The Longbranch Desensitizing Course
The Longbranch Horse Boarding Facility Horse Desensitizing Course has been completed with 53 obstacles in a wooded area on the ranch. The course was designed, specifically arranged, sited and built by the owner Ed McAdam (an equestrian and a Florida Professional Engineer). Each obstacle is arranged in such a position and order to specifically consider the mental and physical coordination of both the horse and rider. The course was not developed to be a so-called “speed event”. The overall concept is to de-spook one horse at a time. The intent is for the horse and rider to approach each obstacle, allow the horse to observe the obstacle, convert the mental action of the brain to its physical motion (motor control), and proceed to advance through the obstacle, knowing that the rider is in control and confident to proceed. The numerous left, right, up, down, over, and through movements provide a real learning and fun experience to enhance the “joy of riding”. Certainly, no one enjoys being thrown off your own horse due to the horse being spooked. This course is intended to be part of the journey to success in de-spooking your horse. It may take ten or fifteen times to go through this course to finally “master” the course. Certainly, one time through would be a waste of time to effectively coordinate the mental action and physical motion of your horse for each obstacle. There are some (in my opinion) urban obstacle courses made with PVC elements; but, how often are you actually riding your horse in a urban PVC setting. That is why, as one reason, it was decided to design a desensitizing course utilizing mostly all logs, branches, and features found along a trail. The siting of the course in the woods, adjacent to a creek (two stream crossings) is an ideal setting. Unfortunately, it became necessary to utilize some “noodles” and “ribbons” to create the touchy and wind effect of a few obstacles. Our trainer at the Longbranch Boarding Facility, will be in charge of the Course training and facilitate the movement through each obstacle to insure the maximum benefit to both the rider and horse. Our trainer is also available for private riding lessons on at the Longbranch. Due consideration will be given to safety, natural horsemanship (awareness, balance, and communications between the rider and horse), and centered riding (soft eyes, breathing, balance, and centering). A safety zone has been designed, sited, and woven throughout the course to aid in the control of the horse’s movement. There will be some friendly cattle meandering around the area, but not impeding the rider from proceeding throughout the course, in an effort to acquaint both the rider and horse with other live animals. The course has been critiqued by several equestrians and a few boarders have taken their horses through each obstacle to ensure safety concerns have been addressed. To make the course interesting, a few “fun” obstacles (maybe they all will be fun, once the horse has mastered the obstacles) have been integrated to further prepare the horse and rider to coordinate with each other. Whether you are on the show circuit, trail ride or compete in special events, this course will enhance your riding skills. Whether you are an experienced rider or novice, whether your horse is young or old, new to you or you have been riding this particular horse for years; this desensitizing course will be most helpful to enhance the “joy of riding” and knowing where improvements and enhancements are appropriate. Invitation to utilize the course will be by appointment only, one horse at a time. For the novice, it may be appropriate to “walk” your horse through first--- then ride your horse through. A “Hold Harmless” agreement is required and must be signed by each participant prior to proceeding throughout the course. The Longbranch Boarding Facility is well recognized for its quality boarding, quality nutritional program, quality timothy/orchard grass hay sales, and trail riding opportunities. Click here for pictures of the course. Click here to see a video. Click here to see a video.