So I'm going Walker style first. I just ordered a video from Marv Walker. I tend to have a very cynical approach to all these videos, since I've discovered most of them don't really give you any information you don't already know from the 500 magazines and books and internet articles. But Walker's are inexpensive and his writing on his website has been on target with everything I've experienced. If only he worked in Texas!
So I'll give it a shot. Here's what he says about despooking(my comments in parenthesis):
There is the desensitizing method where you expose the horse to the spooker until it ignores it. (this is what I've done with Canyon) The horse gets so saturated with the spook that it fails to react to it. (true. there isn't a pink hula skirt in the world that will get a rise out of MY horse.) You put the horse and the spook together and leave them alone. The horse will become used to the spooker and life will go on.
Then there is the sniffer method. (this is what we are doing now) In the sniffer method you concentrate on getting the horse to move up to the item to the point where it can examine it and assure itself that the spook is not out to devour every horse that stumbles across it.
Both of these methods are a hassle.(well, not so much, but yeah, they get to be in trail situations)
If you succeed in the first method you are good to go until the horse comes across something else that spooks it and then you have to go through the whole process again.(Exactly. I don't have a ton of rusty farm equipment or odd shaped trunks of trees around here)
If you survive the second method, since horses really resent being made to approach and sniff spooks, you are teaching the horse to stop and approach everything of concern to it. Every new thing brings what you doing to a skidding halt while you and your horse examine it.(And it doesn't really deal with the whole initial spook thing.)
He goes on to describe that you make everything that spooks your fault and therefore the horse waits to see if you are going to freak out. I am getting tired of everything being my fault, but maybe in this case it can work in my favor...
Anyway, it's worth a shot.
Canyon is a wooly bear, the cold snaps have brought out his fuzzy side. I remember stripping off this winter coat in March, piles and piles of hair flotaing around the barn yard like cottonwood seedlings. I'll get some pictures today... In 30 days it'll be a year since I bought Canyon. Our horseyversary.
First year is paper, right? Hmmm. I'm thinking an oragami horse. How hard can it be?
Maybe I'll stick with a carrot.