If you've ever wondered how police horses are trained to be calm in situations that would alarm most horses, then you'll want to watch this video.
If you've seen a police horse in action, then you've witnessed the results of some pretty thorough training. A police horse needs to be able to remain calm and focused in crowds and chaotic areas. He can't react to loud noises or sudden movement, and needs to be able to travel through roads, between cars, and in other places where he wouldn't naturally go. A police horse must also focus on and respond to his rider even when there are plenty of other stimuli vying for his attention.
So, how does a police horse learn these skills? Through thorough and extensive training, horses can be taught how to act appropriately even when situations are chaotic.
This video provides a great look inside police horse training and the types of obstacles and diversions that are used. The horses that you'll see in this video are learning the skills they'll need for service, right along with their police officer riders. Before a mounted unit can serve in public, he has to be steady, knowledgeable, and dependable, so the training is carefully designed.
Many riding horses can also benefit from the type of training that police horses receive. If you want to help bombproof your horse and prepare him for things that he might encounter when you ride off of the farm, then using these mounted police training techniques and obstacle courses may be a great approach.
Try to expose your horse to many different objects and situations. For instance, you're likely to come across scary objects like dogs, umbrellas, bicycles, and baby carriages, so expose your horse to them on the farm where he is more secure and where he'll have the opportunity to inspect them and realize that they won't harm him.
Some locations offer police horse training sessions which are open to the public. Keep an eye out for such a workshop, or consider getting your horse involved in agility, which mimics some of the training a police horse receives. There are many ways to train your horse, and if you run into trouble, make sure to consult a professional horse trainer.
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This article was originally published September 1, 2017.