Pet Peeves? The term 'desensitize'


Horse Training.jpg

First of all, what is a "peeve" and why would someone make it a pet anyways? Thank goodness for Google! But right away I learn that "peeve" is a verb first. Synonyms include to; irritate, annoy, vex, anger, exasperate, irk, gall, pique, nettle, put out, get on someone's nerves, try someone's patience and the picturesque, ruffle someone's feathers!

The term "pet peeve" was used around the beginning of the 20th century and means "a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to themselves- to a greater degree than others may find it.

Having double checked the definition, I am now sure that I have a couple of "pet peeves". And the definition is right on, because it's very possible that this one is unique to me, but here goes!

Pet Peeve #1! The misuse of the term "desensitzing" when referring to horse training! When I had my sister, Sharon, take a look at this post for me, she jumped right in and pointed out that if you look at the definition of the word "desensitize" (back to Google-andia again), you'll find the following (see below) and that by a loose interpretation all trainers do desensitize. But if I wanted to debate with her, (and that's not uncommon... we are, after all, sisters!) during the normal course of training a horse we're not dealing with shock or distress from cruely or actual phobia or neurosis.

When training a horse to be a safe riding horse and good equine citizen, we have to take their natural responses to stimuli and temper them into responses that fit into our world view.

Your job as the alpha (boss, herd leader...whatever term you like) is to take the concerns of your horse and tell him the appropriate course of action. Your job as a trainer is evaluate the horses base line personality, teach the language with which you'll deliver the answers he needs, (hopefully) practice the responses until they are a muscle memory and then- as far as I'm concerned- you're ready to begin riding in "real world" situations.