Desensitize Your Horse - What Does that Really Mean?
If we look at the definition of desensitize and paraphrase, it means to make dull. The dictionary defines the term as follows:
Definition of DESENSITIZE
1: to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or nonreactive to a sensitizing agent
2: to make emotionally insensitive or callous; specifically : to extinguish an emotional response (as of fear, anxiety, or guilt) to stimuli that formerly induced it
— de·sen·si·ti·za·tion noun
— de·sen·si·tiz·er noun
Medical Definition of DESENSITIZE
: to make less sensitive : reduce sensitivity in <desensitize a nerve with a local anesthetic>: as
a : to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or nonreactive to a sensitizing agent
b : to extinguish an emotional response (as of fear, anxiety, or guilt) to stimuli which formerly induced it : make emotionally insensitive <evidence that violence on television desensitizes children to actual violence—Stephanie Harrington>
The question becomes, do we really want to make our horses insensitive, or emotionally insensitive? Re-read the last line of part b of the medical definition inside the karats ( < > ). That is a very powerful statement and I believe a reflection of what we see happening with violence in schools and around the world. Do we want the same fate for our horses?