Sacking out a horse is a good way to expose the animal to new things. However, sacking out will never replace good solid training. A horse that is trained by someone who takes the dominant position as the herd leader will not be as spooky as a horse that is trained or ridden by someone who does not.
It’s all in the attitude. I try to explain to a beginner rider right off the bat, that they may see me be rough with a horse once in awhile. What appears rough to a human, really isn’t rough to a horse it’s natural and comforting to them. Of course I’m not going to take a whip and beat a horse, that would be ridiculous. I do however man handle them once in awhile when they get out of line. Manhandle to me means to push them around. I treat them like a horse. Horse’s knock each other around all the time. It’s how horse’s establish their pecking order in the herd.
Horse’s don’t feed each other treats. Treats don’t teach horses to behave. It’s not a good reward either. The best reward is to learn to understand how a horse’s mind thinks. Horse’s like a release on their mouth, a pat on the neck, and a message on their crest. Of course they love food, but I would not use it as part of their training.
When a horse feels secure that you will keep him in line, and be his leader by consistently keeping him in line you will see that sacking out is not really necessary. I prefer to use sacking out to check how much training a horse needs. It’s also good for a less confident rider to help the horse learn to accept different things.
There are only so many hours in a day. I can’t be all things to all riders and all horses. I just can’t do all of the training that needs to be done, so therefore sacking out is a little bit of an insurance program that a horse will not spook for a novice rider. What I am really trying to say is that sacking out is a good tool for your horse training bag, but it is not the be all end all.
The best way to help that spooky horse is to:
- Consistently maintain the leadership position.
- Spend lots of quality time with the horse.
- Be consistent at all times keeping your horse’s attention while riding and training.
- Keep his mind occupied with work, instead of what is going on around him.
First a horse will look at something, then he will spook. Keep him busy with work, and he won’t even notice clothes blowing on a clothesline. Be single minded, determined and confident. That is what makes a good herd leader, and that leader is you.