Bomb proof is a term you hear a lot around horse people. The general concept is pretty simple, a horse that stands quietly as a bomb goes off. The problem is that you may bave a horse that doesn’t move when a bomb goes off that spooks and runs from a chihuahua. Pretty much all of us talk about bomb proof horses, but the meaning various among people. For some experienced riders, it means the horse doesn’t bolt or act up. The horse may turn around quickly or suddenly stop, but nothing serious. Others use to mean the horse literally doesn’t alter whatever he is doing.
In reality there is no such thing as a bomb proof horse that absolutely nothing can scare. All horses, just like all people, have some fears. One of the best trail horse we ever owned was afraid of pigs. He wasn’t afraid of anything else, but the smell always left him pretty wound up. Supposedly pigs smell like bears to a horse. Who knows and it doesn’t matter. The important thing is for you to remember every horse has a fear of something.
So when people talk about bomb proof, usually it means a horse that doesn’t react to circumstances that upset another horse. It can be plastic bags, llamas, pigs, kites, sirens, fire crackers, gun shots, cows, buses, and the list never ends.
When we say bomb proof, we mean the horse has been exposed to countless things and reacts in a quiet and calm way. For instance, one of our horses has experienced a 4 foot snake dropping down from the trees and slithering down the saddle to the ground. We call him bomb proof, but it doesn’t mean he is completely fearless. Again no animal is completely without fears.
Our horses are trained to recover quickly from unexpected stress. Since there is no way to simulate every possible event, they learn to go from high anxiety back to a relaxed state. If they can’t learn, then they don’t pass our two-year certification. Just like the snake, there is no way to train for every event. The best you can do is teach the horse to quickly go to calm and expose the horse to as many situations as possible.
Soooooo when we say bomb proof, it doesn’t mean there won’t be something that scares the horse one day. It means we have shown him as many things as we could and taught to calm down quickly if he does get startled.