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I hope everyone on this board has looked at your photos. They're VERY good! You really know how to have fun with your big horses! I love the idea of the "taxis" at the fairgrounds. People must stand in line for that -- I know that I would.
 

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It all depends on who trains them. I can shoot a rifle or pistol of any off my horses or mules. I have killed both coyotes and deer with a pistol from horseback. I start with fire crackers. I tie them to a big tree and throw fire crackers under their feet, until they no longer flinch. Then I start shooting a pistol near by. And all of mine leave horse apples all over the place.

I have never been in a cowboy movie, so my experiences may not be real.
That's my point-- horses aren't very bright. They don't generalize what they learn. ...If they freak out when you bounce a basketball near them, you can desensitize them to it by progressive steps. They will learn to stay calm near a bouncing basketball...But then bounce a soccer ball near them and they freak out again...They don't see the similarity between a basketball and a soccer ball. (Most readers here probably do.)

A neighbor's horse was smart enough to untie a half hitch knot holding its lead rope, but absolutely freaked out at the sight of sewer covers in the street. Go figure....Some guys like riding "spirited " horses. I think they're a PITA.
 

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That's my point-- horses aren't very bright. They don't generalize what they learn. ...If they freak out when you bounce a basketball near them, you can desensitize them to it by progressive steps. They will learn to stay calm near a bouncing basketball...But then bounce a soccer ball near them and they freak out again...They don't see the similarity between a basketball and a soccer ball. (Most readers here probably do.)

A neighbor's horse was smart enough to untie a half hitch knot holding its lead rope, but absolutely freaked out at the sight of sewer covers in the street. Go figure....Some guys like riding "spirited " horses. I think they're a PITA.
You shouldn't blame poor horsemanship on the horse.
 

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You shouldn't blame poor horsemanship on the horse.
If you hadn't desensitized your horses to explosions first, those hunting rides wouldn't have turned out to be much fun.

Genetics has a lot to do with a given horse's reaction to new stresses. Cf- the relatively calm nature of draft horses vs thoroughbreds. Training can overcome natural behavior, but it takes more work on some horses than others....I've had horses that require full attention at all times on trail and others that allow you to fall asleep in the saddle. I ride to relax. If I want excitement, I try walking in Jackson Park In Chicago after sunset.

Horses evolved on the open plains, where a quick response and a burst of speed has survival value...Donkeys (and mules behave like donkeys) evolved on mountains where a quick response and a burst of speed can lead to a fall. They evolved to stand still (hence their proverbial stubbornness) when stressed-- They let the predator take the chances jumping among the rocks & cliffs.
 
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