayed or left. We were careful not to introduce to many dimensions at once so if the bags were up high we wouldn't waft them about and if we were making bird noises we wouldn't take it too close but over time we could nearer, higher and more wafty. Far from being switched off, Riva was interested and chose to stay to see what we might think of next.
Riva was slightly more worried about seeing things out of her right eye than her left and more worried if something crossed over from one eye to the other. To add to that, there is a long mirror at the bottom of the school so sometimes she could see two of everything.
The overall question has to be whether it is worth trying to desensitise a dressage horse to sudden movement when people want them to be sharp and athletic.I think it is definitely worth it as the horse can concentrate on its movements without being tense and worried about what might fly out of the hedge or make a sudden noise. Of course it is essential that there is a consistency in how things are used - it is no good using the bags on a stick to desensitise her if they were also to be used to ask her to move on - and then you have to ask yourself about the movement and role of the lunge whip (personally I would say take them to the skip). If every time something swings towards her it means MOVE, is it fair to ask her not to move if something else moves suddenly towards her? This incidentally is my whole beef with Parelli where the same 'carrot stick' is used to sensitise and desensitise.