But that doesn’t have to be you, because there are tried-and-true methods for retraining a spooky horse.
You can find it all in Better Than Bombproof: New Ways to Make Your Horse a Solid Citizen and Keep You Safe, by Sgt. Rick Pelicano. Better Than Bombproof is 170 pages of lessons, color photos and illustrations, and it’s on sale right now on HorseBooksEtc. for $25.45, which is 15 percent off its regular price of $29.95.
Sgt. Pelicano is a 20-year veteran of the Maryland National Park Police, and in this book he shares the methods he uses to help train his fellow officers and their horses. It’s a no-nonsense, shoot-from-the-hip kind of book (no pun intended, Sergeant) that offers up sensible advice in logical steps.
Whether you have a spooky horse who needs some desensitization, have aspirations of riding in a parade with your horse or just want to be prepared for anything on the trail, this book is for you.
What would your horse do if he heard a gunshot? If you wanted to desensitize your horse to that sound, Sgt. Pelicano explains how, step-by-step, in chapter 5, “‘Compound’” Bombproofing Situations.”
By “Compound” he means the rider does one thing as the horse does something else entirely, such as being horseback while retrieving something being handed to you from a car; carrying a baton or flag (as in a parade); or firing a gun, which you may want to do for reasons that include gun sports (such as Cowboy Mounted Shooting), hunting or self-defense.
I’ve often wondered how to best desensitize a horse to the sound of a gun, and after reading this section, I feel very confident that it’s easily done, even the final exercise, which is to jump a small cross-rail while discharging a pistol as the horse is in flight mode.
“Since he is airborne, he will be virtually unable to react adversely,” Sgt. Pelicano writes.
Even if it’s not in your plans to ever ride in a parade, the information in this book is worth knowing for everyday horse life, such as Chapter 6, “Advance Trailering Exercises,” Chapter 9, “Defensive Tactics for Trail Riders,” or Chapter 11, “Bombproofing Games.”
Sgt. Pelicano shows us that training a horse can be fun as well as keep you safe, and that’s what life with our horses is all about.