What Does ‘Sacking Out’ a Horse Mean?
A: The most effective method of “sacking out” a horse would more properly be called “systematic desensitization.” This is a method to slowly get a horse used to a frightening stimulus while he remains in a relaxed state. It is commonly done with things that will be touching the horse, such as saddle pads, grooming towels, or stable blankets. You could even use your hands.
Systematic desensitization is done in a stepwise fashion. You begin first at a bit of a distance, then approach and begin touching horse’s body where he’s least sensitive, perhaps at his shoulder. Then, progress moving your object toward and around his head and over his back, belly, haunches, and down the legs.
Most important is that you move slowly enough to not elicit strong resistance, and at any point of mild resistance you go back to the last small step that was well-tolerated before proceeding forward again. Indeed, you might want to try anything that’s going to touch a horse in the future, including a pair of clippers, both turned on and off, and those very scary spray bottles. You might also do this with sounds that might scare a horse, like those encountered on a trail or in a
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