Some Background...

The equine term "spook" means:
To startle and cause nervous activity in; To frighten
To become frightened and nervous.

When a horse becomes "spooked", he can injure rider and himself, or simply be of no value as he flees from the perceived danger, whether real or imagined. The urge to flee is a natural defense mechanism, common to prey animals. For domestic horses in a safe environment, the self-defense mechanism is much less important to survival. One of the goals of training is to desensitize them to distracting, but harmless, sounds and visual stimuli. Horses can learn to control their fears. If they experience an unfamiliar, potentially frightening sound, they may react instinctively and then investigate further. If the sound does not harm them, they will remember the experience and be less frightened by the same or similar sound next time .

Spooking stimulus can be visual, aural, or both. Many believe that horses are "linear" thinkers and may have difficulty processing a complex new situation. As a result, if they are in a response-to-fear mode, and are trying to flee the danger, they can be unresponsive to their human partner. Repeated incidences of spooking can actually become habitual, making them very difficult to control and teach. If this behavior is not altered in the first few years, it can become a lifelong liability to their value.

Horses trained for police work and reenactment have high tolerance for specific explosive sounds nearby that are not threats. This is proof that they learn through experience. For general training, although we can't desensitize them to all spooking stimuli, we can teach them what to do when they are afraid. We teach them to stay calm, rely on us for safety, and stay focused on us. Repetitive training exposure increased immunity to distracting spooking noises. Experience shows that horses relate new situations to previously-conditioned sounds.

How to Use

Our training concept is that the playback sounds become the “boogie man” and you remain the “alpha”, a source of security and comfort. The unique part of the concept is that you do not have to play both roles. Your role, and that of all the humans around him, is consistent, which is not the case if you make the spooking sounds without the CD. Desensitizing may take many days, weeks, or even longer. It depends on all the specific factors about your horse, his environment and experiences, and your time.

Please understand that our product is not an automatic fix. Your horse may be very frightened at first, and should be restrained and given assurance of protection. We strongly suggest that you start the process a few moments before and while feeding, when your horse is most comfortable with the surroundings and you. The horse will connect the new distraction positively with his "full belly" and your support. Start at a low volume, and study his reactions. Stay close to the horse and remain the source of stability and security, encouraging a reduced fear reaction while he hears the frightening sounds. Repeat or loop the tracks that are most bothersome. As his reaction diminishes over time, increase the playback volume in small increments. Replay all the tracks again at a higher volume, and study his reactions. Repeat this process over again until your horse seems to ignore the sounds. If your playback machine has programming features, select and shuffle the tracks that you choose to focus upon. When playing at highest volume, avoid playing the CD so loud as to be distorted.

Exciting New Application!!

Never before has it been so easy to IMPRINT NEWBORN FOALS, desensitizing them to frightening sounds. As soon as the newborn's hooves hit the ground (or even before), you can play our discs at low volume, while soothing and gaining their trust. You can have the full extent of our library of sounds in handy form with instant access, without leaving the comfort of the birthing stall.

For more information about imprinting, please visit Robert Miller, DVM's website. Here's a link: imprint training

When to Use
As mentioned above, we recommend that you start the process after feeding. When the horse shows that he is comfortable with the sounds, begin to include the boom box i
n your presence while grooming, tacking up, saddling up, and training.

Ultimately, you can play the discs anytime, even when the horse is alone, day or night, at any volume level. Sound conditioning is a repetitive learning process, with long term benefits.

Equipment Suggestions
When choosing a portable boom box for Spook Less, better quality equipment will enhance the connection between the recorded sounds and a real future event. At a minimum, the boom box should have 4-inch diameter speakers and use at least 4 cells (size C or D). If the speakers can be separated from the player, spread them out as far as practical. Choose the Bass Boost feature (optional on many units) if you decide that the sound seems more realistic. If you choose to make a permanent installation in one of the indoor areas, a surround system with subwoofer would be ideal. Our stereo CDs contain additional spatial information that will be revealed when played in surround.

These audio compact discs contain recordings that are intentionally modified to increase their impact on the listener. Consequently, they may be frightening to young children, horses, domestic pets, and other animals, especially if played at high volume. A natural response to this auditory stimulation may be a self-preservation urge, which may include actions that are harmful or injurious. The producer, manufacturer and seller of these products, Sersland-Hedden, LLC, its owners or employees, assumes no responsibility or liability whatsoever for the consequences of their use, even if used in accordance with our recommendations.

Disclaimer of Warranty; Limitation of Liability

Individual results from the use of this product may vary due to genetic, environmental, health, management, and facility issues. Therefore, Sersland-Hedden, LLC, producer of Spook Less products, its owners and employees, disclaim any warranties or guaranties, express or implied, as to individual results.

User expressly agrees that use of Spook Less Equine Ear Conditioning CDs is at user's sole risk, and that the user is solely responsible for the way that this information is perceived and utilized. Sersland-Hedden, LLC, it owners and employees, disclaim any liability for any injuries, damages or losses that might occur due to the use or misuse of these products, the advice contained within, the content of these compact discs, or the content of any information, service, or image provided through


Mounted Patrol and Canine Training

Mounted Patrol Tacking Up

Arena/Round Pen Training

Canine Training



Where to Use
We suggest you play these sounds just about anywhere you can imagine. The only real restriction is that you must be available as a source of comfort and safety until the horse becomes immune to the sounds.

Typical examples of where to use the boom box are shown in the photos below:

Barn and Outdoor/Indoor Training

Play CDs in the Barn

Throughout the Stable and Aisles

Grooming in the Crossties

Tacking Up

Lunge Line Round Pen

Outdoor/Indoor Arena Training

Outdoor/Indoor Arena Training

Driving Training

Harnessing for Driving

Ground Driving

Arena Vehicle Driving

On the Seat in Driving Vehicles


Horse's Hearing and Perception
Horse's hearing differs from ours in two significant ways. The frequency response is believed to extend beyond human's into the ultrasonic range of up to 35,000 Hz (cycles per second), but is not as responsive to low frequency sounds. Additionally, since the horse's outer ears (pinnae) are moveable and directional, they can focus their attention to the sides and rear of their heads. We humans are more precise in a skill called "localization" (determining the direction of a sound source) because our entire experience is with essentially fixed pinnae. Although horses are more sensitive because of the focused horn-like ears, they have greater difficulty precisely locating everything they hear. They naturally react to frightening sounds, especially if they can't see the source; for instance, if the sound is from the rear.



Spook Less Compact Discs are protected by Copyright Laws and are Patented

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