Desensitizing your horse to gun fire

  • Assume every firearm is loaded and prove it safe.
  • To transport restricted firearms in Canada, even on your own property, requires an Authorization to Transport.
  • Always start with noise behind and away from your horse’s head.

Whatever tool you use to introduce or simulate the bang of gunfire to your horse, start slowly and work your horse through progressive levels of exposure to gain their trust. Start by pointing the noisemaker behind your horse, away from your horses head. Progress slowly and move your noisemaker forward judging your horses acceptance. This process will introduce your horse to your movements you will make when shooting. Your horse will see your arm out about it’s body and head. It will hear the noise from behind and away from your horse’s head. This is the way to gently introduce you and your horse to mounted shooting.

Using herd dymanics and our progressive nosemaking tools and training methods we typically find calm horses and riders are often ready to shoot safely after just two hours of attending our beginner clinic sessions. This is totally amazing to see so the only thing to do is to come see for yourself.

At home you can start this process by using these tools:

Cap gun

Visit the dollar store and buy a toy cap gun and caps. This allows you to introduce your horse to the bang of gunfire using a safe toy gun. The caps are actually quite loud when they go off.

iPhone app

Here is a neat iPhone app for desensitizing your horse to gun fire. If you have an iPhone this now becomes a great desensitizing tool. The R&S Revolver sound seems best:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gun-sounds!/id334914481?mt=8

At the approved mounted shooting arena:

Using your revovlers for dry fire practice

Ride your horse and dry fire practice shooting imaginary balloons. Start by aiming your gun behind your horse, away from your horses head. Progress slowly and move your gun forward judging your horses acceptance. This will introduce your horse to your holster rig, revolvers and the arm movements you will make when shooting. Your horse will see your revolver and arm out about it’s body and head. It again will hear the hammer cock, the cylinder rotate, the trigger being squeezed and the hammer hitting the firing pin whilst you ride. This is a gentle introduction to mounted shooting.

Shooting primer only blanks

You can purchase .45 calibre cartridge cases and a Lee Hand Loader to make primer only rounds for shooting in your revolver. The bang is similar to a cap gun but you are using your real gun. The cost is very inexpensive as the shell cases can be reloaded many times.

Shooting target loads

Target loads contain half the gunpowder of a competion load. A traget load provides a ‘BOOM’ and a gunpoweder flash.

Shooting competition loads

Competition loads contain a lot more gunpowder. A competition load provides a ‘KABOOM’ and a BIG gunpoweder flash. A significant increase in noise and flash.

Do not over do it

Progress slowly and if you go to far, return to where your horse demonstrates a calm level of acceptance. If this means a return to dry fire then do so. End on a positive experience where your horse is calm.

Do not be shy about asking for help

If you and horse are new and struggling, ask for help. In our beginner sessions we quickly see if someone needs assistance. What we find very effective is to switch horses and riders. We ask to switch and put the new shooter on an experienced shooting horse and an experienced shooter on a new shooting horse. This often creates a positive experience for the new horse and rider which is our main goal we strive to achieve.