By Brentyn Young, The Belton Journal
Last Saturday, horse owners and their horses from all over the area attended a class taught by Marcia Cross. The purpose of the class was to expose the horses to everyday city objects that they might be frightened of. Some of these objects included mailboxes, strollers, plastic bags, flags, and cars.
According to Cross, these and other objects could frighten the horse and put the horse, the rider and bystanders at risk during a parade.
By exposing the horses to the objects now, Cross believes that she can lower the risk of a horse panicking and causing damage to themselves or others when exposed to the objects.
“I want to build trust between the horse and the rider,” said Cross.
Another aspect of parades that often send horses into a frightened craze are police and fire sirens. So, this year’s clinic also included a time for exposure to sirens, and riders were given the choice to either stay on their horses or dismount to keep horses calm.
“We had a fire truck go out of sight a couple blocks away and coordinated with them to turn on the siren,” Cross said. “It went really well. None of the horses got scared or even danced around.”
The class also included an obstacle course in which the horse rider would lead the horses through the series of objects that might frighten the horses while using the techniques taught by Cross to make sure the horse feels safe.
Cross has been teaching this class for the past two years and has been dealing with horses since she was a child. Proceeds from the event were put toward starting a Texas Equusearch Search and Rescue Team in Bell County.
Many of the people enrolled in the class were doing so to prepare their horses to be in the Belton annual Fourth of July parade. Cross encourages anybody interested in joining the Centex Horse Owners Society to email her at MarciaSkier@att.net.